Connect with us

Vacation

House Hunting in Chile: A Bright, Modern Villa in the Andes for $1.3 Million

Published

on

This modern six-bedroom house is on a residential street in Lo Barnechea, an upscale commune on the outskirts of the Santiago metropolitan region, in central Chile.

The 3,445-square-foot concrete house was built in 2005 on a terraced quarter-acre lot, with floor-to-ceiling windows designed to maximize views of the Andes mountain range from many of the rooms, as well as from the spacious patio and two-level garden.

The front entry hall leads to a door that opens to the patio and garden. An office with access to the garden is on the right, and the living room, dining room and kitchen are on the left. The living room, with Brazilian hardwood floors, is separated from the adjoining dining room by a few steps and a low stone wall with a fireplace. Both rooms look out to the garden, the L-shaped pool and the mountains beyond through floor-to-ceiling windows, as does the office. A half bath for guests is near the entrance.

The spacious kitchen — which opens onto a courtyard leading to the home’s three parking spaces, as well as to the entrance hall and a bright, airy passage to the dining room — has marble counters, a center island and an adjacent room for laundry and storage. Beyond the laundry room are two staff bedrooms and a staff bathroom.

An open wood staircase near the entrance ascends to the second floor, which has four bedrooms, each with mountain views. The main bedroom suite has a walk-in closet and doors to a terrace overlooking the garden. The other three bedrooms share two bathrooms.

The house has a security system and radiant heating. Stepping down from the covered rear patio, the landscaped garden has a flat lawn, and the pool occupies the property’s third and lowest tier.

Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, with about 6.7 million residents, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. The Lo Barnechea commune, in the northeast corner of the city, sits at the feet of the Andes and offers skiing, horseback riding, and hiking at Cerro del Medio Park. Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is about 25 miles west.

Chile’s residential real estate market has seen years of steady growth stall recently, first with a wave of protests over inequality that turned violent in late 2019, then with the coronavirus pandemic.

Yuval Ben Haym, the regional director of RE/MAX Chile, said Chile is now in the midst of a buyer’s market. Citing RE/MAX data, he estimated that prices across Santiago have fallen about of 3 to 4 percent since early 2019, though he noted that a government stimulus allowing buyers to tap pensions for real estate purchases has helped stabilize the market.

Developers of new homes are lowering prices to compete for buyers as a result of the pandemic, which halted construction for months, he said: “Developers need speed of sales to be profitable as they have high-interest loans.”

A recent report by the research division of Yapo.cl, an online marketplace, found that in the second quarter of 2020, there were 46 percent fewer houses and 35 percent fewer apartments for sale across Chile (where the market is heavily weighted by the greater Santiago area), compared with the same period in 2019. Demand also dropped from the first quarter of the year: 29 percent for houses and 35 percent for apartments, compared to the first quarter of this year.

Another report on the second quarter of 2020 by Portalinmobiliario, a Chilean real estate portal, found similar reductions in supply across Santiago, but also showed a slight uptick in prices, with apartments up over 4 percent and houses up around 3 percent. The average price for two-bedroom apartments across the region in the second quarter were highest in the commune of Vitacura (a neighbor to Lo Barnechea), at 10,762 UF ($393,800), and lowest in Puente Alto, in Santiago’s southeast corner, at 1,270 UF ($46,500).

(Chile uses the Chilean peso, but the real estate market uses the UF, “an indexed type of noncirculating currency which adjusts daily and automatically for inflation so that value remains constant,” said Macarena Laso Aguirre, a partner at the Santiago law firm Morales & Besa, in an email.)

Mr. Ben Haym said the pandemic has shaken up the market, though he expects an imminent course correction. “If they can, people are waiting to see how things turn out before they buy, with this level of demand reduced the prices reduced too,” he said. “I’m sure the next couple of months are going to be compensating for the reduction that we saw in the last couple of months because of the coronavirus.”

