Will the election increase expatrism?

Ries

Registered
I am curious what you are talking about when you say the cost of furnishings in BsAs is more than the USA-
I suppose, if you are talking about the cheapest, cardboard and sawdust stuff from Ikea, you can get it a bit cheaper in the US- but EASY does sell the same made in China and eastern europe knocktogether stuff, and it is still very cheap there.

But for decent furniture, Buenos Aires is a wonderland- you just buy used, and antique. I have been buying 30 to 100 year old pieces at the Pulgas, and at various antique stores, that are solid wood, incredibly well made, and cheaper than mass market chinese stuff is at US chain furniture stores. Art deco, Art Noveau, hand carved french provincial stuff, craftsman inspired solid oak pieces with marble tops- these pieces are very reasonable in BsAs.
From the 1880's thru the second world war, thousands of highly skilled european craftsmen came here, and made stuff- and its all still here- crystal chandeliers are a better deal, with more selection, than any other city on earth.

And similarly, I think the prices for custom made leather furniture- sofas and chairs- are some of the best in the world.
USA mass market leather furniture is all from China, and they use Pig, not Cow leather- so the leather sofa's in the USA are coarser, cruder pieces, the designs are heavy handed and the prices for the most generic stuff start where custom costs in BsAs, and then go way up from there.
Its easily possible to spend ten grand, in dollars, on a quality leather sofa in the USA. Whereas you can pick your style and hide, and have one made here for a grand, maybe $1500 if you go all out.

I have been finding really great sixties stuff as well, dirt cheap- art glass, stainless sputknik styles of tables and chairs, and other things that, in US vintage furniture stores, would be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

The Pulgas is your friend, when it comes to furniture- and there are a couple of multi floor warehouse style places up on Rividavia, that have HUNDREDS of any given piece of furniture, a bit more expensive than the Pulgas, but still dirt cheap by international prices.

The thing I find is- if you try to live in Buenos Aires in exactly the same way, buying exactly the same things, that you would in NYC or London, of course its going to be expensive and frustrating- you need to adapt to what is available here, locally made and just as interesting in its own way.
 

citygirl

Registered
I'm not talking about specific furniture pieces (and I agree you can find great deals) but in general, applicances are *much* more expensive here than in the US (refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, washing machines, etc). Even standard pieces like bedding, dishware, sheets, flatware, etc. are more expensive.
And yes, there are great pieces to be found here when it comes to furniture. But in general, I still say that in the mid-range furniture (no, not Ikea), prices are more than in the US. And I do think the quality is less.
My point is that (and the impartial research done by Mercer, etc supports it) is that Buenos Aires IS more expensive than most mid-level US cities.
I love Argentina. There is a reason I've chosen to be there & the plusses outweigh the negatives for me. However, it's important to be realistic. I wouldn't be living here if I wasn't earning in dollars. Argentina is nowhere near the bargain it was 3 (actually closer to 4) years ago when I came here for the first time. And people who are coming here looking for hte deals that were available in '03, '04, '05 are going to be unpleasantly surprised.
 

Ries

Registered
I would agree with most of your points.

I think people who come to Buenos Aires expecting CHEAP are going to be disappointed.
It is a large, complicated, and interesting city, with great architecture, culture, and history, smart and well educated people, and has a lot going on.

But it is climbing back towards being priced equivalently to other cities like it around the world.
Remember that when the peso was equivalent to the dollar, one to one, 20 or so years ago, BsAs was considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world- certainly by far the most expensive in South America.

The economic situation makes it very difficult to get a job, especially compared to the US- I dont know about europe, as I have never tried to get work there.
I, too, make my money in dollars, and much prefer to spend em in pesos.
And for the things I am interested in, particularly arts, crafts and architecture of the first half of the 20th century, Buenos Aires is a gem.

You have to appreciate it for what it is, not for what you hope it might be.

It is not a cheap party city, although for various weird economic reasons, it might have been for a couple of years, the way Prague was in the mid 90's, or New Orleans was ten years before Katrina.

