Costa Rica Real Estate: A Growing Market in Paradise

In 2006, if anyone asked about investing in Costa Rica real estate, one likely response would have been, “quit asking questions and buy!” In recent years, the same cannot be said. The housing market has suffered as a result of the US crash. However, murmurs of revitalization in the market are spreading, and the future for real estate within Costa Rica is poised to return to the prominence it once held.

Over the course of the past few years, there has been a steep decline in purchases of land and luxury homes. Almost all sales involving expensive estates have come at a discounted rate. Even so, such sales are few and far between, since the Costa Rica real estate market is known to be inelastic. In the past, bank financing for homes tended to be quite unfavorable, when it could even be found to begin with. Paying for homes in cash is very common here. With very little yearly holding costs and few bank loans to be repaid, most sellers are reluctant to lower their sale price to accommodate the decrease in demand.

However, recently financing with features similar to the US lending market has become available, which is great for the future of the market. To avoid crises in lending, strict policy has been implemented to allow banks a specific ratio of what they can lend in relation to their total reserves[1]. This makes Costa Rica an even more accessible location to people looking to invest or relocate to a new country.

When the Liberia airport opened in the Guanacaste region in 2002, the northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica became much easier to access, quickly developing into a hub for tourism and real estate. Nearly all international US airports have direct flights to San Jose, and the list of cities with direct flights to Liberia are compounding promptly – and for cities that don’t have direct flights, transfers in Miami, Houston, or southern California are just 3 hours from Costa Rica!

Though Guanacaste is a popular province for expatriates, it was one of the regions that took the hardest hits during the crash in the Costa Rica real estate market. Interestingly, the greater San José metropolitan area continued sales without interruption, which is attributed to its flexibility in options, accessibility, infrastructure, and mild climate. Plus, beach side and ocean view homes tend to be more expensive given the cost of land. Sales on homes around the $350,000 range have picked up recently, and developers have taken notice! Project Mar Vista on Guanacaste’s gold coast is preparing to offer ocean view home packages starting at $350,000, less than one mile away from the beach in an eco-friendly, gated community.

Overall, the Costa Rica real estate market is still in a recession. However, with the Central Valley selling in full stride, increases is access to financing, and the growth in the number of options on the market, the Costa Rica real estate is rapidly regrowing its liveliness.


Top Yucatan Real Estate Options

When we think of life on the Yucatan Peninsula, a variety of features come to mind – beaches, nature, ruins, colonial cities, etc. The good news is that excellent Yucatan real estate options are available allowing you to enjoy a combination of these features as part of day to day life. Three very good options to consider are Cancun real estate, Merida real estate and Cozumel real estate.

Cancun – Beachfront Resort Lifestyle

Cancun is probably the Yucatan’s most famous vacation and real estate location. The most popular option is the high-rise condos on the beachfront of the city’s hotel zone. These condos offer spectacular views of the famous white beaches with the turquoise water of the Caribbean beyond. They also offer a very modern lifestyle with beach clubs, gyms, roof-top patios with pools, modern shopping centers, large-screen movie theaters, golf courses and much more. Cancun is also home to the area’s best-connected airport making it easy to and from your new beachfront paradise home.

Cancun also offers some excellent options in the downtown area. These include fixer-upper homes and condos that are all within walking distance to cafes, shops, malls, restaurants and many other amenities. Downtown offers more of a small-city lifestyle. Most of the same modern services are downtown. The beaches are about a 15-20 minute drive away. Whichever part of Cancun you choose, you’ll be within close access to the Yucatan’s history and nature.

Merida – Colonial Charm & Culture

The city of Merida is currently the largest in the Yucatan area and it has Mexico’s second largest colonial city center. The straight, narrow streets of the city center run past charming old buildings with spectacular architecture. Green parks full of flowers, walkways and benches for sitting and enjoying the views make the city refreshing and relaxing. Merida’s culture matches all expectations from its colonial visual atmosphere. The city’s culture offers everything from museums and historic churches to live Mariachi music and excellent local food. Part of the lifestyle is a walk-everywhere atmosphere with everything close by, and visually very pleasant and attractive. Local fruit markets and handicraft shops make it easy to buy well-priced local items.

At the same time as being charming and old, Merida is also a modern metropolis with services like large malls, modern American stores, sports complexes and excellent hospitals. Again, the beach is only 20 minutes away, and the ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, are about 30 minutes. Merida has a well-connected international airport.

Cozumel – Island Paradise

About an hour away from Cancun (in Playa del Carmen) there is ferry access to the wonderful of island of Cozumel. The city of Cozumel is small and quaint with only low-rise buildings centered around a traditional Mexican town square. Many expats buy homes in the town center area enjoying a walk-everywhere lifestyle. Others buy ecological homes out in the jungle. A popular option is also the beachfront condos in the resorts out along the north shore of the island. All residents of Cozumel enjoy close access to diving in the coral reef, the jungle tours, hidden pyramids and lots of beautiful beaches and lush, green nature.

Cozumel has an international airport of its own, although not as well connected as Cancun or Merida, but very conveniently located just outside of town. All basic services are also available in Cozumel, and what’s not available there can be found with an easy ferry-ride to Playa del Carmen.

Buyers who have a general interest in the Yucatan Peninsula may do well to plan a trip to visit a variety of areas and see which is most attractive for them.; Mexico’s Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely