Argentina

Argentina's Dollar Restrictions Slam Real Estate Market

Home purchases are traditionally made in American currency

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In a region where booming real estate markets have governments from Chile to Brazil to Colombia warning of potential property bubbles, Argentina stands out as a bust.

Two years after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner clamped down on Argentines' purchase of dollars, the currency of choice for real-estate transactions, the housing industry is grinding to a halt. While prices soared to records in Sanhattan, a high-end strip in Santiago, Rio de Janeiro and Medellin, Colombia, in Buenos Aires they dropped an average 1.2 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, the first decline in data that goes back to 2005.

"The main issue in Argentina is that the real estate market has historically been transacted in dollars so when you make it impossible for people to source dollars liquidity gets disrupted," said Bret Rosen, managing director of research at Jamestown Properties LLC in New York.

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