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Residential News » Latin America Edition | By Michael Klein -www.worldpropertychannel.com May 2014

The Costa Rica real estate market saw a significant turn-around in 2013 after setting a record in international arrivals in 2012 with over two million landing on its sunny shores. Development and construction picked back up in the first quarter 2013 and significantly increased throughout remainder of the year.

So far in 2014, the busiest region is the Central Valley, which makes sense as it has the highest population density in Costa Rica. Based on reports from multiple sources throughout Costa Rica, on a per capita basis, Tamarindo area on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast appears to be leading the market in sales this year.

In 2014, reports from agents and agencies are highly optimist showing much stronger numbers than expected in most regions of Costa Rica. All regional reports indicate the market is getting back up to a full head of steam with activity levels returning and projections for 2015 are looking very promising. This is mostly evident in the coastal region of Guanacaste, where foreign buyers and investors have returned and seem to be ready and willing to buy.

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Playa Conchal

International media is once again highlighting Costa Rica’s growing real estate market as an ideal place to invest. The Central Bank has reported that Costa Rica has seen quarterly increases in real estate investment that is the highest since the year 2000 and recently International Living Magazine ranked Costa Rica as one of the best investment locations in the world.

In Guanacaste, developers especially in the heartland of the Gold Coast are working feverishly building new homes in their gated projects. Punta Playa Vista, a leading developer of residential gated communities on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast shared the following:

The main group of people buying Guanacaste coastal real estate is middle class North Americans looking for a second home investment that has income potential in Guanacaste’s super hot vacation rental market. They want an investment that has value, quality and ROI to augment their retirement strategy. Gated communities on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast tick all these boxes for this demographic and then some – Punta Playa Vistas Tamarindo Real Estate.

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Playa Vista

North Americans make up approximately 65 percent of real estate buyers in Guanacaste. Industry experts say that because of new financing options and credit opportunity opening up for Costa Rica’s growing middle class will result in more and more local buyers entering the Guanacaste market and will be a major contributor in rising prices over the coming decade.

Tamarindo, the primary coastal hub for Guanacaste’s Gold Coast, has been a destination of choice among tourists and expats for more than a decade and has one of the most advanced tourist and real estate infrastructures in Costa Rica. This year the trend from 2013 is continuing with buyers looking for low to moderate priced real estate, and further, there is a preferential shift to gated communities that offer owners all the amenities as well as property management for vacation rental services. Coastal gated communities in this region continue to lead the market in 2014. http://www.worldpropertychannel.com

Second Boom in Costa Rica: Slow and Steady

As someone who traveled to Costa Rica, worked with Costa Rican realtors and helped buyers to realize their dream of owning a property in another country, I am frequently asked about the market there now. I came across this article and think that it answers many of those questions.

Residential News » Latin America Edition | By Michael Klein     www.worldpropertychannel.com

As Costa Rica slowly enters into its second real estate boom, that many are calling a “recovery” and not a boom, the playing field has changed and the buyer focus has changed. In many ways the entire real estate industry has changed and advanced.

The first boom really introduced Costa Rica to the world, now almost six years after the global economic and real estate downturn, Costa Rica’s so-called “second boom” is not as explosive as the first; this one is predicted to be a slower, steadier growth curve.

This time around, developers that were here during the first boom are better at what they do and new international developers and investors entering the market have a lot less to contend with in terms of regulation but they will be dealing with a much savvier buyer. The real estate bubble in America has changed the mindset of buyers.

Baby boomers will be a larger demographic this decade – significantly larger. There will be more of them and they will no longer see Costa Rica as just a great place for investment ROI or for a second home. Instead, they will look for a place they can relocate full time, attracted by low cost of living, affordable healthcare, proximity and good weather. Most of these boomers will not be looking for a million-dollar villa, but a plot of land with an existing house or space to build upon, in an accessible area with good amenities.

Costa-Rica-New-Horizon.jpgCosta Rica’s attractiveness is better now with a much broader international profile, extensive free trade grabs and access to more international financial resources opening more and better credit opportunities to developers, renovators and buyers.

Because of the first boom’s introduction and the ongoing efforts of Costa Rica’s campaign to promote “the brand of Costa Rica” internationally as a premier destination for travel, real estate, investment and relocation – the full spectrum of commercial, full time resident and part-year resident offering are now broader and more attractive.

