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Investing in Argentina Real Estate for Expats

Investing in Argentina real estate presents an enticing prospect for foreign investors, driven by the country’s devalued currency that holds the potential for capital gains when the currency strengthens. However, before committing to an investment, several crucial factors merit consideration.

Firstly, the economic forecast for Argentina anticipates a growth rate of 2% in 2024, yet the nation’s economic instability and high inflation rate exceeding 100% demand careful assessment. The real estate market in Argentina, while offering opportunities in hotels and holiday homes in the provincial interior and along the Atlantic coast, can be relatively expensive due to economic fluctuations and limited financing options compared to countries like the US (more on this below).

Deciding between buying and renting hinges on usage plans, with buying proving advantageous for those intending to use the property for at least 3 months a year or contemplating retirement in Argentina. Conversely, renting may be more suitable for those expecting less than 2 months of usage annually.

Strategic investment options include purchasing apartments in Buenos Aires, especially in the northern corridor of Avenida del Libertador, and diversifying investments across different real estate market objectives, such as temporary rentals.

Additionally, investors should be prepared for time-consuming processes when obtaining domicile certificates and other necessary documents, and it is advisable to consider engaging a reputable real estate agent to navigate legal and logistical considerations effectively.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what i specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

How’s the Argentina property market in 2023

Investing in Argentina Real Estate market
Photo by Nikita Ananjevs

Recent reports predict a mixed 2023 Argentina property market. In 2024, the Buenos Aires real estate sector is expected to rise 2%. September 2023 witnessed approximately 4,000 real estate deals worth nearly $146 billion.

However, Buenos Aires’ rental market is in crisis due to the Rent Law’s negative repercussions, including low activity and a historic rental supply fall. In Q1 2023, Buenos Aires apartments cost US$1,731 per square meter, down more than 5% year-over-year. This reduction follows a succession of annual drops in prior quarters, exacerbated by rising interest rates and new foreign exchange controls.

Statista expects the Argentine real estate market to expand about 1% from 2023 to 2028, reaching US$3.40 trillion. The country’s population are likely to boost residential property demand. While development is projected, the Buenos Aires rental market crisis remains a major issue.

The property market is affected by Argentina’s economic and financial turbulence, highlighting the need of monitoring inflation and interest rates in predicting market dynamics.

Investing in Argentina real estate for foreigners 101

Foreigners have the liberty to purchase and own property in Argentina without encountering significant legal restrictions. However, to facilitate the transaction, foreign buyers are required to secure a Tax ID number and establish a bank account in Argentina.

The average property prices in Argentina are relatively affordable in comparison to other South American countries, typically ranging from around 2 million Argentine pesos to 15 million pesos or more, contingent on the property’s location and type.

The Argentine property market has witnessed consistent growth, fueled by heightened tourism and increased foreign investment. Despite this positive trend, potential buyers must remain cognizant of the country’s economic instability and high inflation rate. Informed decision-making is crucial, necessitating an understanding of Argentina’s economic conditions before embarking on a property purchase.

The legal aspect of property acquisition in Argentina is uncomplicated, with each real estate transaction mandated to involve a specialized attorney known as a Notary Public. To navigate this process seamlessly, it is imperative to enlist the services of a reputable real estate agent and a qualified lawyer.

What are the legal requirements for foreigners to buy property in Argentina?

Foreigners have the opportunity to acquire property in Argentina with minimal legal restrictions. To initiate a property purchase, foreign buyers must fulfill the following legal prerequisites:

  • Tax ID Number: Foreign buyers are obligated to obtain a Tax ID number, known as Clave Única de Identificación Tributaria (CUIT), to successfully complete the transaction.
  • Open a Bank Account: Establishing a bank account in Argentina is a requisite for foreigners to facilitate the property transaction.
  • Personal ID number: A personal identification number, Código Único de Identificación Laboral (CUIL), issued by the Argentine government is mandatory for property acquisitions.
  • Notarial Documents: Foreigners are required to sign notarial documents, and if unable to attend the title deed transfer signing, a Power of Attorney can be granted.
  • Representation by an Argentine Agent: Having an Argentine agent is mandatory for foreigners, particularly for the payment of property tax at the Notary Public.
  • Proof of Address: Foreigners must validate their address in Argentina, which can be substantiated through a “certificado de domicilio” confirming residence, such as a rental apartment or a friend’s house.
  • Real Estate Agent: It is recommended to engage a reputable real estate agent to adeptly navigate the property purchase process.
  • Legal Advice: Seeking legal counsel from an experienced lawyer is essential for foreigners to ensure a seamless transaction and adherence to all necessary formalities.
requirements for foreigners to buy property in Argentina
Photo by Andre Moura

What are the steps involved in buying property in Argentina as a foreigner?

