We are in high season here in the southern pacific zone. The months of November through April are typically when there are more tourists here than during the rainy months.

There is another type of “high season” happening right now as well. This has more to do with world conditions. I know, those from the States are going to think that Mr. Trump is pushing many to look elsewhere. And I suspect that this is true to some extent. I think that Mr. Trump has been good for my Costa Rica real estate business. I think Mrs. Clinton would have been as well. Such is the world that we live in.

However, our property buyers here are not just from the States. We’ve got buyers from Canada, despite their currently weak currency. These people are buying property and essentially paying 30% – 40% more due to the exchange rate on their currency. One has got to wonder – why?

France, Germany, Great Britain – all are providing us here with buyers. Again: why? There are economic, political and security issues happening in various areas of the world. I suppose that greater analytical minds would come up with the cause and effect links in trying to answer the question. But I find that there is one common thread when I talk with these people.

The Reason:
Stress
is pushing, and the promise of less stress, is pulling people to consider a life in Costa Rica. Simpler living is highly attractive. Costa Rica offers this and it (simple living) seems to be the antidote to whatever may be happening in one’s home country.

Uvita, Dominical, Ojochal and the surrounding areas that make up Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone are all seeing an influx of buyers. But there is more. There are some big-money players who are making some moves here that are notable. There are condominium complexes being constructed, and sold at a good clip. There are town homes, urbanization projects and upgrades to some of the antiquated infrastructure in some of these areas.

There is some talk of giving Uvita a facelift. This is much needed. With both Dominical and Ojochal, you turn off the coastal highway and drive into the town. In Uvita, the highway passes right through the town. Up till now its growth has happened with hardly any attention to the aesthetic and it is essentially a strip-mall, Costa Rican style.

This is a pity since Uvita could really have been (or be made to be) one of the most beautiful towns on the planet. So if these well funded entities see the beautifying of the town as in their best interests, great! Although it’s hard to imagine what can be done, short of tearing the whole thing down and starting over again.

The Envision Festival is going on currently. This has become one of the largest events of the year. Kudos to the organizers. I’ve heard that 7,000 people attended last year, but that about half that number are here now.

Uvita Costa Rica's Crunchy Envision Festival

2017 Envision Festival Uvita Costa Rica

Some of the Ticos complain a bit about Envision, claiming that the drugs, nudity and general licentiousness is disrespectful to their culture. I suspect that there is some truth to these allegations, but for me, I’ve never met an Envisioner I didn’t like and the festival provides a time of some fascinating people watching.

I’ve not  personally ever attended. I can hear the music from my home well, the bass notes anyway, and I routinely provide rides to those thumbing to the grocery store and back. There is also the complaint of them being a bit odoriferous, but I can’t speak to this having lost my olfactory sense some years back. So I get along fine with them in my car and always enjoy their upbeat spirit.

So between the time of year and world conditions, sales are good here in the Zone’s real estate market.

About Property Prices:
During the recession, there was not much of a market here. It hit hard and us realtors languished waiting for the anomalous inquiry that might result in a sale. I actually got into brokering hard money loans during this time in an effort to not only make a little commission, but to also help some land owners to not lose their properties.

Prices plummeted during the recession. This was an interesting time. The pre-recession time was a “boom”. The biggest challenge for a buyer then was being able to find an available real estate agent. I felt like I should put a Baskin Robbins “take a number” device at the door. Some of these buyers were our good-old bread and butter retirees, looking to retire to Costa Rica. However, there were lots of folks who refinanced their homes and then found themselves cash-rich and wondering what to do with it. The causes of the recession helped to fuel some of that heady boom and resulted in pushing prices up to a rather silly level.

So the fall of pricing some 40% – 50% during the recession could appropriately be called a correction.

Much of our land here is still at recession pricing. There hasn’t been a big upward push on prices since then. The demand for houses is strong and so we’re starting to see some upward movement there – all very rational though. This is no heady boom. Its simply that the inventory which was glutted post-recession, is finally starting to get mopped up. This was inconceivable in the years following the recession due to the glut.

I still get asked sometimes why it seems that everything is for sale. I find this interesting since I have to really work to find properties for some of the criteria lists I build for my clients.

