Friday, September 16, 2011
Next month, the Pathfinder team will gather in a meeting room overlooking a walled garden in a quiet corner of an Irish country estate. If you were a fly on the wall, you’d see PPD everywhere. It will be pasted across white boards....scribbled in notepads…and spelled out on large sheets of paper spread across the table.
Dozens of scouting trips have come and gone since our last Pathfinder get-together. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on research and travel. We have a lot of information and experiences to share. Sometimes too much. That’s why we need PPD - our holy trinity of scouting - to focus our brainstorming sessions.
We look for Places of outstanding natural beauty that have remained undiscovered or undervalued. Or a place where something...like a new highway for example...is set to make a location more accessible, and therefore more desirable…which makes real estate there more valuable.
Then we drill down to find a unique Project that has some special attributes. This special attribute could be a skilled development team...or a natural attribute like the best beach.
Finally, there has to be a special Deal for readers of these dispatches. A discount. Interest-free financing or really strong early-in pricing.
La Serena Golf is a project that nails each leg of the PPD.
Waves crash from the blue sea onto wide, white sands. Rolling dunes separate the beach from gently rolling hills. Just inland from the ocean, the protected Laguna de Rocha is a nature lover’s and boater’s paradise, with its 16,500 hectares of pristine wilderness.
This part of Uruguay’s unspoiled coast hosts the country’s best beaches, with vast stretches of unspoiled sand bordering deep, blue waters. In fact, the beaches here are even nicer than in nearby Punta del Este…where the jet set has been known to pay more than $7 million for a condo.
The cheerful and energetic La Paloma is the area’s biggest beach town, while the upmarket La Pedrera has a quieter and more genteel ambiance. Tiny Cabo Polonia is famous for its shifting sand dunes, and bohemian residents.
Rocha is a special place…a great place to visit and spend time.
But it’s also a place with incredible opportunity.
Rocha is the province that stretches east from Punta del Este to the border with Brazil. As development continues to move steadily up the coast from Punta, I expect real estate prices will rise.
This stretch of coast is in the sights of a handful of international developers. Argentina’s most prominent developer, Eduardo Constantini, is planning a $350-million project here. The founder of clothing chains Mango and Etiqueta Negra revealed in a magazine interview that he has plans for a development in Rocha, too.
The big driver in Uruguay is the “soya dollar.??? That is, the agro-wealth that’s been created within Uruguay, as well as neighboring Brazil and Argentina. Also fueling the fire, Uruguay’s tourism numbers are up an astonishing 40% as of January 2011, bringing more people to the scene.
The buyers from neighboring countries are here in force…from Brazil because it’s booming… and from Argentina, because there’s an election looming and inflation is driving prices up. In the region, Uruguay is the most desirable destination for those looking to invest safely.
Rocha is a place that’s on my radar.
It’s important to understand what makes the market here tick. This particular area is very popular with wealthy Argentineans. They can be particular in their tastes. A place or a project can become very fashionable…and buyers will flood in. This can be led by an influential person or group. They get their other influential friends in from the get-go and start a trend.
The developer Daniel Oks is just such a person who leads trends…the kind that people watch.
Daniel was a lead economist for the World Bank, based in Buenos Aires. He is well connected.
Daniel is the developer of La Serena Golf, a project close to one of the best beaches in Rocha and the Laguna de Rocha. The little beach towns of La Paloma and La Pedrera are close by. The surrounding landscape is pastoral…with meadows, small farms, and pine forests.
Residents in La Serena will enjoy golf and tennis within the gates of their community. The project will have the first golf course in Rocha. Around 55% of the land will be preserved as green space. Seven lakes will dot the project, adding to the relaxed country feel of the property.
La Serena Golf is Daniel’s second project in this location. His real estate development track record is on full view in glossy books on the coffee tables of Argentina’s wealthy. His previous project in Uruguay includes some of the region’s most photographed, high-end, and architecturally unique homes. He has proven his capacity to attract the right clientele.
This second project of Daniel’s will be special, too.
Half acre lots here start at $31,900.That same half-acre could cost up to $250,000 in the Punta del Este area. The Rocha market is overlooked and undervalued right now. Buyers tended to focus on Punta del Este if they wanted a property close to the beach in Uruguay. They simply didn't consider other options. But Punta's high pricing is pushing many buyers into looking elsewhere. Once they do, they'll realize that not only will their real estate dollars go further in Rocha, but that this area also offers more upside potential.
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