With the economy in the slumps and the housing market on hiatus, the last thing on most people's minds is spending more money, or investing in more property. At least in the US, that is. Go south of the border to Argentina and it's a different story.
As Ann Marie Gardner writes in The New York Times in December 2006: "Why go to Napa Valley when you can fly to Mendoza, drink more affordable and exotic wines, and go horseback riding across the Andes with sexy Latin meat eaters?"
The current US dollar/Argentine peso exchange rate is remarkably in favor of the US, and properties in Buenos Aires' most desirable neighborhoods are selling for 7-10 times less than those found in similar upscale neighborhoods of London, Pairs, and New York. Price contrasts are even greater outside of the capital city, in rural areas such as Mendoza and Rosario.
"In the US, second-home sales are, for obvious reasons, at their lowest in five years, according to the National Association of Realtors", says Scott Mathis, chairman of DPEC Partners and InvestProperty Group (IPG), a venture capital firm with two new investments in Argentina - Algodon Wine Estates in Mendoza, and Algodon Mansion in Buenos Aires. "Investing in Argentina at a time like this offers Americans new opportunities at a fraction of the price they are used to paying."
Algodon Wine Estates comprises over 300 estate homesites which are currently for sale, many of which have vineyards included on the land. Owners own all the wine produced by the land - which can be personally bottled and shipped to a location of choice - and lots start as low as $60,000 USD. Similar concepts in the US can easily cost over one million USD.
"Homes built in conjunction with
vineyards are an extremely hot commodity right now, and these properties are particularly inelastic when it comes to price, especially among wealthier buyers. This all-the-more puts the spotlight on Argentina, a country well-known for its fine wine and sophisticated culture," says Mathis.
Throughout the nineties, Argentina was one of Latin America's most expensive destinations, a result of the peso being pegged one-to-one with the US dollar. With the economic crisis of 2002, this all changed course which is why today it is so inexpensive for Americans to visit or invest in property. With new real estate and commercial ventures emerging all over the country, Argentina's economy has experienced strong growth in the past few years. The number of American tourists visiting Argentina has grown by roughly 35% from 2005 to 2008, and is expected to break records for 2009.
A real estate venture with a unique winemaking angle, Algodon Wine Estates offers luxury accommodations for tourists, as well as the opportunity to actually own a piece of the estate's vineyard. More than 300 estate homesites are currently being developed for private sale throughout the estate, allowing owners essentially to become winemakers, but without the usual hassles involved. Once bottled, the wine can be personally labeled and shipped to a location of choice. The property also includes a golf estate, two traditional Mendocinian lodges, a clubhouse and an award-winning restaurant, and there are plans for a polo field and equestrian center, an expansion of the current 9-hole golf course to 18 holes, a luxury hotel, 10 tennis courts and one grand tennis stadium.
Set to open in late 2009, Algodon Mansion is a luxury boutique hotel in a six-story, remodeled 1920s mansion located in the heart of Buenos Aires' stylish Recoleta neighborhood. The property will have 10 spacious luxury suites - some exceeding 1,200-square feet and all in keeping with the house's Belle Époque architecture. It will exude old-world Argentinean charm while providing state-of-the-art luxuries, including 24-hour butler and concierge service, a fine-dining restaurant, a wine cellar, library bar, a covered outside patio and fireplace, and a luxurious rooftop pool, sauna, spa and bar. Additionally, a four-story waterfall will stretch from the roof to the ground floor lobby.
To learn more about Algodon visit: www.algodonwineestates.com and www.algodonmansion.com.