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Let me give you a quick overview of La Juana, Balsa’s second major development which is currently underway—and where my husband and I have decided to invest.

La Juana is a 2.5 acre estate which will include 271 houses, a clubhouse, tennis court and a small onsite shopping centre. Houses are ranch-style (all one level), detached, with its own pool with three to four and two to three full bathrooms. The average plot size is a quarter-acre (900 m²)—about two basketball courts. The smallest houses are 1130 sq foot (between 105 m2 and 200 m²) and buyers choose from 17 designs.

There’s quality in all of the details. It is not common for newbuilds in Uruguay to come with solar powered underfloor heating and a fully equipped kitchen. Many of us complain about the lack of insulation in Uruguayan homes. These houses have double glazed windows throughout and built with double walls (incredibly, not a norm in this country of four seasons). Fittings are from high-end companies like Bosch.

Over 180 of the houses had been sold by December 2021. Building begins in January 2022 and the first houses will be ready for their owners within three months. Balsa estimates that the estate will be totally completed within three years.

Prices range from 272,400-480,500 USD at the time of writing. Prices are listed here in Spanish.

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Computer-generated layout of the La Juana estate

What’s close by

Who will love to live there

Balsa’s clients tend to be those interested who want to live in green surroundings close to the city as well as beaches. They’re Uruguayans who live in the centre of Montevideo. Many work in the free trade areas close by and want to trade a 40 minute commute for a five minute one.

Seventy per-cent are first time buyers. The number of couples with and expecting babies at an event for new owners I attended was notable. The attraction of living in a community where the small children roam free is a huge motivation.

The other 30% are mainly retirees looking for a well-built manageable-sized house on one level where they can welcome family and friends for a communal weekend lunch in greenery around the pool.

Guru’Guay’s analysis

These are interesting properties for snowbirds, frequent flyers and retirees looking for a quiet life. Imagine flying in and being just five minutes drive home (Uruguay’s international airport is pretty boutique—there are currently just twenty flights total a day. Pre-pandemic there were forty, so it’s never busy). 

I don’t love the gated aspect but for travelling house owners, it means that you can just lock the door at the end of your stay and know that when you return everything will be exactly as you left it. Plus maintenance is taken care of. 

You do need a car as public transport hasn’t arrived there yet, though the communities (or barrios as they are known) provide an hourly shuttle service into Carrasco with connections into Montevideo. 

Who this is not for

This is the closest that Uruguay has to the suburbs in the US. If that’s not your cup of tea, neither is this. If you want to walk everywhere or use public transport, this is not for you. You really need to own a car. For that reason, it’s probably not a great fit for families with teens.

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Find all articles and the videos about “Real Estate in Uruguay | I’m Buying A New Build” collected at www.guruguay.com/newbuild

TRANSPARENCY CHECK Balsa & Asociados will be sponsoring a series on the attractions of Canelones, the department where they are based, produced by Guru’Guay. Guru’Guay founder, Karen and her family are using their own funds to buy a property in La Juana. Guru’Guay’s opinions are always our own. Karen will be posting regular updates about her experience buying the new build on YouTube. Subscribe to never miss an update.

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