While the first-boom buyers bought for investment, buyers now are buying for lifestyle and income. Interest in land or plots to build on in particular is predicted to see a larger focus during the remainder of this decade. Costa Rica’s inventory of both mountain and coastal land plots and parcels is larger this decade as many first-boom investors have now shifted money into land purchases rather than more condominium development and resales.

Evidence of a rapid recovery or the start of a “second boom” can be found in the Costa Rica news media. Recent surveys show an uptick in 2013 inventories and upward trend in sales and prices, citing better international awareness, buyer demographics, improved U.S. economy and higher consumer confidence as primary factors.

As well, real estate industry leaders in Costa Rica now see a more stable and improved playing field in supply and demand and are strongly optimistic that Costa Rica will see excellent growth over the coming decade.

Michael Klein works as a writer for three of the leading Costa Rican on-line English news publications – See more at: http://www.worldpropertychannel.com/featured-columnists/costa-rica-report/property-boom-in-costa-rica-costa-rica-property-market-7789.php#sthash.E52UlvD9.dpuf

Canadian flag  Flag_of_Florida

Yes! Canadians are still moving to warm weather destinations in the United States to buy or rent second homes. Florida attracts 40 per cent of Canadians, according to a 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors. NAR data show that 86 per cent of Canadian buyers paid cash, with 47 per cent buying in small towns and resort areas and 41 per cent in suburban communities.

We welcome you to the St Pete-Clearwater-Tampa Bay area with open arms!

I am asked this question several times a month when speaking with others about living in Mexico.
And the answer is YES!!  You may buy real estate in Mexico. With proper advice, it is safe and easy. Non-Mexicans who buy real estate in Mexico do have the full protection of the Mexican law.
The Mexican Flag
In the interior of Mexico, where Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara or Lake Chapala are located, one may have direct ownership of property and your own name on the title. One may even name beneficiaries for the property.
In the “Restricted Zone”, which includes land on the coast and close to the borders, Non-Mexicans may still buy property. You must first set up a bank trust (or Fideicomiso) in order to purchase the property. It is not difficult to do so.  All real estate transactions involving a trust are governed by federal law.  A trust or Fideicomiso  is a contract or agreement under which one or more persons conveys property, amounts of money or rights, present or future, of his property to another person, persons or a legal entity, so that it manages or invests assets for their own benefit or the benefit of a third party, called a trustee.It is extremely important to use the services of a Mexican Notary Public. In Mexico, every legal document must be made before a notary public. The Notary Public is a public official appointed by the State Governor. A Notary Public, in Mexico,  has a higher standing than an attorney or lawyer. A Notary Public writes up the trust and then is legally responsible for that document, therefore assuring that everything is properly written and filed.

With proper planning and advice, you too can be a happy property owner in Mexico. I will be a happy owner of property in Mexico in the near future too.

This article states that massive investments for the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica have been slated. Actually, the government & many investors have already begun pouring money into this coast to redevelop it and make it more like the Pacific Coast. This is the time to invest on the Caribbean Coast before prices sky-rocket. More and more people are discovering all it has to offer at a fraction of the cost.

Beach near Limon, Costa Rica-Annalisa Weller

from International Living Extra

You many never have thought of Costa Rica as a Caribbean destination. Sure, it’s got miles of crashing Pacific surf… soaring volcanoes… rolling, jungle-clad hills… and Alpine-like lakeside retreats. But a Caribbean worth talking about?

The answer: Yes. But it’s a conversation only for folks in the know. Because this is IL Real Estate Editor, Ronan McMahon’s latest discovery. A real bargain—some of the most under-valued real estate in the Caribbean—and it’s in Costa Rica.

There are, in fact, 132 miles of true Caribbean coastline on the eastern side of Costa Rica—white-sand beaches, turquoise water, waving palms… the works. Yet even most Costa Ricans seem to have forgotten it.

Well, Ronan’s found it. Here’s a note he sent:

“It’s rough and untamed, yet picture-perfect Caribbean beach lined with palm trees. We are just minutes from the amenities of the provincial capital. Yet, it feels untouched. Walking south, the beach goes on as far as the eye can see. I keep expecting a resort to appear. It never does. The closest thing to a resort I see is a little barbecue area in the green strip of palm trees that separates the beach from the road.”

