Centrally located Vitacura is Santiago, Chile’s most affluent enclave. Whether shopping at luxury boutiques, gallery hopping or dining in its fashionable restaurants, this is where well-heeled Chileans gather.
The Vitacura district, or commune as its designated in local parlance, is comprised of several smaller neighborhoods, including Lo Castillo, Jardin del Este, Santa Maria de Manquehue and the highly desirable Alonso de Cordova. Leafy, tree-lined residential and commercial areas offer a calm respite from the buzzy city center, making this one of the city’s most in-demand markets for home buyers.
The Vitacura neighborhood is bordered by Bicentenario Park to the North, Avenida Presidente Kennedy to the West and Avenida Américo Vespucio to the South and East.
“The average price for a two-bedroom is CLP$518,292,683 (US$850,000) and for a three-bedroom property expect to pay approximately CLP$731,707,317 (US$1.2 million),” said Yolanda Tejeda de Walker of Chile Sotheby’s International Realty. “Due to limited land and high prices, properties tend to be smaller in this area.” In the only new building that offers four-bedrooms in the neighborhood, called UNICO, the average four- or five-bedroom apartment sells for about CLP$1,829,268,293 (US$3 million), Ms. Tejeda de Walker said.
While there’s no one housing style in the area, “there are sections that were developed by prominent national architects, such as Jardín del Este, where the famous Chilean architect Jaime Sanfuentes built more than 27 contemporary-style houses,” said María José Bórquez Yunge of Bórquez & Associates, Christie’s International Real Estate. In Vitacura, she said, you can also clearly see the modern influences of the Californian architect Richard Neutra and Chilean architect Emilio Duhart, who studied under contemporary master Walter Gropius and worked with Le Corbusier. “Aside from single-family homes, Duhart also designed the emblematic United Nations building, also located in Vitacura,” Ms. Bórquez Yunge said.
A four-bedroom contemporary-styled house located in Cerro San Luis of Santiago, with stunning views of the city, is currently listed for $2.66 million.
CHILE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
More modern homes dot newer sectors such as Lo Curro or Santa Maria de Manquehue, Ms. Bórquez Yunge said. “There are works by other renowned Chilean contemporary architects, such as Christian De Groote and Alberto Cruz,” she said.
But overall, Vitacura is a mix of old and modern architecture.
“Many older homes have been exquisitely remodeled,” Ms. Tejeda de Walker said. “In the last couple of years, spectacular high-end office developments have appeared throughout the neighborhood, further enhancing the luxurious feel of the area.”
What makes it unique
The area is close to the city center, urban amenities and beautiful parks. Most notable is Bicentenario Park, a 65-acre manicured oasis of green with a lagoon, children’s play areas, a doggie park and walking paths. It is also where all the embassies are located, making it attractive to international residents.
“Vitacura is recognized around the city as one of the most luxurious neighborhoods, perfect for anybody looking for high-end shopping or dining,” Ms. Tejeda de Walker said. “Moreover, its proximity to the midtown office center and every amenity imaginable makes it an extremely desirable area of Santiago. It is a highly coveted by millennials as well as ‘empty nesters’ who are looking to walk everywhere and enjoy the charm of an urban neighborhood.”
The geography of the commune itself is a draw, Ms. Bórquez Yunge said. “It has a flat area with views of the mountain range and elevated areas for magnificent views over the city.”
There are sections where you can lead a largely urban life, with restaurants, art galleries, museums and activities such as urban cycling or walks through the park, she said. “There are also less urban-feeling sections with houses with large lawns and close to Manquehue Hill for trekking and biking.”
This four-bedroom penthouse apartment, with panoramic view to the Valley of the Trapenses and the Andes Mountain range, is asking four $2.74 million.
CHILE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
This area of Santiago is a foodie heaven, home to numerous specialty-food shops and some of the best restaurants in the city: Borago, which serves innovative Chilean-inspired dishes from chef Rodolfo Guzmán, is respected around the world, Naoki is popular for Japanese food, Ox and Carnal draw diners for meat, and the famous Peruvian Cevicheria La Mar, which serves fresh seafood and has a ceviche bar, Ms. Tejeda de Walker noted.
It’s also a luxury shopping district, Ms. Tejeda de Walker said. “A beautiful open-air mall, Casa Costanera, has recently opened in the neighborhood, providing high-end brands such as Hackett, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Christofle, Hermes, and Zadig & Voltaire,” she said.
For those who are staying for the short-term, the area is home to many boutique hotels, including the Noi Hotel, and a former Hyatt is being remodeled to become Santiago’s first Mandarin Oriental.
As for where you’ll find locals, Ms. Bórquez Yunge said, “Within the district of Vitacura is the San Cristobal Polo and Riding Club. It’s a selective social club with an English-style clubhouse, and stables and riding fields with views of the the Andes Mountain range.”
Elite private schools in Vitacura include Saint George’s College (pre-K through grade 12), the German Colegio Santa Úrsula (pre-K through grade 12), the French, all-female Colegio La Maisonnette (pre-K through grade 12), and the Lycee de l’Alliance Francaise (pre-K through grade 12), among others.
Who lives there
Professionals from all sorts of industries live in the area, though residents are primarily families, Ms. Bórquez Yunge said. The reason, she said, has to do with the plethora of parks and the well-ranked private schools.
“It’s perfect for families, young executives, and older couples looking to live away from the city center in a beautiful residential area,” Ms. Tejeda de Walker said.
“Several members of Chile’s wealthiest, Forbes-listed families reside in the neighborhood,” though anonymity is important to them. “It is also home to numerous Embassies—Russia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and United Nations Development Program, and the European Southern Observatory also has its headquarters here,” Ms. Tejeda de Walker said.
Vitacura is very different than the rest of the real estate market in Chile, Ms. Bórquez Yunge said.
“This is still very much the ‘it’ neighborhood, given its easy access to Santiago’s premier attractions,” Ms. Tejeda de Walker said, predicting that the outlook is favorable as a result. “Supply is restricted by strict zoning laws that prevent high-rise developments in a substantial part of this area, helping to preserve period homes and maintain the style of this neighborhood.”
“The neighborhood is highly sought-after both for sale and rental properties of residential and commercial space,” Ms. Tejeda de Walker said. “Resale value is projected to continue growing as new luxury office buildings are developed. The economic outlook for the country is looking very positive because of lower dollar and higher copper prices,” she said.
Prices in the area grew about 50% in the last decade, Ms. Tejeda de Walker said. “We expect real estate prices to repeat the growth of the last 10 years,” she said.
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