How much does a parcel of rural/urban land for sale cost in Uruguay? Can foreigners buy land for farming, a new homestead, or building a cottage? What taxes will they pay? What is the procedure for land purchase? This article answers these questions, includes examples of listings, and offers recommendations.
The purchase of a developable land plot for subsequent sale is one of the fastest and most profitable ways to make money. However, to avoid disappointments, the buyer needs a sound strategy.
Expert advice based on the knowledge of the relevant laws, trends, forecasts can have a big impact on your plan’s feasibility. A well-rounded analysis of the market and your objectives will be the hallmark of your success.
We welcome you to discuss particular details of land purchase with our experts. Please write to our e-mail and book a private online consultation for free.
If your idea is to invest in land for development or farming wherever the tax burden is reasonable, bureaucracy is minimal and residency is easily obtained, you should consider the Uruguayan market.
Legislation in this South American jurisdiction offers tempting tax benefits. Besides, the algorithm for acquiring Uruguayan residency is transparent and reasonable. The local land market is attracting the growing attention of investors from around the world.
Uruguay’s appeal as a destination for land investors
Why are Uruguayan listings of land for sale worth your interest?
There are many reasons to invest in land in this country. Let us name some of them.
Jurisdiction with a high potential capacity. Uruguay (formally the Oriental Republic of Uruguay) is the third smallest South American country. It neighbors much larger states – Brazil and Argentina. Remarkably, Uruguay is a regional trade center showing impressive economic growth. Uruguay is ranked first on the continent in peace, democracy, freedoms, e-government, low corruption level. The country is politically and economically stable. It is one of the most important reasons why foreign investors choose Uruguay for buying high-quality farmland.
Landscapes. The terrain mostly comprises rolling plains and low hills, with fertile lowlands and narrow sandy and marshy plains on the Atlantic coast. The humid subtropical climate and the topography are favorable for the country’s farming and agricultural exports.
Transparent free market. The Uruguayan land market, especially in rural areas, is quite straightforward in terms of market prices and title deeds. Foreigners wishing to buy land in Uruguay face no barriers.
Agriculture. Uruguay is perched atop South America’s main aquifer and features meadows, forests, and palm savannahs. The jurisdiction is well suited for agricultural land uses. Farmers can count on fertile soil and an abundant water supply. The country is heavily dependent on agricultural exports, including beef, rice, malt, and farm dairy products. Uruguay is one of the world’s major producers of soybeans, horsemeat, quinces, beeswax, and wool.
Climate. The local climate is favorable for agriculture. It ranges from subtropical to temperate with seasonal variations. The seasons are fairly well defined. Summers are warm and winters are frost-free. It rains enough and there are occasional heavy fogs. The region is subject to prompt weather changes, but it is never cold or too wet. The best season is between October and March. This is the local summer period and a holiday season: the weather is mild, coastal resorts are in full swing, beach destinations attract lovers of snorkeling, paddling, windsurfing, sandboarding, beach soccer, kitesurfing, hiking trails on the sand dunes.
Types of land for sale in Uruguay
What land can you buy in Uruguay?
The Uruguayan market can offer expats a variety of attractive investment options, including:
- purchase of a primary or secondary homestead with a parcel;
- purchase of urban land parcels in developing areas as a long-term investment;
- investment in urban building land parcels for one’s home construction;
- investing in urban building land for development and subsequent sale;
- purchase of olive plantations;
- purchase of livestock farms;
- purchase of agricultural land for other uses;
- investments in the purchase of old/unfinished buildings for restoration and subsequent sale.
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Your step-by-step plan for buying land in Uruguay
Is the land purchase in Uruguay a complicated process? Not at all.
Let us see why we consider it a very simple and straightforward process.
- Foreigners’ access to the market, choice of the property, deposit, speed of processing. Corruption is not a problem in Uruguay. There are no restrictions placed upon foreigners wishing to buy or own land in Uruguay, except for some national security zones. After selecting a suitable parcel, the buyer is usually required to pay a deposit of 10% of the price upon signing the reservation. This sum remains on an escrow account. Land deals are usually closed within 30-60 days, allowing time for the title search and the deed study. The transfer of title is executed as a deed and signed by both parties, and the price is paid before a notary.
- Assessment of encumbrances. Before purchasing land in Uruguay, the buyer must see four certificates of encumbrances. The first is issued to the seller by the Banco de Provision Social and certifies that the current owner is free of debt of any social security contributions. Two certificates certifying if there are any mortgages, liens, or other encumbrances on the property (for the past 30 years) are issued by the Real Estate Office (Registro de la Propiedad Inmueble) and the national General Directorate of Registries (Registro de Actos Personales). The fourth document is a non-encumbrance certificate for the past 10 years issued by the Municipality of the asset location. Besides, the seller needs to provide a cadastral certificate (“cédula catastral”) issued by the Cadastre about the value of the property. Some other papers should also interest the buyer (for example, a certificate that ascertains whether the property is connected in the Public Sewage system to the Municipality).
