Investing in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is in the eye of a spectacular property boom. Its many beaches and magnificent mountains have now been discovered by international buyers, and the country’s attractions – sun and surf, comfortable climate, beautiful valleys, volcanoes, jungles, excellent healthcare and security, good infrastructure, and lower cost of living have proven to be irresistible to tourists, the adventurous young, youthful retirees – and savvy investors.
Real estate is no longer just an alternative, but a strategic core investment that can help you stabilize returns in your overall portfolio and take advantage of investment opportunities that complement the fixed income and equity markets.
Costa Rica has been the buzzword for overseas retirement and eco-travel for almost 20 year and attracts more than 1 million visitors every year.
Foreigners can freely purchase properties in Costa Rica except for beach front properties. The first 50 meters above the high tide line is public property. The next 150 meters can only be leased to foreigners who have lived in Costa Rica for at least five years.
Property taxes are minimal with private homes taxed at an annual rate of 0.25% of the assessed value, which is usually much less than market value. According to a leading real estate company, if you pay $150,000 for a house, your taxes are likely to be just a few hundred dollars a year.
New government infrastructure projects in the works in southern Costa Rica are about to turn this relatively isolated area into a land of million-dollar properties.
All of this development means one thing to investors: opportunities for huge profits.
Right now, Costa Rica’s southern zone presents a perfect opportunity for pioneer investing; buy before an apparently isolated region is opened up to everyone else.
Infrastructure development drives real estate prices. This is particularly so when accessibility is increased within an already established and growing market. Costa Rica has proven its ability to attract tourists and real estate investors to areas close to international airports.
Increased accessibility to the Osa Peninsula and other areas of the southern zone will see the arrival of hoteliers and real estate developers which bring bodies that drive the market.
A new international airport and resurfacing of the Costanera Highway are currently underway. Real estate values will start climbing as the area becomes more accessible to tourists. Property values are expected to dramatically increase over the next few years.
For now, pricing here is among the lowest in Costa Rica but expect prices to catch up with Costa Rica’s higher-profile destinations within a few years. Getting in now will put you ahead of the path of progress.
The beauty of this particular ground-floor opportunity is that the planned infrastructure developments are all government backed. This means that investors can sit back, relax, and allow the government to pave the way to their success—literally.
To understand the extent of the growth new infrastructure can bring to a region, you just need to look at what happened when international flights were introduced to Liberia Airport (in the Guanacaste region in northern Costa Rica). Places like Tamarindo boomed due to its proximity to the airport, and good road links attracted hotel groups such as Four Seasons, with a luxury hotel in Peninsula Papagayo; and Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, has plans for a resort in Playa Hermosa. A mega-project north of Tamarindo will eventually have 800 houses with a starting price of $800,000.