Affordable living costs

First-class living standards alongside rising incomes, excellent education, and superb food and culture are all qualities that have boosted Chile’s appeal in recent years.


Chile’s quality of life has been climbing steadily relative to the rest of Latin America over the past few years, according to various corporate-funded ranking reports.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Santiago as the second best city in Latin America to live in. Similarly, the 2010 Quality of Living Ranking, produced by the multinational consulting firm Mercer, ranks Santiago in third place in South America, preceded only by Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

The same report adds that Santiago has the best urban infrastructure in South America, with outstanding technology and communications services, access to expert advice, and a professional and transparent working atmosphere.

The Chilean capital also has one of the highest ratios of executive salary rates compared to the average cost of living – a factor that might explain why so many people are interested in working in Chile.

Chile has a range of properties that fit almost everyone’s needs, including a range of top-quality and affordable options. Property prices in Santiago are still among the cheapest in Latin American, with a buying price per square meter below rates in three of the hemisphere’s other principal capitals – Mexico City, São Paulo and Buenos Aires.

Commercial and residential real estate prices in Santiago are only a fraction of the cost of similar properties in Europe, North America or Asia.   Luxurious office space is on a par with commercial property in the world’s finest cities.  The country’s impressive economic growth has generated a construction boom in many areas in Santiago, including the recent meteoric expansion of an area – known informally as “Sanhattan”- in the borough of Las Condes that boasts an impressive array of sleek modern skyscrapers providing convenient walkable access to some of Santiago’s finest restaurants and shops.

Renting an apartment in the city is far below going rates in major Asian or European cities. Chilean cities have a wide range of lodging alternatives for all kinds of budgets.  A number of independent property companies offer furnished apartments to foreigners who plan to visit the city for a short period of time. Students can choose to live with a Chilean family, or rent a furnished room or apartment. Others may prefer to share a house with other foreign students.

The best bet for people moving to Chile for the long-term is to search for standard-priced apartments, which can be found in local newspaper supplements such as El Mercurio’s Sunday edition, or by simply roaming the streets and keeping a look out for signs saying “arriendo.”