The process of purchasing property in Argentina as a foreigner involves several sequential steps:

  1. Obtain a Tax ID Number: Foreigners must acquire a Tax ID number to successfully conclude the property transaction.
  2. Open a Bank Account: Foreigners are mandated to open a bank account in Argentina to facilitate the property transaction.
  3. Hire an Argentine Agent: Having an Argentine agent is a prerequisite for foreigners, particularly for handling the payment of property tax at the Notary Public.
  4. Find a Property: Collaboration with real estate agents is encouraged for foreigners to identify properties that align with their requirements and budget.
  5. Conduct Due Diligence: Prior to property acquisition, it is imperative to verify that the chosen property is devoid of debts and undisclosed litigation.
  6. Sign the Title Deed: Following the agreement on the sale price, the signing of the title deed transfer, equivalent to the exchange of contracts, typically takes four to six weeks. If the buyer cannot be present in Argentina during this period, they have the option to grant Power of Attorney to a trusted individual for signing on their behalf.
  7. Pay Taxes and Fees: Foreigners are obligated to settle various taxes and fees, encompassing VAT, notary fees, stamp duty, transfer tax, and registration fees.
  8. Register the Property: Upon the completion of the transaction, the property must be officially registered in the buyer’s name.

Best place to buy property in Argentina

Buenos Aires, the capital city, stands out as a vibrant metropolis offering a rich cultural heritage and a plethora of real estate options. Particularly in the northern corridor, properties boast quick sale potential, making it an appealing investment hub.

Mar del Plata, a coastal city, emerges as an excellent choice for real estate investment, characterized by average prices per square meter ranging from $1,200 to $2,500. Renowned for its beautiful beaches, it attracts both tourists and property investors alike.

Nestled in the Rio Negro province, Bariloche commands the highest square meter prices for residential properties in the country’s interior, typically falling between $2,000 and $4,000. This city is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a picturesque setting.

Holding the second position for the most expensive real estate in Argentina, Pinamar is celebrated for its stunning beaches, making it a sought-after location for property investment.

The northern region of Argentina boasts diverse topography, featuring expansive rivers, subtropical forests, mountains, and jungles. This unique landscape makes it an attractive area for rural and ecological tourism, presenting diverse investment opportunities.

Several things must be carefully considered before deciding to buy property in Argentina. Considerations such as the location’s unique qualities, property values, rental revenue potential, and regional economic and political stability are crucial.

Doing one’s homework and consulting experts are necessities because every region has its own set of benefits and investment opportunities. Making well-informed decisions and increasing the chances of a profitable real estate investment in Argentina are both made possible by this all-encompassing strategy.

Are there any taxes or fees that foreigners need to pay when buying property in Argentina?

When engaging in property transactions in Argentina, foreign buyers must carefully consider a range of taxes and fees. The breakdown of these financial obligations includes:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): New properties or those sold by a VAT payer are subject to a 21% VAT.
  • Real Estate Agent’s Fee: Typically around 3% to 4%, plus a 21% VAT.
  • Stamp Duty: Paid by the buyer, usually charged at a rate of 1.80%.
  • Notary Fee: Paid by the purchaser, typically ranging from 1% to 1.50%.
  • Registration Fee: Settled by the buyer, usually charged at a rate of 0.20%.
  • Transfer Tax: Also paid by the buyer, usually charged at a rate of 1.50%.
  • Wealth Tax: Paid by the owner, usually charged at a rate of 0.25% or 0.50%, depending on the owner’s profile.
  • Rental Income Tax: Paid by the owner if the property is rented out, with rates ranging from 1.20% for rural properties, 1.35% for sub-rural and sub-urban properties, to 1.50% for urban properties.
  • Capital Gains Tax: Paid by the seller, typically charged at a rate of 15% on the net gain (the difference between the sale and purchase prices).

It’s important to note that these costs and taxes can hit up to 9% of the purchase price, with variations depending on the location and specific details of the property transaction. Seeking advice from a legal expert or professional real estate agent is essential to comprehensively understand all the associated taxes and fees in your property transaction in Argentina.

Average house price in Argentina
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán

Average house price in Argentina

The cost per square meter to purchase an apartment in the city center is $2,042.03, while outside the city center, the price per square meter for buying an apartment is $1,547.99.

