APRIL HIGHLIGHT’S: Living your own version of the pura vida dream is the theme of this month’s Howler e-magazine focusing on real estate in Costa Rica. Moving to, or within, this magnificent country is explored from many different sides of buying, building and budget considerations, as well as location and lifestyle options. Starting with Randy Toltz’s cover story about the post-pandemic uptrend in long-distance real estate transactions, we look at the questions people should ask before deciding whether to transplant their home roots here from another country, and specifically what to expect with a family in tow.
We look at the myriad possibilities for choosing where to live and how to live, from a geographic and demographic perspective, as well as the types of properties and residential dwellings, both turnkey and unbuilt. Our regional spotlight is on the Jacó vicinity’s continuing popularity as a coastal hotspot for expats and former San José urban dwellers alike. Insight into the ripple effect of the dynamic U.S. economy on the Costa Rican real estate market is offered by an international legal expert. Another article highlights the country’s new legislation benefiting digital nomads.
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The real estate market in the land of pura vida is as hot as the tropical summer sun. The initial chill brought on by the paralysis of COVID-19, gave rise to an inexplicable rise in housing sales. Many, if not most, of the transactions were done from afar via video calls and email.
This new era of distance buying was brought on by a number of factors, including the need to dream when you are quarantined at home, but likely the biggest factor has to do with the pandemic-induced maturation of the work-from-home reality. In the pre-lockdown mode, many people dreamed of telecommuting, but only a lucky few actually were able to do it. Then the pandemic opened up this model as a reality for a large portion of the workforce. Companies are finding that there is minimal loss of productivity, with an overall boost in morale, and needing less office space can save companies a substantial amount of money.
As our new norm becomes work-from-home, and the value we place on our vacation time increases, the result has caused a worldwide boom in the resort real estate market.
Costa Rica did have a running start with modern infrastructure, up-to-date communication and technology, excellent emergency medical care and access to goods and services that meet or exceed what the traveling public has come to expect. One of the biggest booms for Costa Rica has been the expansion and eventual explosion of the vacation rental market.
Costa Rica is home to many great resorts. But to spend a week hunkered down in a cabana by the pool at a coastal resort on the rich coast is tantamount to drinking champagne out of a paper cup — you are missing the very essence of the experience. For this reason, the vacation rental market has brought Costa Rica tourism to a new level. You can enjoy the full gamut of experiences this country has to offer, at a fraction of the cost of a resort. Not only has this created an explosion in the tourism sector, it has boosted real estate investment as well.
The increased income potential from today’s ease of app-based renting, and a new level of comfort in doing so, has also brought a new level of confidence to owners who were previously hesitant to rent their properties.
The hot market is not just limited to real estate sales, for those same digital nomads are filling up the long-term rental market as well. A large number of long-term renters are families who are taking advantage of the many quality international schools in the area. This makes taking the family to paradise not only doable, but quite an attractive option! It’s a definite bonus for the college resume, as many schools are often looking for something that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd.
As iPhones, Androids, and Zoom invade the jungle and the beach, the demand in the real estate market simmers like coffee on a campfire. The good news is, while prices in Costa Rica are often higher than other parts of Central America, few places can match the quality of life and infrastructure at the cost of life in Puravidaville.