Small farms in Uruguay’s countryside now account for half of all new construction permit requests in the southeast coastal department surrounding Punta del Este, according to Maldonado tourism data.
Between 2007 and 2012, Maldonado authorities approved 3 million square meters of new residential construction of which 1.89 million square meters or 63% were single-family homes, and 50% of those homes were small farms or chacras with acreage being built in the quiet countryside.
While many foreign investors are first drawn to the area for Uruguay’s stability and quality of life, a closer examination of coastal real estate prices and a budding romance with grapes and olives are stoking the trend. Buying and building a 4-bedroom chacra even 1 or 2 kilometers inland can cost a 40-60% less than the cost of a small oceanside lot in Jose Ignacio or a high-rise condominium in Punta del Este.
In addition to much lower land costs, agribusiness is now booming in Maldonado thanks to the number of small farm owners planting olive trees and vineyards on their properties. Tourism officials say the total area of Maldonado countryside planted with olives is now 2,700 hectares, while Maldonado vineyards are producing and exporting more high-end Tannat, Merlot and Syrah. (Full Story in Spanish)
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