- Legal support. Local notaries prepare most legal documents, including title deeds, and title search for official records of the previous transfers of the title (for the period of up to 30 years). The participation of a notary is mandatory, otherwise the deed would not be valid. To compile all the primary documents and submit them to the public notary according to the notary’s requirements is the seller’s responsibility. The notary usually represents the buyer and the seller. The actual transfer of land ownership in Uruguay takes place after the transaction is registered in the Public Registry in the local municipality.
- Mortgage, bank accounts for the transaction. The purchase of land in Uruguay may be financed with borrowed funds. It is not difficult for a foreigner to open a bank account in this jurisdiction or to obtain a mortgage. However, experts encourage buyers to finance transactions through the banks of the historic homeland/state of current residence or, if paying in cash, to arrange for an electronic transfer of funds. Such transactions will require to submit the proof of the legitimacy of the sources of funds.
We strongly recommend that you should contact our expert services to help you through the entire process. Our team of experts and partners has the global scope and understands the tax rules, ownership options in your country of tax residence and Uruguay. Our professional facilitation will make the process more transparent and flawless for you. You can rely on our experts’ analysis of the ownership history, the property value, the % of fees charged (as the registered value of a property is often less than the market value, and the tax breaks/exemptions are also likely). Our consultants can revise the drafts of the deed documents, help you with the deposit transfer mechanism, and facilitate your registration of the deed in the Property Registry. They can also explain the benefits of the local residence permit and help with the application when needed.
Taxes and fees on a transfer of property in Uruguay
What are the fees of realtors and lawyers handling land sales in Uruguay? What are the maximum total costs of buying real estate?
The buyer pays the property transfer tax, the notary fee, and the registration fee.
Please see the rates detailed in the table below.
|Transaction fees||Payable by|
|Property transfer tax (Impuesto a las trasmisiones patrimoniales)||2%|
|Real estate agent’s fees||3%|
|Costs paid by the buyer||9%|
|Costs paid by seller||5%|
|ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS||14%|
Source: Global Property Guide
Please note: The VAT (called IVA in Uruguay) is not mentioned with the above-mentioned rates. However, the notary’s fee and the real estate agent’s fees are subject to VAT, which is charged at 22% in Uruguay. So the total payable notary’s fee with VAT is 3.66%. The total payable real estate agent’s fee with VAT is 3.66%. As for the property value amount, it is not subject to VAT.
Disclaimer: It is good to know that the real-time rates can be lower than the rates in the above-given table. For example, some notaries may charge fees at rates that are less than the official rates regulated by the Uruguayan Notary Association. The registration tax may be between 0.5% and 1%. But the fixed stamp duty may apply. Thus, the above-given rates are for your general estimations only.
As we see, the total costs payable by the buyer will be under 10%.
If your ultimate objective is to resell the property in the future, your costs will total approximately 5% of the property value. Thus your “Roundtrip” transaction costs will make approximately 14% of the property value, including the costs you have paid when buying the land, plus the dues payable for reselling it. Besides, as a seller, you will have to pay the Capital Gain tax (at 12% of the real value gain, irrespective of the inflation).
You may not need the real estate agent’s involvement if you rely on our consultant’s services.
Examples of land for sale listings in Uruguay
For information on listings of the best parcels for sale in Uruguay, please contact us at the e-address given at the top of this page and look it up on our website. Our articles include, for example, the following attractive offers:
- A gorgeous family apartment overlooking Mansa Beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay (USD 695,000)
- A magnificent house in Uruguay within walking distance of the sea (USD 600,000)
- A real estate in Uruguay: gorgeous chalet near Mansa beach in Punta del Este (USD 390,000)
Let us consider other ongoing projects.
Development Land with an Olive Plantation
The parcel of land for sale is 2 kilometers away from the town of El Pan de Azúcar, 10 minutes from Piriápolis, and 20 minutes from Punta del Este. It is bordered by small rivers. They are the water source for automated irrigation. The land area is 70 Ha (700,000 m2), including 40 Ha with olive trees (6,090 planted in 2006, and 5,330 planted in early 2007).
Species and age of the plantations:
|Species||Planted in September 2006||Planted in October 2007||Total number of trees|
Other plantations: 5 Ha are sown with Alfalfa (or Lucerne), and 5 Ha more are being sown now. Several yields have been collected, the alfalfa is of excellent quality. By the mid-term plan, there will be a plantation of medicinal cannabis (in a greenhouse and outdoors). The rest of the area, apart from the structures, features a natural forest, ravines, lowlands, rocky areas, and small rivers. The site is almost completely seeded.
