wikiHow to Buy Property in Argentina

This short guide explains how to go about buying property in Argentina.


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    Consider the reasons for buying property in Argentina. With one of the most iconic capital cities in the world in Buenos Aires, and great potential as a centre for the tourist trade in South America, Argentina has much to offer both travellers and overseas property buyers. The conflicts of the past, and the military leaderships that flourished in the 20th Century, have created a somewhat split society, with a rich upper class acting in many ways like old colonial powers, and a poorer working population. Democracy returned most recently to the country in 1983, and with economic reforms over recent years, conditions for much of the population are beginning to improve.
    • The continued improvement of economic conditions, resulting in average GDP growth of nine per cent for the period of 2003-2006, has meant that foreign investment opportunities have increased. In the wake of this, opportunities for overseas property buyers have opened up in different parts of the country. While still to be considered an emerging market, there are a number of different types of buyers to which the renting and eventual sale of property in Argentina will be interesting.
    • As an emerging market for overseas property investors, there are some hurdles to overcome in Argentina. Some of these are practical, such as the lack of mortgage products and issues restricting the transfer of foreign currency as explained below. Other issues have to do with the economic direction of the country as a whole. High inflation rates across the country are holding back development, and government figures cannot be trusted as they have been understating inflation figures since early 2007. Despite attempts by the new president, Christina Kirchner, there is still concern over Argentina’s economic future.
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    Consider the popular property locations in Argentina. The second largest country in South America, behind Brazil, and the eighth largest in the world, Argentina offers a huge variety of landscapes, though property buying opportunities can generally be grouped into two types: city and country. City property opportunities for foreign investors will almost invariably be centred on Buenos Aires - the social, political and business hub of the country. Foreign investment in the city has grown steeply over recent years, bringing new industries and practices to the region. At the same time, the capital was traditionally a major trading post both for the huge natural resources that Argentina is blessed with, and later for international trade as the city lies between the major sea lanes of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
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    Buenos Aires is situated on the Rio de la Plata estuary, and as an established capital city has the advanced infrastructure and transportation facilities that you would expect to find in a far more advanced and wealthy country. The city is made up of the central City of Buenos Aires, which is in fact 48 barrios (or neighbourhoods), accommodating three million residents. The Greater Buenos Aires area, which is made up of 19 partidos (or municipalities), is home to some 13 million people, about one third of the population of the whole country.
    • Since the last economic downturn in 2002, during which the Argentinean peso lost 75 per cent of its value against the US Dollar, property prices in the capital have increased by some 50 per cent and are predicted to continue to climb. A recent Credit Suisse report into the country suggested that property in Argentina is still undervalued by between 20 and 30 per cent. Rental yields are also good on luxury properties – conservative estimates range from seven to eight per cent return per year up to more than ten per cent on the best properties. With the top-end hotels in Buenos Aires running at occupancy rates of more than 80 per cent, good apartments will continue to be a popular option.
    • The other property option outside of the capital city is to look towards the countryside and coastal areas – property is available in some other resorts or there are possibilities to purchase packets of land as investments for subsequent development opportunities. Argentina is a vast and beautiful place — there are the increasingly popular wine producing regions; world class ski resorts; exclusive golf and country clubs; Patagonia’s breathtaking Lake District and the awe inspiring glaciers at the southern tip of the continent — in total there are 19 national parks in the country. With a winter season that drops only to 15 °C (59 °F) in Buenos Aires, but offers skiing in the Andes, the possibilities for the tourist market are huge.
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    Understand the relevant legal issues. There are no restrictions on foreigners buying and owning property in Argentina, and the process is a simple and efficient one for an emerging market.
    • Buyers must obtain a CDI tax registration number from the government to complete their purchase, as well as having and bank account in the country and a representative appointed if they do not become resident in order to pay property tax for them.
    • Also, every real estate purchase in Argentina must be registered through a notary public or escribano who specialises in dealing with real estate transactions. This is one of the reasons that land title is generally secure and trouble-free in Argentina, and can be expected to cost between one percent and two and a half per cent of the purchase price.
    • The escribano is also responsible for registering the property sale and transfer of ownership with the authorities.
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    Buy your property. Once you have obtained your CDI tax number, the property buying process in Argentina is quite simple and well-established. Once you have signed a reservation form and provided certified identification along with your reservation fee, you should always look to engage and independent lawyer or escribano that you have researched yourself, in order to make sure the transaction is being carried out in accordance with the law and that you know for what you are signing. You should also always make sure that you have copies of all contracts in both English and Spanish so that you can refer back to them at any time you need to. Some two to three weeks after your reservation, you should receive the pre-sales contract, which is when the initial deposit is paid. This contract will set out the terms of the agreement, the schedule of building for off-plan purchases, and the date of completion.
    • Upon completion, or escritura, both parties sign the official deed transfer documents in the presence of the escribano and the final balance is paid over.
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    Finance your investment. There are currently no mortgage products available in Argentina for foreign investors, and even for resident Argentines the conditions and interest rates on loans are prohibitive. In many ways, this makes the market more accessible to foreign buyers who are able to finance though other means.
