Amongst the economic doom and gloom surrounding Europe and North America there is no doubt that Latin America/South America has been a ray sunshine in these troubled times. This is an area of the world which for many years was overlooked by investors, shunned by expats and seen as something of a political abyss. Oh how times have changed!
There has been a significant shift in expat trends over the last few years, as Europe and North America continue to toil, but why are expats moving to Latin America and what can they expect?
When you bear in mind that the likes of Peru are set to deliver economic growth of 6% during 2013, Columbia somewhere around 4% and Brazil anywhere between 2% and 3%, there is hope for the future. These figures in isolation may not seem startling but when you compare them to the ongoing issues within Europe, with some countries on the verge of a triple dip recession, they look even better.
The reality is that this economic prosperity has been ongoing since 2008 when many experts predicted the fall of Latin America in light of the mortgage crisis which gripped America. The reality is that countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, etc have excelled over the last five or six years and indeed in many cases have put their European counterparts in the shade. Historically European partners often negotiated trade arrangements from a stronger position than their South American counterparts although in many ways this has moved full circle in recent times.
An improving standard of living
While it would be wrong to suggest that all residents of South America/Latin America have benefited from the economic upturn it would be correct to say that in general the standard of living and average incomes have increased dramatically. There are still some areas in which the leading countries need to step up their game, poverty is still rife for one, although hopefully growing economies will arm governments with additional funding to tackle these devastating issues.
While the cost of property, cost of services, cost of goods and the general cost of living has increased across-the-board in South America, for many expats it is the ongoing stability within the political arena which is most encouraging. The ever-growing multicultural make-up of the region has opened up many new opportunities to businesses, investors and expats and many of them have not been slow in coming forward.
Aside from the economic prosperity currently being experienced by South America perhaps the other main attraction is “stability”. When we talk about stability we talk about it from not only an economic point of view but also a political point of view. The area was seen by many as a political hot potato for many years, Brazil flirted with bankruptcy, Argentina is still struggling with growing debts but on the whole the political arena has remained relatively steady.
These are the kind of elements which expats hold very close to their hearts when looking for new homelands overseas. These are the kind of elements which will also attract significant international investment and these are elements which will make or break the region in the future.
Even just the merest of glimpses around various expat forums will show you that increased interest in South America/Latin America is there for all to see. Countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, etc continue to grab the headlines and compared with their European and North American counterparts they are prosperous to say the least. Therefore it is no surprise to learn that more and more expats are now looking to move to Latin America, many are planning retirement in the region and a growing number see the area as something of a safe haven for investment.
There has been much work behind the scenes from various governments in the region, trading arrangements have been improved and agreed going forward and ultimately in relative terms the region of South America has never been stronger from an economic point of view. This creates a perfect magnet for expats looking for pastures new.