A few weeks ago Karen Higgs, creator of Guru’Guay, wrote an article called “In a pandemic, there’s no place I’d rather be than here in Uruguay”. It hit a spot and a translation in Spanish by a local news portal went totally viral.
A lot of foreigners living here wrote to say how grateful they were that she’d put into words their exact same feelings. And worldwide, it looks like people who have had Uruguay on their radar, in the last few weeks have decided it may finally be time to make that move.
Quarantine has been voluntary in Uruguay since the first cases of Coronavirus were announced. Unfortunately there have been 17 deaths. But that’s still a low number compared to other small nations. In New Zealand, which is being cited in the English-language news all the time, they’ve had almost 1500 cases and lockdown has been mandatory. Here in Uruguay we’ve had around 700 cases total (and we’re testing now at 1000 a day)—less than half.
In the video, Karen talks to realtors Ralph Haverkate and Bettina Waldraff of Team Haverkate. Ralph and Bettina are Swiss. They moved to Uruguay after living for almost 20 years in California. Nowadays they live in Punta del Este, Uruguay’s biggest resort city, on the Atlantic coast.
She asks them how they’ve been affected personally by sheltering at home and how Uruguayans have responded in Punta del Este and surroundings.
Below are some highlights. Watch the video above to get the complete picture.
Why is Uruguay a safe and desirable country to live?
I think because we have a lot of space and nature. This is something that people are starting to realize, especially if you live in a city like New York, Paris, or London, how much closer you live together, the more problematic it is.
We have many clients that we haven’t heard from for years. They came down here, they liked Uruguay, but they put it on the back burner as somewhere to retire later on. And then, suddenly one email after the other, they are saying ‘we are rethinking this, we might do this faster’. They are looking at [properties] online, there are even people that are making offers sight unseen on properties because they want to do something.
I think there are more and more people starting to cherish the kind of lifestyle we still have down here. We have good infrastructure and it’s a safe country. We don’t have big natural catastrophes like volcanoes and earthquakes. They call it the little Switzerland of South America and for me, being from Switzerland originally, it really has that feel.
I also think what happened recently is that Lacalle Pou, our new centre-right government, came with this incentive plan that is similar to what Portugal did for years. They propose to make it much easier and tax-free to move down here. That’s another positive plus for a lot foreigners.
Is this a good moment to buy property in Uruguay?
And finally, Karen asks if this is a good moment to buy property in Uruguay.
I would say so, yes! Because pricing has come down quite a bit. Even now we see lots of owners that are lowering their prices. You can get really good deals right now.
Yes, I think it’s a really good moment. And even, I think, probably in the first few months when the borders are reopened and people are able to come here, you will find some very good deals. That can be anywhere from an apartment in Punta del Este, or a small “chacra” [farmhouse] in Pueblo Eden or the Garzón area, around 5 to 10 hectares, or even a beach house in La Barra, Manantiales or José Ignacio.
We have a lot of Argentinian property owners in our area and if they need money, then they’re going to sell their properties for really good prices.
More information about Uruguay
Moving to Uruguay Must-read articles and recommended professionals to work with, including Team Haverkate
Discover Uruguay’ Join this Guru’Guay moderated Facebook group for research and support (make sure answer the three questions, it’s our filtering mechanism for serious members)
The latest on the pandemic in Uruguay
Jan 10 2023 The Uruguay government declared the end of the health emergency on April 1 2022 after 752 days. 82% of the population has received at least two shots.