Why are so many buildings in Peru half-built?


I’ve noticed that in every city we’ve been to—Cusco, Lima, Paracas—there are many buildings that have been partially constructed. Often, the bottom floor is complete (but perhaps vacant) and the top floor(s) still have exposed rebar and are roofless. This trend appears to be for both residential and commercial structures.

In: 157

Lots of construction companies go under while building. They can’t stay afloat and construction halts, leaving… that. Russia has that issue too, and China is starting to.

I can’t speak for Peru specifically, but a similar thing happens in Jamaica. My family and I took an off-the-beaten-path tour with a local guide and he explained that families either can’t afford or are opposed to taking out a loan to complete their house construction all at once. So they build the bare minimum to get started and add on to the structure over many years. We only noticed this for residential structures outside of the city/tourist areas. I don’t recall seeing any commercial buildings in progress.

I lived in that area for a couple years and it’s as u/hotfudgefries describes. People pay for the bare minimum to start living in the property (it’s common enough to see them doing their own construction too). Years later they may finish an upper floor for more space.

It’s also an artifact of the building materials and techniques they use for those homes. Lots of block/brick, lots of cement with huge amounts of aggregate fill, and lots of rebar.

Not exactly sure about Peru but I know in some countries like Spain there are odd laws about land tax. Basically you only have to pay land taxes to the government once you have completed a house so you put a plan in for a 3 story house, build 2 floors and the rebar for the 3rd floor then stop. Technically you have not completed the build on your house so therefore don’t need to pay the tax until you do. Very sneaky but brilliant.

Here ya go…

> To help the homeowners, a new policy did away with property taxes while homes were being constructed. This was done to encourage construction, which would provide jobs for workers and finished homes for residents.

> The law was ripe for abuse. Peruvians could finish their homes just enough to be comfortable to live in but not all the way, so they can avoid taxes.

> Still to this day, countless of these homes exist with inhabitants in the lower floors but incomplete upper floors.