(As of Sept. 29, Chile had reported 461,300 cases of Covid-19 — a much higher rate per capita than neighboring Bolivia and Argentina, and higher even than Brazil’s — and 12,725 deaths, according to The New York Times’s coronavirus map.)

Santiago’s high-end market has been stable for decades, said Luis Novoa, the CEO of Chile Sotheby’s International Realty. He estimated the average asking price among properties with his agency is about $800,000, or $330 a square foot.

The social unrest that erupted last fall initially led to an increase in supply of high-end properties, as affluent homeowners decided to sell vacation homes, but that trend has slowed, Mr. Novoa said. Now buyers are awaiting the results of a coming national referendum in October. Investors, though, have started to jump on properties with price cuts, and some are buying sight unseen. These conditions are also emboldening high-end buyers to offer well below asking price.

Across Chile, luxury prices range between $750,000 for a family villa in Santiago to $20 million for select properties in Patagonia, said Martin Rivera Saez, the director of Alto Andes, a luxury agency based in Santiago. But there has been a shift in what is deemed to be luxury, he added. In the past, buyers wanted “large mansions with luxurious finishes, located in areas with privileged views.” A few years ago, the “concept began to change,” and buyers began to seek “less ostentatious” apartments that are easier to maintain.

Because land for new developments is scarce, “we have seen a vertical densification,” with large single-family properties being replaced by high-end condominiums with seven to 10 dwellings, Mr. Novoa said. Meanwhile, areas “with large spaces and better quality of life” are increasingly in demand with the upper middle class.

For example, Mr. Rivera said the pandemic has accelerated interest in the country’s southern region, with his firm seeing a 40 percent spike in transactions there between March and September, compared to the same period last year.

About 95 percent of buyers in Santiago, as in Chile in general, are Chilean, Mr. Rivera said. Foreigners who move to Santiago are typically relocating with jobs in the mining, forestry, agriculture or fishing sectors, and they tend to come from China, Spain, Italy, the U.S., Australia and Britain.

Mr. Novoa said that the exchange rate makes it a good time for foreigners paying in dollars to buy in Chile. “However," he said, “we have not seen changes in the flow of foreign buyers.”

Buyers in the south include Chinese investors and Chilean entrepreneurs or start-up employees who are buying primary residences, Mr. Rivera said, many searching for good schools and “a better quality of life.” The growth of e-commerce and remote work has also fueled this movement away from Santiago.

Most foreigners can purchase real estate in Chile without restriction, although citizens of neighboring countries are prohibited from buying in areas near international borders, said Ms. Laso, the partner at Morales & Besa. Transactions are handled by notaries. Attorneys’ fees vary based on the transaction’s complexity. For a straightforward title review and purchase deed draft, the fee should not exceed 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price.

Prices and loans are set in UF but paid in pesos according to the UF rate on the date of payment. “This means that, effectively, the inflation risk is passed to the buyer/debtor of a property,” Ms. Laso wrote.

  • Visiting Chile: chile.travel/en

  • Santiago tourism: chile.travel/en

  • Chile government: gob.cl/en

Spanish; Chilean peso (1 CLP = $0.0013)

Closing costs when a home is bought with a mortgage are between 0.7 and 1.2 percent of the purchase price, not including the commission and attorney fees, Ms. Laso said. Costs are lower if a purchase is paid in cash.

Commission, split between the buyer and seller, is typically 4 percent of the purchase price, and there is a 19 percent value-added tax levied on that commission.

“If no realtor is involved, which is fairly common, no commission is paid,” Ms. Laso wrote.

María Angélica Errázuriz Gubbins, Chile Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-56-2-3224-4491; sothebysrealty.com

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

By: Roxana Popescu
Title: House Hunting in Chile: A Bright, Modern Villa in the Andes for $1.3 Million
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/realestate/santiago-chile-house-hunting.html
Published Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 13:30:24 +0000

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Vacation

Cruise Ship Rescues 24 People From Sinking Boat Off Florida Coast

Published

on

By

The Carnival Sensation was sailing in international waters off the Florida coast on Saturday when crew members spotted a crowded 36-foot boat that appeared to be in distress.

