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Old-World Elegance on a Budget: Real Estate in Argentina

Argentina is the second largest country in South America, extending from the middle of the continent down to its very southern tip. In terms of landscape, the country is just as diverse as it is large: from rich farmland to rugged mountains, rolling plains and big skies to cosmopolitan cities. In Argentina, expatriates can settle on a country estate or finca, or take up residence in an elegant, historic Buenos Aires home. At both ends of this spectrum and all points in between, Argentina offers elegance at prices that are remarkably affordable to North American and European nationals.

In 2002, Argentina underwent a major economic crisis, resulting in the nation defaulting on their debt. As a result, Argentina real estate prices dropped drastically. Prices have been on the rise, but slowly, and expatriates find that they can afford a wonderful quality of life on a relatively modest budget - around $2,000 per month for a couple.

Argentina is often compared to Europe, and the comparison is apt. The country has an old-world feel to it. After gaining independence from Spain in the 19th century, Argentina rose to prominence among nations, becoming one of the ten wealthiest countries in the world. Art and urban culture flourished in the prosperous country, home of the tango and Jorge Luis Borges. Argentina was was heavily developed, leaving it one of the most urbanized nations in South America, and making Buenos Aires perhaps the most architecturally appealing city.

There are many reasons to liken Argentina to Europe, including its famous wine-producing regions, strong public services, high literacy rates, and its level of economic development. (The World Bank classifies it as being about on par with Latvia or Poland.) This trans-Atlantic parallel is made crystal clear in the common nickname for Argentina's Capital, Buenos Aires. "The Paris of the South" lives up to its name by presenting a culture, art, food, and entertainment scene that lead many would-be travelers to Europe to head south instead of east. Like Paris, Buenos Aires boasts a lively café scene, pleasant walking in elegant streets, and striking architecture. Since the city was an established port as early as the 17th century, it is rich in history. Many expatriates find themselves drawn to the tapestry of culture and the elegant lifestyle in this storied city.

There are other areas where it's possible to find amazing real estate: Argentina boasts a beautiful Atlantic coast, the pristine mountains and lakes of Bariloche, and the malbec vineyards of Mendoza. Argentina real estate offers luxury on a budget: expatriates can buy a small vineyard for under $300,000, a home nestled by a mountain lake for $100,000, or a historic apartment in the heart of Buenos Aires for $200,000 – much cheaper than Paris. Argentina continues to offer amazing values after relocation, such as fine dining in Buenos Aires for around $15 per person. (It's also worth noting that the food in Argentina, especially steak and red wine, is world-class. Many travelers visit Buenos Aires just for the gastronomy!)

When buying Argentina real estate, it's helpful to keep in mind that depending on where you are buying, you may want to plan for some bureaucratic challenges. Purchasing property in urban or suburban areas is fairly straightforward, but those buying in rural areas, purchasing property that can be used for commercial purchases, or moving into protected zones such as Bariloche, will want to anticipate some extra complexity. The country has a strong network of licensed real estate brokers who are accustomed to working with foreign investors, who will be able to help new buyers through the logistics of purchasing real estate in this beautiful country.