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.


Crime is Going Down in the Zone


CAP Meeting in Uvita

The bad guys, the criminals, are getting caught and thrown in jail here in The Zone, and the quality of life is in an upwards trajectory.

This morning was our monthly community meeting of CAP (Crime Awareness and Prevention). I can say that I am truly proud of this little group of giving individuals. The amount of good that they have done for us here in The Zone is impressive.

Community effort against crime

The Zone's Effective Anti-Crime Effort

The Zone is defined as running from Ojochal up to the Baru river. We are hoping that this expands up to Matapalo, but for the moment, the northern edge is the Baru river in Dominical. The most tangible effect of CAP is that they have put a number of criminals in jail.

There is something about the Costa Rican justice system that is extremely sensitive to making sure they’ve got the right guy before putting him in jail. With the video cameras placed strategically around The Zone, the bad guys are getting caught on camera doing their dastardly deeds. The evidence is incontrovertible. There is no doubt that that was them, following the tourist couple, and then grabbing their backpack when they turned their backs. Or that the guy that is reaching in through the apartment window and coming out with the camera and other goods is the guilty party.  These folks are in jail, and they are no doubt talking about The Zone and how it probably isn’t the best place to ply their trade.

The cameras are a direct result of private funding.  The start of the new year is an opportunity for all of us residents to renew our $100 annual membership and get the new 2012 CAP sticker. Others are becoming believers and are quietly contributing substantially to the effort. One such contributor place $20,000 in the CAP account.

A truly momentous event, capping off the 2011 year for CAP, was the diligent efforts of one of the Team members, (of which there are about 10.) This member, let’s call him Jackie, helped to get CAP into an official “non-profit” status. Now our contributions can be deducted, among the many other benefits. This is a huge achievement here in Costa Rica.  The effort was greatly enhanced by the generosity of local attorney Eduardo Vargas, who donated a good amount of his time for the project. Jackie has had a good final quarter in that his efforts were also directly involved in securing the $20,000 contribution.

Jackie is just one of the many talents that make up this multi-faceted group. The prime organizer of the movement is referred to as Mom by many of the CAP members. She just has a way of making you want to participate.

It’s a bit awkward to start down the road of mentioning the individuals in this Crime Awareness and Prevention movement since many of them don’t want to be known as the shakers and movers of the highly effective anti-crime effort –  for obvious reasons. But also, there really isn’t any one contributor who deserves mention more than the others. They are all giving of their time, and whatever gift they possess in this life, they bring to the table in a way that contributes directly to the quality of life, not only for those of us who live here in The Zone, but also for the many many visitors who pass through The Zone each year.

CAP DONATION INFORMATION

Contributions can be made:

1.   a)   Transfers from BCR Accounts: Account name: GUARDING THE PEOPLE S.A. ID Number: 3-101-310897 Account Number: 001- 0285359-0 (Checking account in dollars)   b)   Transfers from non BCR Accounts: Account name: GUARDING THE PEOPLE S.A. ID Number: 3-101-310897 Account number (17 Digits):15 20 10 01 02 85 35 90 0

2. Wire transfers: Banco de Costa Rica, SWIFT (BCRICRSJ), 2nd Ave 4-6 St., San Jose, 010101, Costa Rica Account #: 001- 0285359-0 Account name: GUARDING THE PEOPLE S.A. ID Number: 3-101-310897 Account address: San Clemente, Playa Dominical, Osa, Costa Rica

3. Mail checks to an US address (payable to GUARDING THE PEOPLE): CAP SB 07   12355 SW, 129 Court suite # 10   Miami, FL 33186 – 6406