The ship maneuvered alongside the boat and crew members handed over blankets, life jackets, food and water to the 24 people onboard the smaller vessel, including two children, according to the Carnival Cruise Line.

As it floated 37 miles off the coast of Palm Beach, the boat began to take on water. The passengers were quickly ushered aboard the cruise ship through a side hatch that is typically used in port to load supplies via a gangway. The boat sank after the rescue, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

The rescued passengers were the first guests to board the cruise ship in months, Carnival said. They were evaluated by the cruise ship’s medical staff and quarantined away from crew members, the cruise line said. They were picked up by the Coast Guard after about six hours, the spokeswoman said.

The rescued boat was coming from Freeport, Bahamas, said Nicole J. Groll, the Coast Guard spokeswoman. It was not clear where the boat was headed, she said, nor was it clear what had happened to the boat that caused it to sink.

“The disabled vessel sank and actions are currently being taken to coordinate the transfer of the individuals ashore,” Ms. Groll said in a statement Monday.

The $45 billion global cruise industry serves 20 million passengers in a typical year. But since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, ships have been roaming the seas for months without guests, staffed by skeleton crews. Operations have been suspended until Oct. 31, and some lines have canceled cruises into next year.

Carnival operates 23 ships. While they are idle, they maintain a “minimum nonoperational manning status,” according to a spokesman. That means they are staffed by 75 to 100 crew members, including marine engineers, technicians and officers, as well as housekeeping, culinary and other staff members.

Occasionally, they perform rescues, the spokesman said. In July, the Carnival Legend responded to a call for help from a boat that had run out of fuel off the coast of the Bahamas. The Legend gave the boaters 25 gallons of gas to help them make their way back to Jacksonville, Fla.

Ships are obligated under maritime law to respond to vessels in distress, said Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime lawyer.

The duty to rescue a derelict vessel falls to a ship’s captain, who “has both a moral and a legal obligation to help,” he said.

There are typically three or four such rescues every year, some of which involve migrants, Mr. Walker said.

“Often there is no true ‘rescue’ of foreign immigrants at sea because the cruise ship will call the U.S.C.G. who will pick them up and then return them to their home countries,” Mr. Walker said in an email, referring to the Coast Guard. “It is not so much a ‘rescue’ but an ‘interception’ at sea.”

In some cases, he said, a ship’s captain or the captain’s employer could face criminal charges for ignoring a cry for help.

In 2012, Princess Cruises was sued after one of its cruise ships, the Star Princess, failed to help a disabled fishing boat that had been adrift for days when it was spotted by crew members and passengers. Two of the people on the fishing boat died.

The cruise industry has come under fire during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly early in the outbreak as passengers and crew members were trapped aboard ships where the virus spread rapidly.

In February, more than 700 passengers were infected on the Diamond Princess as the ship idled off the coast of Japan. Nine of the infected passengers died.

In August, the cruise industry voluntarily suspended operations until Oct. 31, following the extension of a no-sail order for cruise ships through Sept. 30 issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency noted that from March to July there had been nearly 3,000 suspected and confirmed coronavirus cases and 34 deaths on cruise ships in U.S. waters.

The Carnival Corporation, which operates Carnival, Princess and other brands and serves roughly 50 percent of the global cruise market, has dealt with outbreaks on several of its ships, including Holland America’s Zaandam, which tried to unload sick passengers in Florida in April. Last week, Carnival Cruise Line canceled several cruises that were scheduled for November and January.

