Argentina Property Sales Plunge

Property sales in Argentina dropped 44.7 percent in June from the same period a year ago, as the market wrestled with new currency regulations.

The June sales of 2,632 homes amounted to $1.5 billion, 37.2 percent lower than the same time last year, according to the Buenos Aires Association of Notaries Public.

The June data may not reflect the implementation of the new Cedin program, the currency exchange instrument created by the government to restart property sales.

In 2011 the government of Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner issued laws banning the use of dollars to buy property, which sent sales plummeting. In response, the government began issuing Cedin certificates in May in exchange for the undeclared dollars held by Argentinians in the country.

Cedin, in turn, can be used to purchase the property.

"Some owners who were willing to negotiate prices in recent weeks decided to postpone the sale, hoping that the Cedin would allow them to sell without resigning their dollars," Jose Rozados, director of consultancy Reporte Inmobiliario, told the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion.

The June transaction numbers most likely reflect sales activity in May due to delays in closing deals, after the implementation of Cedin, La Nacion reports.

"The market is complicated and no single factor explains the bad results, to which in recent months included the electoral factor because traditionally in times of elections buyers are more cautious and prefer to wait," Hugo Mennella, president of the Association of Realtors Buenos Aires (CUCICBA) told the paper.

The average transaction price was about $108,000 in June, a 4.2 percent drop from last year. Transactions above $900,000 represented 8.1 percent of all sales during the month, a drop from 11.2 percent last year.

More than a third of sales were transactions valued between $47,000 and $94,000, the paper reports.

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