Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What about housing?

Housing options in Chiclayo are what you would find most anywhere. Your choices are a rented apartment, a purchased condo, or a purchased or built single family house. Most of the condos and apartments are constructed of poured concrete. Single family homes, with the exception of the more elaborate massive dwellings are built with brick. None of them contain any significant amount of wood. Though some have parquet floors, the majority have tile flooring (no carpets….too much sand and dust) with wood being limited to cabinets, doors and door frames. The absence of combustible material is why the sound of fire engines is almost never heard.

The home on the left is an example of as good as it gets in Chiclayo. It is visible from the balcony of our apartment. You may not care for the color or architecture but I believe you would find the interior to be pleasing and not that much different than what you’re accustomed to. Incidentally, the thing on the roof that looks like a flying saucer is the home’s water tank. Every building has one or more, though normally not so distinctive. Water is pumped up to the tank, but from there to your shower water pressure is a function of gravity. Speaking of shower, most homes do not have hot water heaters. If you want a hot shower you need to purchase and install an electric shower head from Sodimac. Another difference is gas. City gas has not yet reached Chiclayo, so a small tank of propane gas sits beside the cooking stove. Restaurants have larger tanks stored on the roof.

The condo pictured here was constructed in 2005. At that time the never-lived-in individual 3 bedroom/bath units were selling for $21,000. Today sellers are asking for and getting $36,000. I can’t tell you how many times I have mentally kicked myself for not buying at that time. As mentioned in an earlier post, Chiclayo is in a strong growth period and condos are continuing to spring up all over the city. Curiously, many of the condos are constructed without elevators. Accordingly the price drops as the levels go up, but so does the difficulty in reaching them. Older folks don’t look forward to 4 or 5 flights of stairs.

This is the building we live in. It was originally constructed as a single family home but was converted to a 3 level apartment. We occupy the second floor with the balcony. Houses are typically built long and narrow, so while it may not look like it, our apartment has 4 bedrooms and baths plus living room, formal dining room and kitchen with breakfast nook. It’s comfortable with plenty of private space for the three of us.

This photo depicts typical housing for at least 30% of Chiclayo’s population. Some of the houses are constructed of adobe, which is no longer a legal building material in the city proper. In 1998 El NiƱo caused considerable flooding in Chiclayo and over wide areas of the north. Many homes constructed of adobe simply crumbled and turned to mud. The city helped with rebuilding to a rough condition, but most Chiclayanos did not have the money to continue the job so the houses remain in various states of completion. This particular photo was taken in P.J. Muro, which not long ago was considered one of the poorer areas in Chiclayo. Since the construction of the nearby Real Plaza mall the prices of these homes have tripled to an average of probably $30,000.

In the next entry we’d like to invite you inside for a look at our apartment, but first we have to clean it up a bit. Dress is casual and no gifts are necessary.



  1. Your description looks fair and faithful with what the place is and offer: urban living at an acceptable level. If there is a little sand and dust it is because there is no much rain, except the rare ocasion when "El Nino" SO (ENSO) visits. And it appears that you are enjoying it all time. Good for you, good for every body!

  2. Hi, glad to have found your blog. I just came back from Peru, Huancayo to be specific, and am wondering how you bought real estate there? Is there a certain agency that you went through? Thanks!