People shopping for the perfect location for a second home or vacation villa should look no further than Uruguay. Foreign real estate expert Margaret Summerfield lists the South American coastal retreat as her top pick for an expat destination. Among her top ten reasons are easy establishment of residency (proof of income of $6,000 a year), cheap Internet and public transportation, solid infrastructure (including drinkable tap water), good healthcare, stable politics and a growing economy. For more on this continue reading the following article from Pathfinder.
Uruguay is one of my favorite countries. I’m often asked why I rate it so highly by fellow readers and conference attendees trying to figure out where to buy a second or retirement home. So, for anyone considering buying a home overseas, here are my top ten reasons why you should consider Uruguay.
- It’s a stable, democratic, peaceful country, which doesn’t have hostile relationships with any other country. It’s one of the safest and least corrupt countries in the region, and has a low crime rate.
- There are no hurricanes, earthquakes, or volcanoes.
- It has a strong economy, which grew by 8.5% in 2010, with forecasted growth for 2011 of 6%. Tourism figures for January 2011 were up 40% on the year before. The country is edging towards investment grade.
- It boasts good infrastructure. The tap water is drinkable. Roads are modern and paved. It’s easy to get round the country; it’s fairly small in size, and public transport is cheap, reliable and comfortable. Carrasco airport (the country’s main international airport) just had a major expansion. Internet hookups are quick and easy to obtain, and many public places (and some buses) have free Wi-Fi. You can see Montevideo’s boardwalk below:
- Medical care is good quality and highly affordable. In major cities like Montevideo, you have a choice of healthcare providers, including the British Hospital. Residents can use the national health care system’s free clinics, too. Monthly fees for private medical cover start from $51.
- The climate is seasonal and mild. It doesn’t get boiling hot, or freezing cold. You won’t see ice or snow. Temperatures average 61-82F (16-28C) in Montevideo in summer and 43-59F (6-15C) in winter. Remember that seasons in Uruguay are the opposite of those in North America. When it’s winter in North America, it’s summer in Uruguay.
- Residency is easy. You can become a resident if you can prove income of $6,000 a year ($500 a month). Rental income from a property that you own in Uruguay qualifies as income for residency.
- Uruguay has a European feel. Montevideo’s streets reveal an endless succession of French and Art Deco style buildings, a classical opera house, tree-lined streets, and shaded plazas. Restaurants and even supermarkets offer hand-made Italian pasta…and the delicate pastries in the cafes will remind you of Paris.
- The country is home to miles and miles of beautiful beaches, and great beach towns. Much of the coastal landscape looks very Mediterranean, with rural pastureland sweeping down to the dark-blue ocean. La Pedrera, below, is one of the many nice beach towns on Uruguay’s coast. Punta del Este easily holds its own with the world’s top resorts…while La Paloma or Piriapolis hark back to nice seashore towns from the 1950s.
- The quality of life is unbeatable. You’ll feel much more relaxed in Uruguay, thanks to its easy-going pace. It’s like taking a step back, taking a deep breath, slowing down and enjoying life. Uruguayans make more time for socializing. And Uruguay is still a place where family and friends come first.
This article was republished with permission from Pathfinder.