Things are changing along this coast, there’s massive investment slated.

ORLANDO, Fla. – July 2012 – The Center for Competitive Florida, a division of Florida TaxWatch that evaluates the state’s fiscal policies, performed an analysis of foreign homebuyers in Florida. It finds that approval of a Silver Visa (or Retirement Visa) by U.S. officials would not only increase demand for Florida real estate, but it would also inject up to $25 billion into the state’s economy.

According to the report’s authors, Florida far surpasses every other U.S. state in the number of foreign homebuyers. Over the past four years, the state had more than twice the market share of runner-up California.

Since Florida already commands a large share of the international buyer market, TaxWatch analysts claim that approval of a Silver Visa would have an out-sized impact on the state. Under a Silver Visa program, retirees may live in the U.S. full-time under a special immigration status for people who no longer plan to work, which a Silver Visa would not allow. Currently, the U.S. has no Silver Visa program, but many countries do, including the United Kingdom and other European countries.

According to an earlier TaxWatch analysis, approval of a Silver Visa could add more than 100,000 jobs in Florida over 10 years.

The complete TaxWatch analysis is available online.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®


By Ronan McMahon from International Living

Not even the Costa Ricans know it’s here. The forgotten province. But they’ll hear about it soon enough—especially with the massive investment slated for the region. The biggest of its type in Costa Rica’s history.

So far, there’s been little development of the real estate and tourism markets on this nation’s Caribbean coast (yes, Costa Rica has one). It’s hard to understand why it’s been overlooked. Yet it has…and that means that this stretch of coast holds some of the Caribbean’s most undervalued real estate.

costa-rica

The two-and a-half-hour drive east from San Jose brings you through jaw-dropping virgin rainforest and the protected Braulio Carrillo national park to a coast stretching south into stunning white-sand beaches.

Limón, (Limón is the name of the province and also the capital city) was a company town. United Fruit managed the port, built the railroads and bridges, looked after the colonial buildings and was the major employer. When the company pulled out of town in the 1960s, Limón was forgotten.

But “forgotten” it is unlikely to remain. Business is coming to this coast. A new free-trade zone in Bufalo will house 12 companies. Each company must invest a minimum of $100,000 to operate here. But that’s dwarfed by the investment in the Caribbean ports of Limón and Moin.

On August 30, 2011, the Costa Rican government signed a $1 billion concession with Dutch company APM to build a new port terminal in Moin. It’s the biggest concession contract in the history of Costa Rica. Construction will start in 2013, and should take three years. It will increase the port’s capacity and turnaround time. And it will bring jobs to the area…an estimated 2,000 direct and 8,000 indirect jobs. Limón is making a comeback. And you’re now among the first to know.

Limón, the city, is a quiet affair. Bright, freshly painted plantation houses and colonial buildings in various states of repair skirt sleepy streets. Not a lot goes on. For now, that is. Close by—12 minutes by car—cruise ships and giant fruit transporters dock at the port of Moin. In between the two places you’ll find guesthouses and beach bars.

Driving south from Limón is special—deserted beach on your left and mountain jungle on your right. Little restaurants serve up freshly fried fish and strong, rich coffee. Picnic tables sit under beachfront palm trees—all public access—this is where you can come to barbecue or eat a picnic. There’s no garbage. The locals respect their neighbors, community and environment.

A drive into the hills is a must. Seven minutes from the beach, the views to the ocean are spectacular. And the views inland are even better, with steep jungle-covered mountains.

I visited a piece of land here accessed from a quiet country lane. The entry point is perched right at the top of the hill. The views are 360 degrees. The land here has been flattened and a wooden structure built to take advantage of the views. Most of the 50 acres is covered by dense and valuable forest. This farm has just sold for $150,000. That’s $3,000 per acre. This would be perfect for a little development or eco-resort. And there are more pieces like it.

Like those at what I consider this region’s Gold Standard project. The developer bought this land many years ago and paid very little for it. So he can afford to price lots as low as he has. If he were buying the land today, at current prices, these lots would be priced much higher. In fact, you could pay $30 per square meter for land in this region even outside a gated community. Yet in this project prices start at less than half of that.

