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.


Disappearing Breed: Under $100k Ocean View Lots 2


One of the things you can count on when you are a real estate agent in Costa Rica. The question: “how is the market there?” Perhaps not a daily occurrence, but almost. I was asked this today. One of the consistent qualities of “the market” here is that there are always those that are looking for the under $100k ocean view lots. If you find yourself in this category, this article is for you.

Under $100k Ocean View Lot Uvita Costa Rica

Ocean view from a $92k lot in Uvita – BV 5.

First off, who are you? Obviously, the budget minded buyer, perhaps limited in available expendable cash. But that ocean view is a gotta have! There are also those that already have a property here in Costa Rica and they simply want an income generating property, or an additional property for visiting friends or family. And they too, really want to offer an ocean view to the mix. Don’t want to be sticking the mother in law down in a hole somewhere with no air motion and (gasp!) no ocean view. Then there are the spec home builders. They are looking to reduce their initial investment to maximize profits. I suspect that there are some others that I’m not noting here, but I think that you get the point. This group of buyers applies to many who are interested in property here in Costa Rica.

Big Whales Tail view in Uvita Costa Rica

Shabam View – $85k ocean view. High-dollar view for low-dollar

As mentioned in the title, in the current market here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, the under $100k ocean view property is going the way of the dodo. I’ve checked my own inventory as well as made a search of some of the other agencies in The Zone to see what they’ve got. They’re getting scarce. I provide a list of links at the end of this article of some of these under $100k’ers.

This is the second countdown on this type of properties that I’ve experienced in my career. I think that it was in 2006. We did a countdown and I remember the day when the last of the breed got snapped up. From that point onward we simply had to say to such buyers: “I’m sorry but ocean view properties start at $125k”. Then gradually up to “$145k”. Then, the crash. Then, the recovery. Then the glut on the market of desperate sellers who have finally cycled to the “conciliation” state of the acceptance cycle and had the mindset of: “whatever it takes. Sell that thing!”

This was the period that the word “fire-sale” characterizes very well. There were lots of fire-sales. These sellers had ocean view properties on the market for years. That’s right, plural – “years”. “Do not let that prospect walk away from the table” was the common message from the buyer to his agent.

That was clearly a buyer’s market. It is now gradually shifting over to a seller’s market. There are still some good options out there, but we are in that period of time prior to when this type and price of property is simply no longer available.


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