Can Argentina bounce back from the global economic crisis?

A season of lectures on the Real Estate market that was organized by the newspaper La Nación was hosted in the La Rural conference centre in November 2011. This series of lectures from experts in the Buenos Aires real estate sector discussed issues and all the latest developments in this important Argentine industry.  It was also the opportune moment to consider the impacts of the current global crisis on the Buenos Aires real estate market.

One of the main themes of the season of real estate lectures was whether the Argentine real estate market and economy was strong enough to weather the storm of the current global economic turmoil and if it could overcome all the obstacles that affecting investors, developers and buyers across the real estate.

One important point to underline in this discussion is that this isn’t the first time that Argentina has had to face economic hardships. Past experience shows that various sectors of the country’s economy have been strong: investment in property does not usually evaporate or volatilise in times of economic troubles. The strength of the real estate market was truly tested during the 2001/2002 crisis and yet it survived, which shows that Argentina has survived worse than the current economic instability.

Another issue that was addressed in the different conferences and lectures in November was the concern about the lack of policies or funding that support mortgage loans. It was clear that there seems to be no easy way to facilitate providing mortgages and loans to homeowners. Argentina’s economy and nature does not lend itself to mortgages and credit schemes: inflation and instability mean that mortgages will continue to be a foreign luxury that few Argentines will ever enjoy. In order to provide mortgage loans the economy would have to be more stable control inflation.

As 2011 comes to an end, the patterns of Buenos Aires real estate investment reveal the typical seasonal behaviour of investors and buyers: a fall in the number of real estate deals closed.  Another issue is also impacting the Buenos Aires real estate scene: the restrictions on purchasing US dollars, which is affecting all those who have to complete real estate transactions. The restrictions imposed by the government (as part of a scheme to stabilise the Argentine peso) is making real estate transactions difficult and in some cases deals are falling through as there aren’t enough dollars to complete transactions.

There are plenty of questions and doubts hanging over the Buenos Aires real estate market, which will only become clear as time passes. The results of the government’s recent economic measures will in time reveal the state of affairs and whether Argentina will bounce back from the global economic crisis. However, based on Argentina’s survival in past crises it should come out ok.

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