In fact, it’s $65,028 for a 1.34 acre lot. At only $12 per square meter, that’s a killer deal. But there’s a way to subtract 15% from that already-low price. That means this large lot would set you back only $55,274. Or…interest-free financing is an option, too.

As of today, I am an empty-nester so when this article appeared in my email this morning, I thought, “Hmmm, is this a sign?” This is pretty interesting and straightforward advice but I think that I will wait just a little bit before I redefine myself. Ah-Mexico, Italy…a girl can dream for now, can’t she?

The Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico-Annalisa Weller

3 “Working Abroad” Myths Demolished
By Winton Churchill, International Living

Many people would love to start their “move abroad life” on the next jet bolting from the closest runway…

But usually there are a few nagging concerns…

Problems of security, work, income, expenses all swirl around until it looks like…well…a hairball!

It may seem like there is no way to put it together…at least not now…it’s just one tangled mess and all the signs point to “Not yet!”

But an increasing number of Americans and Canadians are learning how to break down what seems like an overwhelming challenge into manageable steps…

And it just got easier…

A host of changes and improvements to the online working world have put the dream closer than it has ever been before …

Those changes are turning former realities into myths. Don’t make your decisions today based on last year’s “facts”…

Myth #1—It is difficult for Americans or Canadians to work abroad because of visa and immigration restrictions.
It is true…sort of…

Most countries around the world are justifiably very protective of the jobs their citizens hold. They don’t want a flood of newcomers putting the local population out of work.

Hence immigration and visa rules, regulations and strict enforcement prevent this from happening.

But there is a loophole…

In most countries, if you do work over the Internet and the money you earn never goes into the local currency and you are (for example) paid in your home country you can steer clear of the problems you might have if you try to go to work in your new home town abroad.

This is the breakthrough! In most countries, a wide variety of work over the Internet is a “go.”

(You’ll want to check with an immigration attorney to fully counsel you on this…rules vary widely from country to country…but the news on this is pretty good for Internet workers.)

If you use your brain…

If you work or have worked with your brain you are a good candidate for being able to sell your thinking ability, talking ability, human interaction skills, writing skills or knowledge (yes, even medical professionals, engineers) to someone somewhere in the global economy.

Myth #2—You have to be a technology god to work online.

Fortunately…today… getting online in your host country…is usually a no-brainer in most parts of the world.

But I have seen situations in some places where people on one side of the street had Internet and people on the other didn’t.

But the real question is:

“What kind of work do I do online if I’m not a tech wizard?”

Freelancing is the best choice for the beginner. ..hands down…

You can start small, build it up and work as little or as much as you’d like.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of assignments like proofreading, editing, writing, creating instructional videos, covering a customer service shift, giving advice and just about any other skill you ever heard of (and many you haven’t) are in demand on some job network, somewhere, right now.

There is something almost everyone can do right now.

Venice-Annalisa Weller

Myth #3—The best time to start earning in a foreign country is after you get there.

It certainly can be done, I know many who have …but it comes at a high price.

When you start working online you become a citizen of a new world…the online world…and things are a little different.

Just like when you moved to a new town. It took a little time to get acclimated to your new surroundings. The same is true in the world of online work.

When you first start you will be setting up accounts on various project networks and collaboration websites. You’ll also be linking your bank account to your “job site.”

Deposit Slips on Steroids

That way, when you do work and get paid the money goes straight into your bank account without all that messy deposit slip stuff.

Setting all that up before you go will save you… my guess… at least 50 hours of work and a mountain of aggravation.

Think about it, working over the Internet was nearly impossible 5 short years ago. The job networks were much smaller, the technology was feeble and there were very few tools to help you get up-to-speed and productive quickly.

Today, job networks are doubling (or more) in size every 12 months, technology is more solid everyday (and now mobile) and there are a host of tools that make worldwide collaboration easier than ever before.

2. One of the barrier islands

Beautiful Caribbean property located in Costa Rica, near Port Moin & Port Limón.

