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:
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.

Big Interest in Moving to Costa Rica 1

Traveling around the U. S. I find an inordinate amount of interest in Costa Rica. I probably shouldn’t be surprised at this, there has always been a reaction to saying “I live in Costa Rica”, but now… well it seems to be more than ever. Why is this? I am inclined to default over to observations I’ve made in past articles.

Earth coming apart

End of the Worlders” is a handle that I give to the smaller of the group categories that I use to define those moving to Costa Rica. So many say that they feel like it “is all coming down” or, “I need to slow/quiet down” and so on.

Here are some notes of my observations from the road.

I traveled from Davis, which is in the northern part of California, to southern Utah where I camped in Zion National Park for about a week. Despite not being at all what I expected (I was set up to backpack), this was an extraordinary trip. Zion is pure magic.

I showed up in a cab that I had caught in St. George, so I found myself in “South” campground in Zion. I was essentially car camping without a car. All around me were spacious and NICE tents, trailers and motor homes. One of the tents that I saw had a lanai. I noticed the elderly gal sitting in her lanai, all screened in, nice & cozy, reading a book.

After being there for a while, I had determined that everyone, and I mean everyone, was interested, or at the very least, available to stop and converse a bit. So, later on, when I saw the owners of the aforementioned lanai-equipped tent stepping out of their tent, I felt compelled to approach them and tell them of my gawkings of their abode. They were more than happy to tell where they got it and make expressions of how much they loved their tent (they bought it through Cabellas for those who are curious).

It soon became evident that lanai equipped tents were not so rare. That older couple must have wondered at the guy that made such a fuss about it.

Anyway, my camping trip ended up being as much a social visit with people I had never met before as it was a visit to an extraordinary National Park with mind blowing hikes, views and sandstone configurations that stagger the mind.

Now, getting back to the topic at hand: there I am, out in the middle of remote desert in the southwest of the US, engaging in LOTS of conversations on the trail and in the campground, and I re-affirm that there is indeed a general interest in the country where I live – Costa Rica.

I wrote about my evening giving a talk on Costa Rica here in Davis. It was an experiment to see if the reported interest really was true. “Reported” being what visitors to Costa Rica tell me. “Everybody is talking about Costa Rica” they say.  This they say to a guy while  there in Costa Rica – to a guy that lives in Costa Rica – while the conversation is about the topic of moving to Costa Rica. Hmmmm, is this unbiased, truly objective positiveness about Costa Rica?

One has to wonder if it is true, and if, outside of that particular setting there really is anybody the least bit interested in Costa Rica.

You’re from Costa Rica?

  • “My wife and I are considering moving there.”
  • “My son is going to honeymoon there for a month.”
  • “We have wanted to simplify our lives. Would a move to Costa Rica be a good way to do this?”
  • “I used to live there.”
  • “I own some land there.”

When I say that part of my work there in Costa Rica is consulting with folks that would like to move there, they ask for a card.

Here are some of the discussion points.

 Is it less expensive there?

Yes, and no.  There are some specifics here that are actually more expensive. Gas is more expensive. I’m paying a little over $5.00 per gallon for diesel. Electricity for the home is quite expensive.  Cheese is really expensive and not that good, IMHO (look it up).

Overall you can make a fixed income go further here, but it requires one to let go of some of the comforts so common in the good ole’ US of A. Things like medicine and dental are reasons for at least visiting Costa Rica, if not living there.

Can I quiet my racing mind there?

Yep, you can. (Read up on the “4DOTS” theory here.)

I can only speak first hand of the air in the States, but I have had some Canadians and Europeans tell me it is the same there. The air in the States is saturated with fuss. Mental fuss. The powers that rule the air-waves are telling us what to think about, and they are good at it. As much as we might like to think that we are immune, I don’t think so.

To get away from that, to unplug, and to then think a thought that originates from whatever propensity we were born with… well this is the stuff that 4DOTS is made of.

Costa Rica provides an opportunity, not only to unplug from media, but to connect with nature. There have been studies that suggest that as we humans grow past the age of 45 (give or take), we have a decreasing ability to manage stress, and an increasing need, and beneficial result from, getting out into nature.

I think that these points made up the bulk of conversations in my travels around California and the southwest this trip. I became cautious of mentioning where I live when I would meet someone. If I had any interest in talking about something besides Costa Rica, I would say I live “out of the country” or some such. Then, if they asked, I’d try and say “Latin America” or “Central America”.

Although for the most part, I am more than happy to talk/write about my life in Costa Rica. It truly is a fascinating and wonderful place to live, and I totally get why so many would be interested in visiting, or moving to Costa Rica. But yes, there are times when I would like to talk about something different. Imagine that!

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