With Capital Trapped in Venezuela, Investors Look to Real Estate to Protect Value

Rather than the inflation-prone local currency


These are hard times for Venezuela. The country is dealing with a lack of toilet paper, an oil crisis and political mayhem. But there is one market that is thriving: real estate.

U.S. companies, like satellite-television star DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), cosmetics giant Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) and insurance company Marsh Inc. (NYSE:MMC) are among those who have been snapping up buildings in the South American country.

The reason behind this real estate gold rush is less romantic than the idea of the search for that perfect apartment. A Venezuelan ban on money leaving the country has stuck foreign companies with no way to get their earnings home, according to the Wall Street Journal. As a result, real estate is the safest place to park their money in a country with accelerating inflation and the threat of currency devaluation.