Costa Rica’s popularity as a relocation destination is nothing new. Tens of thousands of expats from all corners of the world have made themselves at home here in recent decades, permanently or part-time, while foreign investment markets for vacation rental properties have been buoyed by steady tourism growth.
But there’s no question that unprecedented global circumstances over the past two years have had an impact on the real estate scene here. The dynamics are no less vibrant now, but decidedly different, in some exciting ways. Notably, there’s been an uptrend in younger expat home buyers, as well as owners who are here to stay.
That vacation travel to Costa Rica rebounded with the easing of international and local pandemic restrictions was hardly surprising. The country’s full reopening of international borders on November 1, 2020 was pivotal. Never before had people everywhere seemed more motivated and eager to get away from their cooped-up status quo. The usual reasons for North Americans seeking to escape the cold and daily grind were compounded by so much more that had rocked their world in unfathomable ways: from health crises and economic loss to social isolation and divisive politics.
Meanwhile, everything that has always made Costa Rica so appealing to tourists — as well as a haven to those already owning vacation homes here — was waiting with open arms. Similar deciding factors saw new floodgates of interest in property ownership open up at the same time. Potential foreign buyers included those who might never have otherwise contemplated the notion of buying a piece of pura vida paradise.
Increased acceptance of remote jobs as being a feasible lifestyle choice, not just a lockdown necessity, was hugely influential. Home-centered priorities shifted, with people rethinking the needs and preferences that their living space should best accommodate. What they value in their outdoor surroundings took on added importance too, from seeking a closer connection with nature to growing their own food. Others became more eco-conscious and interested in more sustainable ways of living.
These were the kind of house-hunting incentives that kept realtors in Costa Rica busy hosting visitors — mostly from North America — throughout 2021, even during the normal low tourist season.
At the same time, other foreign buyers moved forward with their pre-pandemic intentions, while sellers benefited from the market becoming unstuck. In fact, 2020 had been forecast as the strongest year in a decade.
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Read Up, Don’t Rush
While there is no denying that real estate sales in Costa Rica are currently brisk and the outlook bright, that is never a good reason to rush such an important decision. You’ll find agreement from the various industry experts who have contributed to this special real estate edition of Howler. The same goes for our regular writers of legal advice, both covering real estate topics in this issue.
Take your time, learn and benefit from the knowledge they offer. That’s always advisable, which is why Howler has always been pleased to feature a diverse range of articles relevant to real estate decisions, property ownership and building options. From location factors to lifestyle considerations, we’ve covered it.
So, for the benefit of new readers and others who might want to revisit any of these subjects, we’ve created a list of online article titles
Market Movement is Brisk
The second-home real estate market in Costa Rica is extremely active at the moment, according to Coldwell Banker Tamarindo Realty. Time on the market for properties priced at market rate is under one month. Many properties are selling at full asking price before they are published, just by word of mouth between agents. For luxury properties — $1 million and higher — the market is active but not as hot.
Potential buyers interested in touring properties are advised to register your interest with a realtor early enough to stay informed of new listings. Then take your time until finding the right home. When ready to move forward, be prepared to present an offer immediately. Have sufficient funds on hand to put a 10% refundable deposit down within 10 days, and to
pay the balance within a month.
Got any — or many — questions about real estate in Costa Rica?
Or not quite sure what to ask about?
Look no further for everything that’s important to know about finding, buying, building, or selling a home in this wonderful country. Whether you’re thinking of moving here for good, or owning a place to enjoy vacations and generate rental income, we’ve got you covered from every angle.
Howler’s online collection of articles is extensive, offering expert perspectives on design and building topics as well as real estate, legal, financial, investment and property management issues. There are many titles here and we encourage you to spend time exploring and reading. Seldom does anyone regret making a well-informed real estate decision.
Picking your place
Designing and building
Agents’ tell their own stories