Realtors in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica are expecting continued growth in the Costa Ballena real estate market. Residential and commercial properties are seeing growth in sales frequency and price since 2018. An undersupply in certain price brackets, amenities and locations is leading to increased prices.
The same cannot be said for every region of Costa Rica. San Jose and other Central Valley communities have seen a decline in growth, largely due to a surplus of new construction. But on the coastal south, land is a precious commodity that is depleting in the most popular regions.
The Costa Ballena communities of Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal are popular with international expats for their amenities, services, and utilities. Each of these towns has paved major roadways in the last year and experienced increases in new businesses opening.
Ojochal, for one, has a new plaza at the entrance to the village, with a doctor’s office, pharmacy, and dentist. Coupled with the newly paved main road, these advancements are bringing more tourism traffic and providing new services to residents in the area.
Costa Rica’s Economy
When analyzing the best time and place to buy a house in Costa Rica with foreign currencies, it’s good to review the economy. Try to understand what goods, services and life in general will cost–now and in the near future.
Costa Rica’s economic growth has slowed in recent years and government debt is increasing. Costa Rica’s economy enjoyed strong and stable growth since 2010. This growth slowed in 2018, dropping from a 4.6% high in 2017 to 2.6% in 2018. Alongside this economic decline, the Costa Rican colon has seen its lowest exchange rates in years against the USD.
In a continued effort to increase economic growth, the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, is set to travel to Silicon Valley and beyond, where he will seek investments in Costa Rica from the tech sector.
“The objective will be the attraction of investment, welfare and employment to the country” said Alvarado in a statement from Casa Presidencial. His agenda includes meetings with Amazon, Pop Digital, MicaSense, Microsoft, HP, Intel and Google to discuss the expansion of their operations in Costa Rica.
Buyer’s of Costa Ballena Real Estate
Our office has noted an increase in buyer traffic from the West Coast regions of the United States. Younger expats are finding their way to our coast, retiring earlier to live a more peaceful, less expensive lifestyle in the beauty of the jungle.
Most of the recent buyers coming through our office have been from the United States, with Canadians and Europeans trailing as a distance second combined. American expats are continuing to choose Costa Rica for the favorable exchange rate and proximity to home. There are numerous quick, direct, and inexpensive flights from major hubs like Houston, Denver, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.
As the colon slowly drops in value over time, Americans are going to gain an even more favorable exchange. They also make big savings on the much less expensive healthcare at top notch facilities, the cheaper dental care at state of the art facilities, and the cutting edge and well-priced aesthetic treatments. And, of course, the great weather and beaches that make you feel like you’re on holiday all year long.
Canadian and European Expats
But the Canadians and Europeans who can afford a USD cash offer on property in Costa Rica are finding that the investment is worthwhile. Not only is the proximity of Costa Rica to home good, resale values are also climbing.
Kevin Champagne, real estate broker for Osa Tropical Properties, says that his Canadian clients have been buying retirement properties in Ojochal because of increases in cost of living in metropolitan areas like Vancouver and Toronto. And with these real estate markets at a peak, many are choosing to sell in Canada and buy in Costa Rica, where real estate prices are still rising.
Osa Tropical Properties agent, Rebecca Rowntree, notes that Canadians sellers are seeing great returns on their investment now, thanks to the low exchange rates on the US Dollar. Those who cash purchased real estate in the Costa Ballena in the last 10 years are receiving a good return in USD today.
Marcia Oro, another realtor in the Osa Tropical Properties team, is counseling her real estate clients from Canada to buy right now. She has seen a steady increase in property prices for 3 to 4 bedroom ocean view homes. “In 2017, we sold out of ocean view homes under $300,000. Then, in 2018, we sold out of ocean view homes under $400,000. In 2019, we are seeing an influx of buyers in the $500,000 range, looking for three-bedroom ocean view homes in Ojochal.”
“We haven’t seen these numbers since 2008,” says Kevin Champagne, who is excited about the prospects for his area of interest. “As long as all of the property’s due diligence is in order, we are finding buyers with successful offers.”
Properties For Sale
Recent buyers have all but cleared out the large inventory of “fixer-uppers” (older homes in need of renovation but often sitting on maturely landscaped properties with incredible ocean views). Many of the best fixer-uppers have sold in the last year.
Small 2-3 bedroom homes with mountain or jungle views can be found in the $200,000-$300,000 in Ojochal and other places in the Costa Ballena. Some home buyers are choosing these options for their unique beauty and investment potential. Mountain views are truly majestic in the jungle and their green ridges emerge out of the backdrops of many of these properties. Riverside homes are in this price range, too, which are favored for their abundant animal sightings. And when it comes to tourism in Costa Rica, many visitors are coming for the spectacular flora and fauna.