Uruguay is fast becoming one of the best options for international investment, both for internal and global situations. Diversity and vastness are its main features, besides its really low prices, compared to the global market.
When comparing a property in Europe, with another one with exactly the same features in Latin America, we can talk about prices differences that range from four, six, or even ten times cheaper. For example, a two bedrooms apartment in London costs about US$600,000, while a similar one in Montevideo, costs approximately US$120,000.
In the long term, terrorism and environmental issues are just some of the reasons to see the whole of Latin America as one of the most safe and sustainable resources in the world.
The Prices for Property in Uruguay
Property prices in developed countries can’t grow forever. They are more likely to stabilise, if not, to drop after the well known “real estate bubble” bursts.
On the other hand, in Latin America property prices have just started to react to the increase of demand. Despite circumstantial economic ups and downs, price tendencies are definitively on the raise.
Profits for Uruguay Properties
The average rental yield for a property in Uruguay is about 10% to 12% a year, over the value of the property, for permanent rentals. For holiday rentals, it may vary, depending on the area the property is located and the demand it faces in a particular period of time. It is commonly higher, but seasonal variations it make it harder to estimate average profits.
In case you need more information or have doubts on any of these issues, the specialised staff in January First Real Estate will be glad to answer all your questions, click here.
Buying Real Estate in Uruguay
Economy growing, prices rising
Uruguayan house prices are now rising rapidly, following the recoveries of the Argentinan and Brazilian economies, with which Uruguay is intricately intertwined.
Uruguay’s dramatic GDP growth of 12% in 2004 has been accompanied strong foreign buying interest.
Europeans are particularly attracted by Uruguay’s combination of public order, pleasant climate, and good beaches.
The economic recovery follows the catastrophic decline in property prices in the year 2002, with a 45% fall in US$ terms, as Uruguay followed Argentina and Brazil into recession.
Old town charm
Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, is a cosmopolitan city, with good infrastructure, and great beaches. It has attractive old city areas; a mixed commercial and residential area that contains all the tourist attractions, and was till recently a little run down.
For US$350,000, one can buy a whole 8,000 sq. ft. (743sq. m.) French or colonial style building in the old town (Ciudad Vieja). Or if one prefers a smaller property, US$40,000 will buy a two bedroom apartment in a colonial house.
The old town has character buildings, suitable for refurbishing, and they appeal very much to our European buyers.
A lot of Europeans buy a whole building; you can get a 700-800 sq. m. building for US$300,000 and then refurbish it and split it into apartments.
Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja is enjoying something of a revival. Bohemia is moving in. Business started moving out East towards Carrasco, but is now coming back.
However, the refurbishment cost is high in Uruguay: 30% above that in Buenos Aires. So you don’t want to buy a building that needs an enormous amount of work.
The elite district
Montevideo’s elite district is Carrasco, and this is where everyone who has money lives. There are lots of green and open areas, so most people in Carrasco do not want ocean views. Apartments sell for around US$1,500-1,800 new, and used apartments go 20% below that. Houses sell for around US$800-900 per sq. m.. Land lots sell for US$300-400 per sq. m.
Outside Montevideo the rich flock to Punta del Este, a mixture of Palm Beach and the French Riviera, which converges in a mass of skyscrapers surrounded by beaches and promenades. People like the fact that there is no poverty there, it is very civilized. You can run around in your Ferrari and no-one will mind. You can walk on the street in your jewelry and it will be safe.
In the ‘season,’ fashion shows, music festivals, polo contests, all the attractions that the rich and fashionable enjoy, come to Punta del Este. But between May and September not much happens, the streets are empty and the shops are closed.
However Punta del Este is now beginning to break out from its seasonal confines and become attractive to young retirees. Punta del Este has had a big increase of prices, and properties are changing hands at high speed, with many big investments in luxurious developments. Now that Argentina has a good internal and external economic situation and a surplus of currency, they are investing in Uruguay as a safe (tax) haven.
There are foreign investors from Germany, Spain, England, USA, and Canada, and many from Brazil. They are buying plots for big developments (housing, for example) to offer to their own market, and this is sending prices up.
Colonia del Sacramento
Another town which attracts Europeans is Colonia del Sacramento (which lies 50 km in front of Argentina’s Buenos Aires, separated by the river Plate) and nearby coastal areas. Built in Portuguese style, Colonia’s historic parts are reminiscent of old Lisbon, with winding cobblestone streets and colorful houses.
Colonia’s historic quarter, Barrio Historico, on a small peninsula jutting out into the river, was named a UNESCO heritage site in 1995. The city is rich, with excellent restaurants, art shops, museums, and a large yacht harbour.
In the old city of Colonia houses cost between US$360,000 and US$400,000, which before cost US$60,000/US$80,000, but their price is due to the special situation in old Colonia [i.e., the tourism]. Now they are rented for banks or shops, for example.
On the coast near Colonia, the price was formerly UP100,000 per hectare, and now it has reached UP120,000. But there are no sellers, though many clients are looking for these properties.