Renting Vs Buying In Ba & Best Barrio For My Budget

Hi everyone, I was wondering if you could share your opinions on whether you feel it's better to rent or buy a flat/house in BA. For those of you who have been in BA for quite a while (e.g. more than a few years), do you own a property or are you still renting? Why?

We'll move to Argentina in a few months and we'll probably rent somewhere for a few months or a year before we decide if/where to buy. Is this generally the path that most people take?

Also a question on budget/barrio. When I was last in BA I spent half my time in Palermo (near Pl. Italia) and half in Monserrat. I enjoyed both but whilst I appreciated the relative peace of Palermo I preferred being (both literally and figuratively) in the middle of things in Monserrat. The downside is that there seemed to be more petty crime in the city centre than in Palermo. Are there any suggestions regarding which barrios we should look out for that are similar to Palermo or Monserrat?

Budget-wise we're not strictly constrained but we'd be looking at about 15-25k pesos for rent, or if we were to buy a place, around 8-10 million. Ideally we'd like a proper house with a garden but I realise that's nearly impossible in the city centre.

Hi Matt. I'm sure you will bet lots of suggestions on barrios, ranging all over the map, from people much more experienced than me, but here is my 2 cents. For your budget, you shouldn't have any problem finding something in any neighborhood in the city, however proper house with a garden may be difficult - your best bet for that type of situation is one of the northern suburbs (Vicente Lopez, Olivos, Martinez, San Isidro), which are great (especially if you have kids), but a different vibe and perhaps not what you want if being in the middle of things is important. For us, we like Belgrano/Palermo/Las Canitas/Barrio Norte - partially because my wife is from BA and has always lived in Belgrano, but also because I think we veer towards the "relative peace" you mention above. While I like visiting other neighborhoods for dinner, walking, etc., being in the "middle of things" to live isn't something I wanted. As you point out, it is unlikely you will find a proper house with garden there as well - but you might find a pH with a garden, or large terrace. My "wants" were a terrace with a parrilla - I really like my outdoor space. While I would have liked a private pool as well, we were unable to find this in our budget (which was about the same as yours) with the other things we wanted.

Your idea on renting before you buy is highly recommended, for a variety of reasons. While you seem to have some experience in BA already, it's constantly changing, so getting a feel for how things are before you buy something is smart. I didn't take my own advice, but partially because I visit BA frequently, my wife is Argentine, and we have lots of family there - so I had a more defined area I was looking in. I ended up buying a pH in Las Canitas last year, and completed the transaction remotely (from NYC) - something I would not recommend. It was a difficult process, even with family members in BA who had my power of attorney. Bringing money into Argentina, even with the relaxed banking and monetary controls, is still a pain, and will cost you. You reference your buy price above in pesos (I'm assuming!) - however as you probably know, everything is done in dollars, and in cash. For purchases of the magnitude you reference, it takes a lot of coordination to pull off the purchase. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find a seller who is willing to receive some or all of the funds offshore - but my experience is that this is relatively rare. Being there, in BA, to coordinate and complete such a purchase is highly recommended. I was able to do it, but only with a lot of help from family in BA who I trust. A good Escribano is critical. A motivated seller also helps. You don't want to be running around BA with duffel bags full of money (something that my wife has done in the past!) to close on an apartment or house.

Anyway, good luck with your move and rental/purchase efforts!
My wife and I are in a similar situation as you. Like Stevied, my wife is Argentine as well having grown up in Recoletta. Everything he said seems pretty spot on from what we have found. In the end we decided to rent an apt short term through AirBnB for three months in Belgrano while we sort things out things for a purchase. The rental is a nice sized 2 bedroom apt in a nice area of Belgrano with a large terrace for $18K pesos per month. I hope this helps.
Good luck!