By: Marie Fazio
Title: Cruise Ship Rescues 24 People From Sinking Boat Off Florida Coast
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/us/carnival-cruise-rescue.html
Published Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 22:51:45 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/2000-year-old-cat-etching-found-at-nazca-lines-site-in-peru/

Continue Reading

Vacation

2,000-Year-Old Cat Etching Found at Nazca Lines Site in Peru

Published

on

By

The image, stretching for 40 yards on a hillside in Peru, shows a creature with pointy ears, orb-like eyes and a long striped tail. It appears to be a cat lounging, as cats often do.

Archaeologists stumbled across the faded etching while remodeling a section of a UNESCO heritage site known as the Nazca Lines, Peru’s Ministry of Culture announced last week.

The catlike geoglyph — which experts say dates to 200 B.C. to 100 B.C. — is the latest discovery among the carvings of larger-than-life animals and plants previously found between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, in a desert plain about 250 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

“The discovery shows, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy of this site,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Nazca Lines were first discovered by a Peruvian aerial surveyor in 1927. Images of a hummingbird, a monkey and an orca were unearthed at the site. UNESCO has designated the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa a World Heritage Site since 1994.

The cat etching is believed to be older than any of the prehistoric geoglyphs previously unearthed at Nazca.

“It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the Nazca lines, told Efe, a Spanish news agency.

The designs were believed to have been created when ancient Peruvians scraped off a dark and rocky layer of earth, which contrasts with lighter-colored sand underneath. Researchers believe that the figures once served as travel markers.

Drone photography has led to several discoveries in recent years, Mr. Isla said. In 2019, researchers from Japan, aided by satellite photography and three-dimensional imaging, unearthed more than 140 new geoglyphs at the site.

Research and conservation work had continued at the site even during the coronavirus pandemic, when most tourist sites have been closed. Archaeologists and employees were working on the Mirador Natural, a lookout point in the protected site, when they began unearthing something intriguing. When they cleaned the mound, clear lines showing the sinuous body of a cat emerged.

“The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear because it is situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” the culture ministry said in a statement.

The authorities said that even a stray footprint could mar the fragile grounds, and have imposed strict rules against trespassing at the site. Before the pandemic shut down tours, visitors were permitted to view the lines and figures only from planes and lookout points.

But disturbances at the Nazca lines have occurred, drawing widespread condemnation.

In 2014, Greenpeace activists left shoe marks near a large hummingbird design when they placed a sign that promoted renewable energy, Peruvian officials said.

“You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years,” Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian official and archaeologist, told The Guardian at the time. “And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all.”

In 2018, a truck driver was arrested after intentionally driving his tractor-trailer across three lines of geoglyphs.

Even as Peru works to preserve its ancient sites, officials reopened Machu Picchu this month for one lucky tourist after he became stranded during the pandemic and waited seven months to see the 16th-century Inca citadel.

By: Tiffany May
Title: 2,000-Year-Old Cat Etching Found at Nazca Lines Site in Peru
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/world/americas/peru-cat-nazca-lines-nasca.html
Published Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 08:48:43 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/a-30-mile-canoe-trip-through-alaskas-tongass-national-forest/

Continue Reading

Vacation

A 30-Mile Canoe Trip Through Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

Published

on

By


With my eyes closed, the scent of the forest is sharpened by the lack of visual distraction. I breathe in the musk of a stand of giant red cedar trees, which dominate the landscape, as the seemingly unending forest stretches to the mountain-lined horizon.

I grew up exploring the fringes of the Tongass National Forest, which sits just outside my backdoor in Juneau and stretches for hundreds of miles along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska and the North Pacific Ocean. Encompassing 16.7 million acres of land, the Tongass is both the largest national forest in America and the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. My earliest memories are instilled with its sights, sounds and smells.

Here on Prince of Wales Island, some 200 miles south of Juneau, I’m immersed in the same temperate rainforest that I came to know as a child. It feels both alien and familiar. I let the fragrant cedar smell wash over me for a few more moments before opening my eyes and shouldering my pack farther into the forest.

