Mar del Plata: barrios, beaches & birras
A neighborhood overview & property valuations in "La Feliz"
Welcome Avatar! Today we will be talking about an underrated gem in Argentina, and the fourth biggest city after Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario: Mar del Plata, also known by locals as “La Feliz”, Mardel, or MDQ (Airport code). We’ll go over what neighborhoods are up and coming, where to stay, and some interesting RE options that are currently available.
Mar del Plata has the necessary infrastructure and services to live & work comfortably, especially if you work from home. The city is large and spread out, but at the same time it’s not overwhelming and outside of the coastal area, there’s still a lot of lower buildings and bigger properties.
When to visit?
Something to keep in mind is that, as in any tourist city, I would recommend NOT to visit during January.
The city absolutely explodes in terms of people in January and February during the summer holidays (about 2x the regular population), and lines to get into a restaurant and to even get a spot on the beach are normal.
The massive tourist arrival also increases prices considerably, especially for short term rentals.
Not to mention the city beaches in high season: absolutely undoable as you can see above. There are still enough beaches 20-30 mins out of the city (Chapadmalal is a very popular beach spot).
Besides that high season peak, the cost of living is usually a little cheaper than in Buenos Aires.
During the winter (Jun-Aug) it is much quieter than in the summer. If you want to avoid tourists, the ideal times of the year to enjoy the sea and the different activities are between September and the first half of December. Additionally the first half of March is also nice. In February it’s still a bit crowded (which is good if you are looking for clubbing etc, but less so if you just want to work and chill).
Stella Maris, Los Troncos – Playa Grande and Divino Rostro are the so-called traditional neighborhoods of Mar del Plata.
These neighborhoods are known for their architecture, building materials and overall natural beauty.
We'll go over each neighborhood below:
Los Troncos / Calle Güemes
Technically Güemes is not a neighborhood but a street that runs through Los Troncos and El Paseo Güemes, but is the ideal street to start exploring from, with a lot of restaurants, bars, and shops.
This neighborhood is popular amongst tourists and locals alike, and many central areas around the old bus station have been completely gentrified in the last 5-10 years.
There are some very attractive residential homes, but also areas with a great day and night life, full of restaurants open during the day and many bars and nightclubs.
Some of the mansions you can see here are off the charts. For a better idea of the types of homes you can encounter here, check this one for sale:
Just walking around the residential area of Los Troncos is a feast for the eyes, and you will see many houses like the one in the video.
Chauvín is an unofficial neighborhood delimited by Colón, Independencia, Juan B. Justo and Arenales avenues and one of the main new construction areas of the city. Almost 20,000 m2 of apartments are under construction at the moment and a hub of restaurants with signature cuisine, bars and breweries is popping up all over the area.
It is one of the most famous areas of "La Feliz": beautiful, old buildings with classic architecture from Mar del Plata, combined with newer buildings.
Chauvin is a very quiet neighborhood to live in, it has moderate traffic thanks to its good accessibility, either from the center or from the port, as well as from the northernmost area of the city. It is an ideal neighborhood for family life.
This video gives a good overview of the neighborhood (in Spanish):
It is usually one of the most popular neighborhoods when looking for a property in Mar del Plata.
In general, the tour begins in this old neighborhood that houses some very important constructions of the city and a great cultural wealth.
Villa Normandy, a mansion located on Avenida Colón and Viamonte that stands out for its traditional architecture.
Stella Maris is great for a stroll down memory lane, but in my opinion it’s better to stay in one of the other neighborhoods.
The waterfront is its main attraction. It borders on one of the most visited streets in the city: Leandro M. Alem.
On Alem you can find a large number of shops, pubs, restaurants and entertainment for adults and children. The largest properties and apartments are located in this area of Mar del Plata. Playa Grande is a neighborhood in constant transformation and growth.
When talking about Divino Rostro it is impossible not to refer to Villa Victoria, the heart of this neighborhood surrounded by trees and houses with large gardens and lush vegetation.
Here you can also find the lesser known Villa Silvina that belonged to the writers Silvina Ocampo and Adolfo Bioy Casares. Unlike Villa Victoria, this house is private and you cannot visit its interior.
The most visited places in the downtown are of MDQ: Plaza San Martín, the Cathedral, San Martín (pedestrian street), the boulevard, the pier of the fishermen's club, the Casino, and more.
Along the pedestrian street there is a great variety of businesses, shopping malls, restaurants, galleries and commercial places, hotels and bingo halls.
It’s a nice neighborhood for its history and an integral part of the city. Personally I would try to stay somewhere closer to Los Troncos, but if you want to be close to the city beaches, this spot is fine.
Property market in Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata became the favorite city for those who want to get away from the city, especially during and after the plandemic. I am personally interested in buying property in MDQ, and have been more actively researching the market for the last 2 years.
The fact that many (even here) can WFH really created a boost for Mar del Plata property sales, albeit in very specific areas. Gated communities are the most sought after (this is a similar dynamic around Pilar & Escobar, about 30-45 mins outside of Buenos Aires).
During the pandemic the number of buyers from Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba grew considerably. Currently there tend to be two types of investors: 1) people looking to build a summer house or an apartment in the city to rent out, and 2) people looking to move to Mar del Plata permanently. The latter is the group that grew the most in the last couple of years.
The real property values in US Token fell by up to 20% during the pandemic, a similar dynamic compared to Buenos Aires. In 2020, there were great opportunities, especially in buying land and building a home from scratch.
In terms of prices, land in residential neighborhoods today has an average value of US$650 per square meter (m2), while in new developments an apartment with ocean view can cost around US$3,000 per m2 on average, a similar value to Palermo or Caballito in Buenos Aires, albeit with a slightly different view.
You can find a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Mar del Plata for around $30,000 and a 2-bedroom apartment from $45,000. In a neighborhood like Los Troncos, properties can easily reach $1M+, but there are some very nice homes that are still reasonably priced, with a pool and big backyard, around the $200-$400k mark.
In the newer neighborhoods, located on the Ruta 2 at the entrance to Mar del Plata coming from Buenos Aires, prices start at $35,000 for buying a lot to build on. These tend to be in gated communities, and usually you have to build a home within x years of acquiring the terrain. Zones that are already more developed have a lot value ranging from $55,000 to $75,000.
Personally, I'm more into the Bosque de Peralta Ramos zone, but that is because I want to be in a forest, close to the beach, but without the feeling that I am in a 800k+ inhabitant city.
After doing some initial research I’m now closer to a shortlist of properties in that area to visit. It's still only 25 minutes to the center by car, but: you need a car to live there. Different strokes for different folks.
Some Real Estate portals where you can browse around for property in Mardel:
https://roblespropiedades.com.ar (the most classy homes)
https://mercadolibre.com.ar (browse to RE section)
See you in the Jungle, anon!
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