March 15, 2006            Issue #1 Vol. 1

In This Issue

Why/How to Buy Real Estate in Chile
Tastes of Chile

Why/How to Buy Real Estate in Chile

With no very low property taxes, free and clear titles, and constitutional property rights, owning real estate in Chile is not only a good investment but also increasingly alluring to expats from around the globe. Foreign ownership of land is not restricted and in fact Chile’s government offers incentives for a wide variety of real estate purchases including paybacks for labor and building costs. Chile has consistently been the fastest growing economy in the West and is considered to be the most stable democracy in Latin America.

Chile’s stunning natural beauty and varied topography is similar to that of California and 80% of the nation’s population lives in urban areas leaving vast undeveloped land available throughout Chile’s more than 750,000 square kilometers. Tourism is growing, leading to a trend in vacation rental properties and investors are seeing up to a 50% return in the first year in certain regions. Real estate opportunities exist in ranchland, farmland and coastal properties as well as the beautiful lake region popular with American and European investors.

Home styles in Chile range from traditional Spanish hacienda and colonial era buildings to wooden chalets, frame cottages and “fundos,” or ranch homes, built in a variety of styles. The country has a highly skilled labor force and the Chilean Chamber of Construction has 18 locations around Chile to assist in building projects. With nearly 6500 kilometers of coastline on the Pacific Ocean opportunities for owning waterfront real estate are plentiful. Currently prices range anywhere from a few thousand US dollars for undeveloped lots, into the millions for state of the art mansions in breathtaking settings.

Some reources for Buying Chilean Properties:

Craigslist - Santiago Listings of properties for sale, vacation rentals and apartments, most in English.

Mejores Datos - Although in Spanish, this Chilean online classifieds site lists homes and apartments for sell in each region.

A Taste of chile

Chile’s cuisine is reflective of the varied populations that inhabit the land and is quite unique while being robust and flavorful. The country’s long pacific coastline provides fresh seafood and Chile’s salmon farms and cattle ranches supply the base for many recipes. Corn, or “choclo,” is a main ingredient in everyday meals like “pastel de choclo,” a meat and corn pie baked with raisins, olives, cumin and topped with sugar.

In the temperate central region of Chile grapes, apricots, quince, melons and prickly pear grow in abundance alongside some unique fruits like “chirimoya,” or custard apple, “pepina dolce,” a cucumber like sweet fruit, and “lucuma,” or eggfruit. Onion and tomato salads accompany many dishes as do mashed “palta,” a small avocado used as a condiment. For a spicy addition to a meal “aji” or “aji pebre” are common hot sauces made of red or green chilies and a unique touch in Chilean cooking is to serve a dish “a lo pobre,” or with fried onions and an egg.

Some typical Chilean dishes include “congrio frito,” a lightly fried ocean fish, “humitas,” which is mashed corn steamed in corn husks, “parrilladas,” steak strips served with black bean sauces and “cazuela de res o pollo,” a delicious chicken soup. In the southern fjords a common meal is “curanto,” fish slow cooked in a pit for several days. Southerners also enjoy dishes made from seaweed and algae. Chile’s dessert menu includes a wide variety of pastries, crepes, crullers and scones, some topped with coconut, others filled with liquor. Beware the popular national drink “pisco sour,” which is distilled grape juice with lemon that packs a powerful punch.

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