Housing prices in Buenos Aires are increasingly expensive, but still compare favorably with those in big cities in the developed world. Nevertheless, a two-tier system results in higher prices for foreign visitors. The official rental lease is a 2-year contract that requires the signature of a garantia, someone who owns property in the city who agrees to cover the lease if you are unable to pay the rent. As a result, most newcomers to Buenos Aires will find it all but impossible to rent at “standard” Argentine prices without some deep connections, opting instead for the more common temporary lease.
Finding short-term housing in a modern apartment is relatively easy. Just be prepared to pay commissions and security deposits up front and in cash in US dollars. Many landlords insist on monthly rent being paid in dollars as well. Unfurnished apartments are often listed in the local newspaper classifieds section; rents here will be as much as 50% lower and priced in pesos, albeit with the garantia as a requirement. (For a list of newspaper web sites, see the section on ‘Renting’.) Still, a furnished apartment will be the most likely option for when you first arrive in the city and aren’t sure yet to which barrio you want to commit yourself. Besides furnishings, the price will usually include cable, phone, Internet, utilities and cleaning service. Also keep in mind that many landlords are in a position to negotiate on price if you are willing to commit to a long-term lease (6-12 months).
If you are looking to buy a house or apartment, there are certainly great deals to be found, but again, be ready to pay heftily up front. There are realtors all over the city who will help you narrow down your search. For a list of web sites, see the section on ‘Purchasing’.
Due to the large artisan and student population residing in the city, there are many opportunities to share houses and apartments with a mix of roommates from different countries, speaking different languages, and learning about different aspects of life in Argentina. Homestays are another option: families throughout the city offer rooms with meals included for reasonable prices, and these are great options for orientating yourself to the city when you first arrive.