Can foreigners get a mortgage in Argentina?

Securing a mortgage in Argentina as a foreigner can be a more intricate process compared to Argentine citizens. Foreign nationals are required to furnish all necessary documentation, including proof of income and a valid work permit, to be eligible for mortgage consideration. Furthermore, interest rates for foreign nationals may be comparatively higher than those for Argentine citizens.

The mortgage options extend to various purposes such as purchasing new or used properties, renovating or expanding existing estates, or constructing personal housing. For financing new properties, up to 80% of the value is offered, capped at 250,000 pesos.

In the case of used properties, the maximum financing is 75% of the total value, with the same cap of 250,000 pesos. Renovation and expansion projects can be financed up to 100%, not exceeding 50,000 pesos.

However, obtaining a mortgage in Argentina poses challenges for foreigners due to the country’s historical patterns of significant price fluctuations, currency depreciation, and stringent regulations on currency exchange. Mortgages are not commonly utilized in Argentina, constituting only 1% of the country’s financial transactions.

Are there any restrictions on the type of property foreigners can buy with a mortgage in Argentina?

When it comes to mortgages in Argentina, there are no hard and fast rules about what kinds of houses foreigners can buy. Apartments, town homes, detached houses, luxury villas, coastal properties, rural estates, and available land are all within the realm of possibility for foreigners.

Nevertheless, foreigners encounter a number of obstacles and limitations when attempting to complete the Argentine mortgage process:

  1. Stricter criteria: In order to be eligible for a mortgage, foreign nationals are need to meet strict paperwork criteria. This includes showing proof of income and a valid work permit.
  2. Interest rates that are higher: Compared to Argentine citizens, international nationals may be offered interest rates that are higher.
  3. Limited Mortgage Options:Although Argentine banks and other lenders do provide mortgages, foreigners may find the application procedure more complicated, limiting their options. Some well-known mortgage lenders are Banco Hipotecario, Banco Macro Banco Provincia, and Banco de la Nación.
  4. Foreigner Residency Requirements: Mortgage eligibility for non-Argentine nationals is contingent upon their having worked lawfully in Argentina for a minimum of one year.
  5. Limits on Land Ownership: Foreigners are subject to ownership limitations on certain types of land. Most provinces have a cap of 15% for foreign ownership, with citizens of the same foreign country being able to acquire a combined 30% of that cap. In addition, foreigners are not allowed to possess more than 1,000 hectares of land in certain regions due to size constraints. Even when the majority of a company’s owners are not citizens of the country in question, the rules nonetheless apply to such businesses.

Pros and cons of buying property in Argentina for foreigners

First, the benefits

Argentina’s real estate market extends a welcoming invitation to foreign investors, marked by its openness and absence of restrictions on foreign property ownership.

The aspect of affordability further adds to its appeal, with average property prices in Argentina relatively lower than in other South American countries. Prices typically stand at up to 15 million pesos, depending on the property’s location and type.

Contributing to its allure is the market’s stability, with consistent growth in recent years propelled by heightened tourism and increased foreign investment. Beyond the economic factors, Argentina’s real estate landscape is enriched by the nation’s vibrant culture, dynamic cities, and breathtaking natural beauty, collectively making it an enticing destination for international real estate investment.

What are the risks of investing in Argentina real estate?

The country’s reputation for political and economic instability poses a significant concern, with potential impacts on short-term investments. Economic fluctuations have the potential to influence property values and rental demand.

Additionally, Argentina exhibits higher transaction costs associated with property transactions compared to some other countries, making the movement of money in and out of the country an expensive endeavor. Short-term transactions, particularly those under five years, may be less favorable due to these elevated costs.

Furthermore, challenges in the rental market add another layer of risk, marked by a scarcity of buyers and a collapse in rental supply, resulting in historic lows in rental activity. The choice of location and property type is crucial, as it significantly affects the investment’s success. Considering the potential demand for the property, especially if it is intended for rental purposes, becomes paramount.

Moreover, the availability of mortgages is unlikely in Argentina, presenting a challenge for potential buyers seeking to finance property purchases.

Lastly, navigating the Argentina real estate market may be complicated by communication and cultural differences. The way people communicate and conduct business in Argentina may differ from investors’ accustomed practices, leading to potential confusion. Language barriers further contribute to the complexity of maneuvering the property market, emphasizing the importance of thorough consideration and awareness of these various risks.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 735.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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