Real emerging property markets are to be found in South America

by Dave

Many parts of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are without doubt paradise on earth. Low population density, plenty of food and fresh water, unspoiled landscapes. If World Wars III, IV and V break out you can peacefully ride them out sipping wine in your hideaway in the Patagonia or in the Uruguayan countryside.
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‘Brazil is the big brother in terms of property investment and the country is currently experiencing a residential building bonanza, due entirely to its sound fiscal policy and low interest rates. But the other South American countries are showing signs of following in Brazil’s footsteps, particularly Argentina and Uruguay, with economies that are becoming healthier and more stable every day.

‘This will lead to more consumer confidence to invest in these emerging markets. I also expect there will be an overspill from Brazil. Those that perhaps want the lifestyle, weather or beach, but not specifically in Brazil, will look to neighbouring countries.

Argentina is a strong contender to catch up. ‘Argentina is simply the best place in the world right now. Buenos Aires is one of the world’s greatest and most liveable cities,’ said Doug Casey, founder of US based Casey Research, an independent investment research organisation.

Why you might ask? ‘The country is running a massive balance of trade surplus. The government is running a big fiscal surplus. Rich Europeans are piling in since Argentina is ethnically and culturally the most European country in the world,’ he added.

Argentina has beaches, ski centres, mountains to climb, the pampas to ride across, it’s just that not everyone knows it yet. The number of tourists is predicted to increase to around 10 million by 2010.

Nestling between the two is much smaller Uruguay. Recent figures show that Uruguay has 2.3 million tourists a year, almost half descending on Punta del Este. Argentines account for the majority of arrivals in Uruguay however the Brazilian slice of the market is increasing. A rise in European visitors is anticipated.

Ecotourism is also forging forward with many innovations on how to protect Uruguay’s biodiversity and natural resources at the same time as gaining benefit from them.
Golf is popular and there are three top notch 18-hole golf courses within the Punta del Este catchment area.

‘Although the concept of foreign purchase of investment property and holiday homes in Uruguay is still quite new, the process of buying property is kept simple by the Uruguayan Government. A foreigner has the same rights and incentives as a Uruguayan national, including access to locally-based finance,’ said Andy Welland, MD of GEM Estates, a specialist in the area.

There are no restrictions on transferring capital in and out of the country and whilst the majority of real estate agents in Uruguay add a minimum of 3% to the selling price for commission, most GEM Estates’ developments have this included in the list price, he added.

It is a similar story across the next border in Chile. It too has a stable economy, positive government and the beaches, mountains and attractions that have the potential to draw a huge number of tourists.

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