Machinery and Tools:
1. John Deere 1640 tractor 4WD 4×4, 70 hp
2 TATU Backhoe
3. 600 l sprayer
4. 1000 l spray pump with a tank
5. 1 mounted mower, 2 m
6. 1 mounted mower, 2.5 m
7. Water pumps installed in the water source and the well
8. Various small tools in the shed (chainsaw, pump, tools…).
1. 10-year-old masonry house (1 bedroom, living room, bathroom), built on top of the hill (50 square meters);
2. A holiday house with a barbecue grill, a bathroom with a shower (100 square meters);
3. A staff house (150 square meters);
4. Sheds and storage facilities (100 square meters);
5. A laboratory with a bathroom (40 square meters);
6. A booth for the irrigation pumps control station;
A 3-phase electricity system, an automated drip irrigation system covering most of the plot (30 Ha of olive trees have drip irrigation), connection to the OSE network (drinking water) in the field, roads, electrical wiring in good condition, etc.
The plantation trees are in good condition. About 90 tons of olives have been produced on the parcel of land for sale. The annual production potential is 350-400 tons. The tanks on the parcel contain 5 thousand liters of first-press olive oil from the 2019 harvest. A caretaker resides on the land in the staff house, taking care of the plants and harvest.
Price: USD 775,000
Development Land with a Villa in Punta Del Este
A modern villa in a minimalist style, located in one of the central areas of Punta Del Este and surrounded by a pine park. The villa is close to colleges, the commercial center, and the best restaurant area – Street Gourmet.
The area of the building and the land for sale is 450 sq m and 1600 sq m, respectively. The potential buyer of the villa is offered 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. On the first floor, there is a spacious living room with high ceilings and a dining room, an open-plan kitchen with a bar, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms. From a separate entrance, you can enter the 4th bedroom (with a bathroom) conveniently designated for the servants. The second floor features a recreation room with a bar, 2 bedrooms with bathrooms.
The site has a separate roofed barbecue facility for grilling meat, with a special pizza oven. There is also a swimming pool with a wooden deck, a roofed garage for 3 cars, automated gates.
The house is equipped with underfloor heating and air conditioning. It is equipped with an indoor fireplace.
Price: USD 860,000
Development Land in the Elite Area of Punta Del Este
This is an investment proposal for those wishing to create a house from
scratch. The parcel for sale is in a prestigious area in Punta del Este. There is a 3-floor building frame, an approved project design for the construction of a 17-apartment house. The size of the parcel of land for sale: 3,500 sq m.
Price: USD 585,000
Expert support for those wishing to buy land in Uruguay
The legislation in Uruguay regulating the real estate market is rather liberal towards foreigners. The land market is quite transparent. But we recommend that when foreigners are buying land in Uruguay, they should seek the advice of an experienced expert.
Our portal’s associate partners provide clients with a wide range of services in the following areas:
- help with the selection of assets: farmland, citrus/olive plantations, development land for leisure and recreation, woodlands, etc.;
- strategic planning of investments in land in Uruguay (valuation of the land price, evaluation of encumbrances, facilitation of the transactions);
- opening bank accounts for the transaction;
- tax planning to assess the impact of buying land in Uruguay on the overall fiscal burden and come up with a well-balanced decision.
To book your free consultation now, please click the banner and find a link to the form (which is a form for services in the selection of a bank account, but it will suit the land selection purposes too).
We can help you add value to your investment by assisting in your research, analysis, advice, practical facilitation with consideration of your real situation and expectations. That is why the form and an initial detailed discussion are very important.
Is there a demand for investing in land for sale in Uruguay for building or farming?
Capital investment in any business involving real estate, including farming land, is quite common in Uruguay. Due to the steady demand growth, even passive investments in land and houses (without renting them out) will still bring long-lasting profits. But it is necessary to understand the specifics of the market to define what investment is potentially profitable. Therefore, an expert’s consulting is essential for your success.
Who can help me buy land in Uruguay?
A foreigner would hardly be able to thoroughly study the Uruguayan land market before buying land. Moreover, if there is a Spanish language barrier, the task is made harder.
You would like to choose a promising asset, wouldn’t you? To avoid getting stuck with a non-saleable plot, it is necessary to analyze the listings with a local expert. Our portal’s partners are professionals in selling land. They are experts in land development. You can entrust them with the selection of a responsible development and construction company. This choice is as critically important as the selection of the land parcel.
Why should I combine the purchase of land in Uruguay with a residence permit?
To attract additional foreign investors, the Uruguayan government has relaxed the requirements for those who want to enter and/or invest in the country, offering impressive tax incentives and implementing new measures to accelerate capital inflows. During the free consultation with our experts, you will be able to learn about such exciting opportunities.