I just bought a fridge in Palermo, and a month or two later, a fridge from Sears in Washington State- and the prices and quality, frankly, were not that different. In the USA, as usual, you get everything BIGGER. But Sears quality and price are not what they used to be- the absolute cheapest fridge I could find was $500Us/$1500 pesos, and it is not as nice as the one I bought at Fra Vega for the slightly more.
If you go online and look, the complaints about the quality of any fridge sold in the USA for under a grand are many.

What mid price furniture are you looking for?
My wife is an incredible shopper, and she has scoured literally tens of stores and antique shops in BsAs, and knows where to find all kinds of things.
Mostly, she likes vintage, its true- but the quality is better, and the prices are very low by US standards.
 

soulskier

Veteran
Since we are talking about price of living, I still think Argentina is much cheaper than back home the day to day things, like utilities, gas, food, insurance, etc, as I posted about earlier.
I think we all agree that to do it right, earning dollars (or Euros or Pounds) and living on pesos is the way to go. My wife and I feel really fotunate we have that option, and feel bad for the common Argie that does not.
I am also starting to think Bariloche (sorry, we don't have our own expat community, so I am hijacking yours) might be cheaper the BA these days, which I don't think was the case a couple years ago.
 

sergio

Registered
Living here as latter day "colonials" with incomes in dollars/pounds/euros can be quite comfortable though not nearly so grand as it was only two years ago. The government has budgeted much less for subsidies next year, so expect substantial increases in gas, water, electricity and transport. Inflation will continue at around 30%, maybe worse. The party is going to end before too long, let's face it. Someone referred to BA's being an expensive city when the peso was pegged to the peso "20 years ago". That was just 7 years ago! Prices, in dollar terms, were generally lower then than now -- the standard cup of coffee was $1,5 pesos for example!
 

JG

Veteran
Ive never been to a city that permits this level of street pollution. Streets choked in fumes, tailpipes pointed at the sidewalks, thick clouds of swirling pollution on Santa Fe, etc. The cars roar, the busses can scream like a jet airplane engine. Yeah, some of the architecture is nice, but with rocketing prices, including the basics to live, and this endless noise, pollution, broken sidewalks, and public transportation that is busting at the seems at all hours, this is a very unpleasant city to live in. I find nothing charming about it or the people whom i find the most dreary, sad, paranoid and freaked out ive ever met.
Argentinians flee their shores every chance they can (see BBC Mundo yesterday) and this flight will far far exceed any expat arrival here in argentina.
well at least i wasnt born here. Thanks mom and dad.
 

citygirl

Registered
It will be interesting to me to see the juxtaposition between increasing costs & how this affects tourism & more specifically expatriatism.
I think for many people there was a trade-off between the lower costs and the lower services. So it's bearable to deal with the cracked sidewalks, intermittent strikes, endless burecratic headaches, spotty services, internet outages, etc because it is/was a bargain cost-wise and there were lots of opportunities for people to start their own businesses, etc. As one of my friends often says "That makes this possible."
However, if it continues to increase in costs to be comparable to other major cities around the world (Paris, New York, London, etc) - would the average expat consider BsAs? I can only speak for myself & say probably not. I have lived in NYC and in Paris & spent some time in the UK and I think Argentina hands-down is one of the most aggravating places to live in in terms of getting anything done quickly and efficiently. If the city continues to increase in price, there would have to be a corresponding increase in services, etc offered IMO.
 

Fettucini

Active Member
City girl it sounds like you don't like living in Buenos Aires. I was like that for my first year living here always complaining that things didn't work they way i wanted them to. I used to complain to my Argentinean girlfriend all the time about how BA was all so inefficient and not surprisingly she'd get very annoyed with me! I think though now I'm fine with it after a couple of years as have got used to it, and moved to one of the quietest streets in Buenos Aires (from living previously in the city center) so I am no longer grinding my teeth about hecticness. Either that or i have surpressed myself so much that i am now numb to the pain of inefficiency!
 
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