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Trends in Buenos Aires Metro Area Real Estate
A deep dive into some of the areas close to Buenos Aires
Welcome Avatar! After a short European intermezzo, I returned to the promised land to make sure boredom doesn’t overtake this Mara’s life. Today we will be going over real estate trends and opportunities in the metro area of Buenos Aires, pointing out potential areas for growth and more. Let’s dig in.
Surely most visitors that land at Ezeiza airport have seen the vast extension of what looks like the city from the plane windows, similar to what you see in the intro image above.
Most of that area is actually what locals call the conurbano or AMBA: the metropolitan area of Greater Buenos Aires. The city itself only has around 3 million inhabitants, whereas the metro area in the province amounts to roughly 15+ million. Every day many of those inhabitants commute to the city, which is why during peak hours traffic can be hell.
Gran Buenos Aires
Usually when people mention conurbano, it raises the hair on the back of their necks because that term is closely related to many crime stories. The most dangerous places in Argentina are probably certain municipalities in La Matanza and other working class neighborhoods located at the periphery of the city.
Here we will go over the nice areas, which are a completely different story. That being said, in the provincia it is advised to be a bit more vigilant in terms of safety compared to the city.
Zona Norte - Red & Blue Zones
As a rule of thumb, the area north of the city (Zona Norte, marked in the red and blue rectangles) tends to be the best in terms of very classy homes, nature, big gardens and swimming pools in some cases.
The other plus is that Vicente Lopez, San Isidro and San Fernando and Tigre are all located close to the river, with small beaches here and there (no swimming due to pollution, unfortunately). The municipalities located in the red square are more urban in nature, with big mansions combined with apartment buildings in the urban centers.
In the case of Pilar and Escobar (blue zone), the areas are much more extensive and having a car is an absolute must. In these two municipalities, the city centers are not that interesting or appealing, but many people move here to buy a terrain in a gated community. It’s an important distinction and a very different lifestyle versus the more urban area of the red rectangle.
Countries, as locals call them, have literally popped up everywhere, and most of these are top notch. The reason why locals prefer to live here is that a gated community provides for additional security. Personally I wouldn’t want to have to pass through another customs every time I leave my house, but that’s just me.
Average price/m2 in this area is around $2,100 USD, which is significantly lower compared to Palermo, Recoleta, etc. In the areas closer to the city (Vicente Lopez and San Isidro), prices are closer to the $2,700 mark which is just below better neighborhoods in the capital.
Pilar and Escobar have a lot lower pricing, which is also because of the downside of longer distances. When looking at the median prices in each municipality, Vicente Lopez and San Isidro clearly come out on top, but it’s interesting to see the difference in lowest and highest price/m2:
This means there’s a lot of deals available at the moment, and that desirable areas far outprice less desirable areas.
In May this year, price trends started to move upwards again after a 3 year decline. Since then, the median prices have started to slowly move up, but they’re still nowhere near the peak in 2018.
In terms of interesting barrios La Lucila, Martinez and San Isidro are definitely top of the list, followed by Tigre. Vicente Lopez is a bit too urban and part of the city, but that’s my personal opinion.
The best properties with regards to biggest discounts are the ones around 300-400k USD, some of which literally cost almost 2x just less than 5 years ago. The more expensive options of 500k+ are a lot harder to sell afterwards, and you have to be really in love with a property to lock up that kind of capital, since everything is paid in full and there are no mortgages.
As an investment, unless you go for a furnished rental in USD, the returns on properties in this area are not great if you decide to rent them out long term (around 3-3.5% YoY).
One thing to keep in mind is that this return is purely based on long term peso rentals, and does not take into account renting it out to expats in USD. In those cases, rent is dollarized and returns are in the range of 6-8%, which is a lot more reasonable. In Vicente Lopez, Martinez and up to San Isidro, a lot of expats working for multinationals (usually they relocate with their family) rent their furnished house in USD for a longer term period.
Zona Oeste - Purple and Green rectangle
As you’ve seen above, most of the areas close to the city of Buenos Aires except for the northern zone are not that recommended from a safety perspective. An exception are some areas in Monte Grande and Lomas de Zamora, even though these also have their rough neighborhoods.
The plus side is that Lomas de Zamora is very close to capital, and within 20 minutes you can be in the city center. A few friends of mine live there in a really nice neighborhood and are happy with it.
On the map the only highlighted area is Cañuelas and San Vicente, but there are a lot of municipalities that have nice areas (Ezeiza and General Rodriguez included). The reason for this is that I have less experience with these areas, and will have to do a bit more scouting before forming an opinion.
Overall, overage prices in Zona Oeste are almost half compared to Zona Norte:
This has to do with less development, and of course greater distances from the capital. Lomas de Zamora is definitely the most valued in this area, together with the adjacent municipality Almirante Brown:
Even though Cañuelas and San Vicente are highlighted on the initial map, these areas are technically not considered as “Zona Oeste”, since they are a bit further out (at least a 45-60 minute drive from the Buenos Aires).
For this region closer to Buenos Aires, the best thing is to look at the most expensive neighborhoods, which also tend to be the best areas (and which are still relatively cheap compared to Zona Norte):
Looking at the median prices per neighborhood, there is less variation compared to Zona Norte, except for Ezeiza which has very upscale zones and areas that you’d rather not walk in alone at night.
Another great area is Canning, which is located in the municipality of Ezeiza. In the last decade many countries, or gated communities, have popped up in that area, combining more space with nature and security.
When looking at the average returns on long term rentals there’s a similar picture as in Zona Norte, with less demand during the pandemic which resulted in an all time low return of 1.8% at the lowest point:
One thing to keep in mind is that this area is less popular for expats, and most rentals will be priced in pesos. This signficantly diminishes possible returns on an investment in this zone.
However, if you are looking to build your own home and have a lot more land available, a gated community in Cañuelas or Canning will be significantly cheaper compared to Pilar or Escobar, at roughly the same distance from Buenos Aires.
Autist note: you can find some additional articles below that shed some more light on the local real estate market:
The Provincia de Buenos Aires has more spatial properties and mansions, which are ideal for a family. I would personally stick to the suburban area of Zona Norte, which is still close enough to the city and yet a lot better in terms of space, nature, and so on. A 30 minute commute to Palermo is very doable.
Property values in the metro areas have decreased significantly since the peak in 2019 (-30/50%,) way more when we compare them to the prices in the city of Buenos Aires (-20-25%).
Keep in mind that these properties are even less liquid, and are not that easy to sell compared to a city apartment (hence, the additional drop in prices).
See you in the Jungle, anon!
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