    • The situation with mortgages is expected to change in the near future, which will have a huge impact on the property market both domestically and internationally. Added to this is the cumbersome method of changing money through the official conversion process, which can be very costly. Most real estate transactions for mid- to high-end properties are carried out in US Dollars, but going through the official conversion process can cost you one to two per cent in money value.
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    Know what you need to pay in fees and taxes. Overall, you should budget for buying costs to come in at around eight per cent of the purchase price of your property in Argentina. This covers the legal fees of the escribano, property registration and stamp costs (which are waived on certain properties if it is you first purchase in the country) and the agent’s fees, which are shared between the buyer and the seller.
    • Income tax for those who are planning to rent their property out runs at a flat rate of 21 per cent of the gross income you earn from the property. As a foreigner buying property in Argentina, you must also pay a Personal Asset and Property tax to the government, but must arrange for this to be paid on your behalf by an Argentine national at an AFIP (tax office). It is owner’s responsibility to pay this every year, and there is no bill or invoice sent in the post to remind you – if you do not pay annually, you will face heavy financial penalties when you come to sell on as you must obtain a certificate from the AFIP stating that you are up to date on these payments. If you do not pay every year, you will be charged the back taxes along with a fine of up to 25 percent for each year of non-payment. The tax is 0.75 per cent of the property price as recorded on the title deed.
    • There is a maintenance cost payable monthly on all properties in Argentina, which can be passed on to your long-term tenants, or built in to short-term letting costs. A municipal tax is also levied on property to cover street lighting, garbage collection and maintenance costs, and amounts to around half of one per cent of the property value. You should also be sure to arrange property and contents insurance on your property in Argentina, which could easily be as little as £10 per month. Although this sounds like a lot of commitments to cover, running a property in Argentina is actually very cheap, and you have the advantage that individuals do not have to pay capital gains tax. However, if your property is owned by a company you have set up for tax purposes, be aware that capital gains are taxed at a rate of 35 per cent for companies.
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    Obtain the necessary visas, residency and work permits. Although the property buying process in Argentina is well-established and safe, the process for applying for visas and permits is a far more long-winded one. Argentina is a bureaucratic country and you should try to prepare as much in advance for this part of your purchase to make sure you have all of the documentation you need as far in advance as you can. When applying for any form of visa for Argentina, the most commonly-required documents are:
    • Passport with a least one year of clear validity left on it
    • Passport photos in the standard format
    • International birth certificate
    • Medical statement
    • In some cases a statement of good conduct from the police is also required. You can apply for a number of different visas, depending on what you intend to do while in the country. The most common is for a temporary residence visa, which allows you to work for up to a year. For this you will need a confirmed and signed contract of employment.
    • For tourist visits of up to three months, UK citizens will not need to have a visa but to obtain full citizenship; foreigners need to have two years of full residence to qualify. Argentina's investment potential.
    • Following a deep and disastrous economic depression that ended in 2002, Argentina has recovered well, and is now stable economically. Unemployment is falling, and property in Buenos Aires is said to be up to 30 per cent undervalued. Tourism is set to grow by around eight per cent per year, and as luxury hotels are already running at high occupancy, there is real potential for the rental market for short-term tourist lettings to grow significantly. Rental yields on high-end properties are still strong. Finally, Argentina held elections in late 2007 to decide on the new President, in which Cristina De Kirchner, wife of the outgoing President, won a significant victory with a large majority. As the first female leader of the country, De Kirchner has a wide populist mandate to continue progress in Argentina, and there is a real sense of optimism among the population. However, her efforts to gain control of the high inflation by imposing severe export taxes have encountered strong opposition, and despite nationalizing private pension funds to bolster the government coffers, there is still uncertainty over the economic future of Argentina.
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    Be aware of the health and education standards. Medical care is generally of a high standard in Buenos Aires, but can vary somewhat outside of the capital. The State strives to provide free medical care for all of its inhabitants, but this can only be achieved to a certain degree. As a foreigner, you can apply for medical cover under the short term visa scheme, during which medical records may be required in a translated format.
    • Cosmetic surgery is popular in Argentina, and is quite an advanced industry, leading to many foreigners visiting for treatment. You may prefer the security of having private medical insurance to cover you while in Argentina, and there are a variety of providers offering various levels of cover across the world.
    • Buenos Aires has a number of international schools, as well as offering an exchange programme for university places, and tends to look favourably on applicants for student visas.
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    Know the transport options. Argentina has an advanced transport system both internally and internationally, allowing easy travel both to and around the country. In particular, Buenos Aires has a good tram, metro and bus system. There are also two airports serving what is known as the ‘Paris of South America’, one for international flights, and another serving mostly domestic destinations. Flights from London often stop in Sao Paolo en route, and can take up to 12 hours.


  • Argentina has emerged from an economic and politic decline to really show its soul and passion to the world once more. A country of the tango, polo playing and fine wines awaits both the traveller and those looking for property investment, while there is still enough for the younger trailblazers to get excited about in the national parks and mountain regions.
  • Above all, Argentina now has its much sought-after stability in politics, which means it should be well placed to continue growing on the international stage in years to come. Investment in property in Argentina is by no means risk-free, and with the current economic worries and high inflation, it may be better suited to professional investors with a clear attitude to how much risk they are prepared to take on. There is potential for a vibrant and exciting overseas property investment here, but caution should be exercised at all times.


  • This article is intended as a guide only. You should always seek professional advice when undertaking property transactions.

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