It’s late April 2019, and my traveling companion, Bjorn Dihle, and I are on a four-day, 30-mile excursion through the heart of Prince of Wales Island along the Honker Divide Canoe Route, the island’s longest trail. We have forgone the canoes and opted for packrafts due to their size and weight; they’re easier to schlep over logs and across the many short portages.

Because of the sluggish snow melt, our progress is slow. We weave through many shallow rocky sections, inevitably dragging, bouncing and scooching over rocks. Eventually we trudge through ice-cold water that covers our ankles and calves. The travel is unhurried; it allows us to appreciate our surroundings and take in the small lakes, streams and rivers.

Southeast Alaska is inseparable from the Tongass National Forest; they are one and the same, with the mountainous western edge of the North American continent giving way to the hundreds of islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago. The landscape is blanketed with Western hemlock, red and yellow cedars, and Sitka spruce.

On the second evening, we opt not to cram into a small tent. Instead, we spoil ourselves with the roof and bunks of a forest service cabin on Honker Lake. The fireplace is small, but it’s more than adequate to ward off the evening frost, and it infuses the air with the pungent and luxurious smell of cedar kindling and burning logs.

Sitting just outside the cabin at dusk, we hear the namesake of the lake and cabin — the Honker, or Canada goose — on the wing, cackling by the hundred on their migration north.

Canada geese use the lakes and streams along the Honker Divide as stopovers to their summer nesting and breeding grounds. Every day from dawn to dusk we see and hear them overhead as we paddle and hike, a harbinger of the long days of summer.

It’s awe-inspiring to watch the birds, but the crick in my neck from gazing skyward draws me back to earth and to the forest itself.

Prince of Wales Island is slightly larger than the state of Delaware. It’s home to many of the animal species found throughout the Tongass — moose, black and brown bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, beaver and porcupine. We’re also on the lookout for a subspecies of northern flying squirrel and Alexander Archipelago wolf.

Sixty years ago, the forest that surrounds us was alive not with the sounds of cackling geese but with the whir of chainsaws and all the machinations of modern industrial logging. Visually, the most defining characteristics of the island are the inescapable clearcuts that checkerboard the lowlands and mountainsides.

Logging still exists on the island, on a smaller and more sustainable scale. But earlier this year, the Trump Administration, with the encouragement of successive Alaska governors and congressional delegations, finalized plans to open about nine million acres of the Tongass National Forest to logging and road construction — by exempting the area from protections provided by a Clinton-era policy known as the roadless rule, which banned logging and road construction in much of the national forest system.

Supporters of the plan point to its economic potential. But the removal of the rule — which drew overwhelmingly negative reactions when it was opened for public comment — could irreparably change the Honker Divide watershed and endanger the oldest living things in the forest.

As Bjorn and I push through thickets of devil’s club and trundle over chest-high nurse logs, the trees seem to grow before our eyes. The forest stands as a witness to the passage of time, and a nearby stream as a lifeline to the past. The saplings at the confluence of the stream mark the present, while the giant spruce and hemlock at its source likely predate the European colonization of the Americas — so that the only humans who could have witnessed the birth of this stand of trees are the area’s Tlingit and Haida peoples.

These trees are among the most ancient in the vast expanse of the Tongass. It may also be among the most imperiled by the abrogation of the 2001 roadless rule. We ponder their immeasurable value, and try to reckon with the thought of them as a simple commodity, as a resource to be extracted.

After meandering through the stand of old growth, we are forced to confront the timeline of our trip — and the arrival, the next day, of our floatplane. We retreat into the shadows of the forest, heading back toward the present with every step. Our boats are waiting for us, and we set off to reach the end of the canoe route at the sleepy former logging town of Thorne Bay.

By: Christopher Miller
Title: A 30-Mile Canoe Trip Through Alaska’s Tongass National Forest
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/travel/tongass-national-forest-alaska.html
Published Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:00:30 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://vistagaze.com/vacation/got-crystals-gem-mining-could-be-your-full-time-job/

Continue Reading

Tags

Trending