Yes, I suppose everything is, in fact, for sale, at some price. However, finding what you want, finding that screaming ocean view with good access and amenities nearby, and all this in your budget, can sometimes be a bit daunting.

And then there is that wonderful amenity “simplicity”. I wonder if this could be put at the top of the list. Right up there with “ocean view”. I’m thinking that this one amenity is the primary mover of the current strong market we’re seeing here in The Zone.


Poll #1 Results – Top Reasons To Buy Property In The Zone 1


I was excited to find the Poll functionality on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago. The question I came up with “What is the top reason to buy land in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone?” seemed like a good jumping off point for this regular feature on the blog. Although the sample size was small, the responses were revealing.

Low Property Tax
Costa Rica’s property tax rate is .25% on registered value. That means if you buy a $400,000 house in Uvita, you will pay $1,000 in property tax, plus another $1,000 (or .25%) for the new Luxury Tax passed in 2010. Your total annual property tax bill will be $2,000 which is a third of what you will pay in Houston, Texas.

Investment Value
If we can agree that people want safe, beautiful, and affordable environments to live in, then the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica has to make that list. Clearly, “affordable” is a relative term. Some clients have $50,000 for a house, some have $1.5 million; however, this market has dipped according to the simple dynamics of Supply and Demand. An ocean view property (only 8 minutes from Uvita) listed for $30,000 was unheard of five years ago, yet now we have it (Sunny Josecito). In fact, we have access to just about every type of investment in every property category.

Growth Potential
I can’t tell you how many times per week people ask me when the International Airport will be completed in Palmar. Given the fact that construction has not started, it is a difficult question to answer. Eventually, it will be constructed (for better or for worse), and the area and property values will grow as a result. I state this with a fair degree of conviction because I’ve seen what paving the Costanera (Coastal Highway) and re-paving the road between San Isidro and Dominical has done for the area. I believe if it weren’t for those two improvements, the downturn would have hit our area much harder.

Walk-Dog-Beach

Walking the dog on your favorite beach.

Weather and Beaches
Today (Sept. 29th, 2011) marks the middle of the rainy season, yet we had sun with its accompanying ocean breeze all day long. The evenings are typically cool, especially if your house is strategically located facing the Pacific Ocean and its beaches. Speaking of beaches, The Zone has something for every sun lover. You want to surf or watch surfing, go to Dominical. You want a good dog-walking beach, go to Playa Hermosa. You want to do some cave exploring, go to Playa Ventanas. I’ve spent more time on the ocean the past 4 years than in my entire life in California, because the water is warm, dare I say perfect, year round.

Relaxing Lifestyle
According to our voters, this is the top reason to buy land in Costa Rica. You don’t realize how stressful life is in the progressive Western world, until you move here. Both Ben and I came from Santa Cruz and Aspen, gorgeous towns in California and Colorado, respectively. We lived the typical cycle of working hard and playing hard, and then right back to working hard again. We were surrounded by friends, family and neighbors who were stressed by this same cycle and material pressures. It all added up to a simple yet consistent desire for change. Without question, Costa Rica presents an opportunity to slooooow down and simplify. Sometimes I surf in the morning, sometimes I walk a big farm. There’s no rushing to Starbucks on the way to pick up the dry cleaning. Here, we sit down and enjoy our coffee. We wear shorts and flip flops. If anything, life in The Zone is indeed relaxing.

So, yes there are many reasons to buy land in Costa Rica. Whether as an investment, as a relocation destination, or simply as a place to visit and unplug for a couple of weeks in the winter… The Zone will not disappoint.


About Tigre

My first visit to Costa Rica was in 2002. I immediately fell in love with the warmth of the climate and people. After spending two weeks in San Jose, Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side, and Tamarindo in Guanacaste, I knew there was a good chance I would return sooner than later. Sooner came just 6 months later when my uncle mentioned he was flying down to Costa Rica to close on a piece of property in the Southern Pacific Zone. On that trip I found my own piece of paradise above the small town of San Buenaventura, home to the San Buenas Golf Resort. Two years and 8 trips later, I decided to move to Costa Rica full time. Every day I am thankful for that decision.


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