International Real Estate: House Hunting in … Argentina
Four Lakeside Acres in Western Argentina
$5.5 MILLION (245 MILLION ARGENTINE PESOS)
This four-bedroom, four-bathroom home is on the shore of a glacier-fed lake about 15 miles from the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, at the foot of the Andes Mountains, in western Argentina.
Built in the 1960s, the 2,600-square-foot, chalet-style house is on a sloping hillside on the Llao Llao Peninsula, a secluded area of forested hills overlooking Lake Moreno. The 4.6-acre property includes 780 feet of shoreline; an older, three-bedroom house that could be used for staff; two boat docks; and a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom guesthouse added six years ago, said Viviana Reissis Etchegoin, the sales manager of Ginevra Sotheby’s International, which has the listing.
The site, views and “unparalleled access to the water” make it a “unique and exclusive property,” she said.
An entry hall leads to the chalet’s living area, where tall windows offer views of the lake and Mount Tronador, the highest peak in the area. A half-wall separates the living room from a dining room and a lounge area with built-in wood shelves and a stone fireplace. The walls and floors are cypress. The furniture is not included in the asking price, but some pieces are available to buy, Ms. Reissis Etchegoin said.
The kitchen, off the dining room, has a traditional wood-burning stove and modern appliances. A nearby bedroom is currently used as an office. A maid’s quarters with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen is also on the ground floor.
There are three bedrooms upstairs, including a master bedroom with a walk-in closet. Two of the bedrooms have doors leading to a shared balcony.
The landscaped grounds have several rose gardens, tall trees, a vegetable garden and a greenhouse where vegetables are grown. In addition to the boat docks, one of which is covered, there is a separate boat ramp and a small boathouse on the waterfront.
Part of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the area is the gateway to the Lake District of Patagonia, renowned as much for its beauty as for its chocolates. The Llao Llao Peninsula is a popular destination with beachgoers, hikers and fishing enthusiasts; Lake Nahuel Huapi is home to several coveted varieties of perch and trout.
San Carlos de Bariloche — commonly referred to as Bariloche — has more than 100,000 residents and is known for its ski slopes, with most tourists visiting in the winter months. Cerro Catedral mountain, about 12 miles south of the city, is home to South America’s largest ski resort. (Another claim to fame: In the early 1900s, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid out in Bariloche while on the run.)
While the house feels secluded, it is only a short walk from the Llao Llao Hotel and Resort, a stately hotel dating to 1938, where there are shops and restaurants, Ms. Reissis Etchegoin said. It is also close to the Circuito Chico, a 37-mile stretch of road dotted with restaurants, pubs and small hotels. The nearest international airport is Teniente Luis Candelaria Airport, in Bariloche, about a 45-minute drive from the house.
Argentina’s economy is currently in turmoil, with inflation surging and the value of the peso sliding. In October, the International Monetary Fund approved a $56.3 billion support package after the peso dropped more than 50 percent in six months.
Although there is no official data available, home sales in Bariloche are “very depressed,” said Andrea Graciela Peña, the owner of Andrea Peña Real Estate.
While there are few sales, prices have remained relatively stable, with owners declining to sell at discounts, agents said. Only a few owners in the area have lowered prices by as much as 20 percent, Ms. Graciela Peña said.
Homes in Bariloche are typically bought and sold in American dollars, which makes the market more resilient to the ebbs and flows of the peso, agents said. And the steady flow of tourists also “makes this city more stable than other parts of country,” said Carolina Salazar Marin, an agent with Re/Max Montaña, a Bariloche real estate agency.
But buyers are “more aggressive” these days in negotiations, sometimes offering 10 to 20 percent below the listing price, she said.
Many buyers in Bariloche are interested in apartments, as an older one-bedroom can be bought for $130,000 and rented to tourists during the peak seasons, Ms. Salazar Marin said.
In newer developments, like the Arelauquen Golf and Country Club, a master-planned community 15 minutes from the center of the city, prices are higher: A four-bedroom, five-bathroom chalet there with lake views is currently on the market for $1.5 million.
Who Buys in Bariloche
“The opportunities for foreign investors are high” in Bariloche, said Sebastian Colonna, an agent with Shanahan Properties, “because the asking prices are low compared to similar locations in other developed countries.”
Many buyers are looking for land or apartments that can be rented to tourists, Mr. Colonna said. “People have the perception that their money doesn’t devalue if they invest in land, so that attracts more investors to the area.”
The bulk of his clients are from Buenos Aires, about 980 miles to the northeast, and are looking for a second home or an investment property. About 25 percent of his clients are foreign, he said, most of them from North America.
The majority of Ms. Graciela Peña’s foreign clients from the United States, typically “Americans that have family in Argentina or Argentines living in the States,” she said.
Ms. Salazar Marin said about 10 percent of her clients are foreign, most of them from the United States and Europe.
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Argentina, except for homes in rural areas and along the border. (This property doesn’t fall into either of those categories, Ms. Reissis Etchegoin said.)
But foreign buyers must obtain a tax number, typically with the help of a notary. “It is not a difficult process, but it must be done in compliance with the regulations,” said Guido Aiassa, a lawyer in Buenos Aires. “Otherwise, it could become a never-ending administrative and bureaucratic problem.”
The notary, known as an escribano, oversees most aspects of the transaction and does the title search. Escrow accounts are rare, Mr. Aiassa said; it is up to the notary to ensure “that both parties comply with their obligations.”
Bariloche tourism: barilocheturismo.gob.ar
Argentina tourism: argentina.travel/en
Argentina government: argentina.gob.ar
Languages and Currency
Spanish; Argentine peso (1 ARS = $0.02)
Taxes and Fees
Federal and local taxes typically add 3 to 4 percent to the sale price, Mr. Aiassa said. Notary fees and related expenses will add another 3 to 4 percent, and agent fees could be another 4 percent, he said.
Fees for a lawyer could range from 1 to 5 percent of a home’s value, depending on the complexity of the deal, Mr. Aiassa said.
Local and regional property taxes on this home are about $2,000 a year, Ms. Reissis Etchegoin said.
Viviana Reissis Etchegoin, Ginevra Sotheby’s International, 011-54-11-5354-8000; ginevrasir.com
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Published at Wed, 08 May 2019 13:31:13 +0000