I’m glad to be back in the First World. I’m not talking about Europe or the U.S., but rather one of South America’s premier cities. The capital of Chile, Santiago is the lively and pulsing nerve center for a country that enjoys a reputation of having Latin America’s strongest economy, one of the lowest levels of corruption, and highest standard of living.
Since my last visit in 2002, huge infrastructure projects have been completed in record time, leaving the city with a set of fast and efficient freeway tunnels, as well as an ever-expanding metro subway service, both of which would be the envy of any modern capital city in the world.
The housing market is booming here, too–new credit policies mean that Chileans can now get a mortgage to buy a second home, fueling a countrywide second-home market.
On my last visit I enjoyed a stay in El Centro (the central historic district) and I still find that area pretty hard to beat. Nevertheless, I wanted to experience a new sector in a city that’s almost overwhelming in the size and diversity of its options.
Las Condes is to many in Santiago the number one sector for upscale in-town living.
Everything here is new, clean, and modern, from the hip sidewalk cafés that line the streets to its fine restaurants and bistros. The parks of Las Condes are spotlessly well maintained, the neighborhoods are quiet and tasteful, and the new underground metro system will whisk you to the heart of the city in under 10 minutes for about 60 cents.
This is not the cheapest area of the capital. Real estate, restaurants, hotels, and even groceries, are all more expensive than elsewhere in the city.
A two-bedroom apartment in central Santiago can still be found for as little as $25,000; in the exclusive Las Condes or El Bosque areas, you’ll need twice that amount to get started.
For a moderately-priced example, I saw a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment of 968 square feet, with a nice view to the mountains, asking $63,600.
But many people come to Las Condes to enjoy the city’s finest properties in its finest neighborhood. For this reason, I took a look at a couple of top-end apartments.
The first was a huge 3,228-square-footer–an area that didn’t even include the large balcony draped with plants and small trees. In the El Bosque area, this property has an asking price of $505,000.
Right next door (and a few feet further back from the plaza) there was another apartment almost as nice, but smaller–1,800 square feet for $243,000.
I saw these properties through Alejandro Jaime of Alejandro Jaime Propiedades. His office is in Las Condes; e-mail: email@example.com; website: http://www.procasa.cl.
P.S. Much as I love Santiago, I came to Chile to take a look at the properties on the Pacific coast. Why? From Chile, the closest First World Pacific coastline is in California…and I’d like to see how they compare. Watch this space…