Millions of dollars have been recently invested into both ports to increase cruise ship access. A number of hotels & resorts from tropical lodges to bio-reserves to luxury hotels are taking advantage of the less developed and therefore less expensive coast of Costa Rica by investing in this area as well. This makes it the ideal time to invest before the prices go up & rival the Pacific coast prices of Costa Rica. The Tortuguero National Park, located just north of this property, offers ecco tours with turtle watching, bird watching, sailing along canals, and an enormous variety of flora and fauna. It is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, even though it can be reached only by airplane or boat but which keeps the environment in pristine condition. Just south of this property is the Southern Caribbean region with its beautiful beaches with both swimming and surfing. Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, and Gandoca Manzanillo are the villages that best represent the Caribbean flavor with their architecture and cuisine. A variety of tours can be found in the area including canopy tours, horseback tours, nature observation, the canals of Tortuguero, pineapple plantations, tropical flower plantations, sugar haciendas or banana plantations and city tours.

Unwind from the fast-paced world… INVEST IN PARADISE! Flying over the east coast of Costa Rica into the capital of San Jose, one catches the first glimpses of the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea, the lush barrier islands and the gorgeous beaches. As you get closer to the barrier islands, you’ll see the rainforest that lines the river on the west side, where monkeys, toucans, kingfishers and macaws share this paradise. The Caribbean coast stretches 125 miles between Nicaragua and Panama. Your piece of paradise is nestled on a barrier island and is approximately 3,140.94 meters square or 33,810 square feet. The buildable area has 2 cabanas, caretakers’ residence & a cabana. It has 2 septic systems with public metered water services, as well as telephone & internet. Dish Network is available…can you believe it, all the way in Costa Rica? World Health Organization quotes, “One of the best places in the world to live.”As they say in Costa Rica,”Pura Vida!”

Puerto Limón, the most important port on the Costa Rican Caribbean coast, has an abundance of nearby vegetation and a very friendly Afro-Caribbean culture. This port is close to the Panama Canal, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Southern part of the United States. Some of the money invested into this port is being used to dredge a new harbor. It will be 14 m deep with a 500 m turning diameter. The port complex offers all the necessary services for an adequate operation, such as drinking water, fuel, pilotage, medical services, and more. The cruise companies docking here include Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Premier Holland America, and several others. The cruise season generally runs from October through April.

The Port of Moin is 8.2 kms to the west from Limón. The Limon-Moin port complex is one of the most important of its kind in Central America. It connects Costa Rica with major international markets in the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

property offered by Annalisa Weller, aweller@prutropical.com, Prudential Tropical Realty, 2331 4th St N, St Petersburg, FL 33704

SARASOTA, Fla. – March 15, 2012 – The strength of the Canadian dollar, sustained low pricing in the U.S. housing market, and perceptions regarding the general economic outlook continue to encourage Canadians to purchase a home in the Sunbelt states.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2011 Profile of International Buying Activity, Florida and Arizona are top choices because of their favorable winter climate. In fact, 58 percent of all international sales in 2011 came from just four states: Florida at 31 percent, followed by California at a distant 12 percent, Texas accounted for nine percent and Arizona at six percent.

Even for international buyers it’s location, location, location. Forty-three percent of those surveyed report a favorable location as their clients’ most important factor when choosing where to purchase. That was followed by 27 percent who stated their clients’ top reason to buy in the U.S. was that they view U.S. real estate as a profitable investment.

Canadians specifically purchase due to a perceived positive return on their investment. They also showed a strong desire for a lakefront recreational location. In fact, eight percent of Florida re-sales were to Canadians in 2010. Similar culture, closeness to their native homeland and lack of a communication barrier are also factors steering Canadians to the lower 48 U.S. states.

The NAR profile also showed that in the 12-month-period ending March of 2011, Canadians accounted for 23 percent of all foreign buyers – the largest of any country. In a 2010 article, Canada’s largest daily newspaper The Globe and Mail reported that a vast majority of Canadians were paying cash for their purchase.

“There are few lenders who have a mortgage process tailored for Canadians looking to purchase a home in the U.S.,” said Sheila Blom, Florida mortgage market manager for M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. “Our parent company is based in Toronto, so naturally we have relationship products specifically designed to meet the needs of Canadian customers for purchasing or refinancing their primary residence, second home or investment property in the U.S.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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