New York Times Article About Real Estate in Dominical, Costa Rica

Photo

Moshen and Julie Sadeghi own an 8,000-square-foot Spanish colonial and Mediterranean-style estate with a guest house and private theater on a plateau overlooking the bay in Dominical, Costa Rica. Credit Julie Sadeghi

DOMINICAL, Costa Rica — On the two-lane road running along the jungle-covered coastline, it is easy to miss the steep turnoff for this tiny town, a rocky unpaved road leading to a row of open-air restaurants, hostels and surf shops.

For years, property industry observers predicted that Dominical would be the next boomtown in Costa Rica, after the coastal highway was paved four years ago, connecting the area to the north. But it hasn’t happened.

A few small condominium developments peek out of the lush jungle canopy on the steep hillside, but there has been little of the mass development found on other parts of the coast. The electricity still goes out regularly and most of the restaurants do not require shoes.

Big waves remain Dominical’s primary attraction, drawing surfers from around the world.

“It really hasn’t changed that much,” said Moshen Sadeghi, a resident of Minneapolis, who first started coming here 16 years ago with his wife, Julie. “It’s a surfing town. Kids come here when they have money to spend. They just want to surf.”

The Sadeghis’ driveway is a bumpy, winding three-quarter-mile trail up a steep hillside, best accessible by a vehicle with four-wheel drive. Their home, finished in 2010, is a sprawling 8,000-square-foot Spanish colonial and Mediterranean-style estate with a guest house and private theater on a plateau overlooking the Dominical bay. The surrounding jungle is home to howler monkeys, three-toed sloth and loud toucans.

Before the coast highway was paved, visitors to the Dominical area needed to take a long and often treacherous mountain route from San José, the capital of Costa Rica. Or they would need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to follow the rocky road from Quepos, 45 miles to the north, a journey that could include fording several rivers, depending on the time of year.

“It would take one and a half hours to get here from Quepos, it was so bad,” Mr. Sadeghi said.

Home prices in Dominical soared from 2003 to 2007 in anticipation of the road’s completion and as the building of an international airport nearby was discussed. Several developers announced projects, touting the region’s rugged coastline and secluded beaches.

With interest growing, a two-bedroom villa with a pool close to the ocean sold for approximately $450,000 in 2007, compared with $275,000 in 2005, agents say. (Costa Rica properties are typically listed in dollars.)

But the market stalled in 2008, in the wake of the economic turmoil in the United States. The majority of international buyers in Dominical are Americans, who mostly disappeared after the crisis.

When the paved road opened from Quepos in 2010, after years of delays, it had little effect on the market. “Bad timing,” said Joshua Kanter, an agent with Properties in Costa Rica, a real estate agency. In 2010, “you could make an offer for 30 percent off and get it.”

Today the half-finished shells of projects started in the boom years can be spotted on the hillsides. But sales are picking up, agents say.

“The fire sales are not as numerous now,” said Dave West, co-owner of the Re/Max real estate franchise in Dominical. They sold more property in 2014 than in any of his previous 10 years, closing five deals, compared with two in 2013.

Prices are still depressed but are returning to precrisis levels, Mr. West said. Buildable lots for single homes are also popular, with land prices still about 40 percent below peak levels, he said.

“The people buying lots are 30 to 40 years old,” he said. “They’re reserving their spot for 15 years from now.”

Several small developments are under construction, including the first units in Playa Hermosa Villas, a development planned to include 26 villas and 12 condos, a few miles south of Dominical.

“I’m all in right now,” said Robert Ruggieri, the developer of Playa Hermosa Villas. He said Dominical was “going to go from a little surfer town to a mini-Guanacaste,” referring to the fast-growing region on Costa Rica’s northwest, where Four Seasons and Marriott hotels anchor luxury developments.

Mr. Ruggieri bought nine acres for the project on the coastal highway in 2009 for $700,000, which he estimates was about 50 percent below the price three years earlier, at the height of the market. Prices in his project start at $339,000 for a 1,389-square-foot villa and range to $419,000 for a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom unit with a two-car garage.

Dominical is starting to attract more upscale travelers, beyond the surfers and ecotourists, Mr. Ruggieri said. He has forsaken the Mediterranean style popular in the area for stark modernistic units, with large windows, chrome accents and square edges.

“I took a gamble,” he said. “I think the new contingent is going modern.”

Some local residents are skeptical that Dominical will ever see a wave of mass development. The mountainous coastline makes it difficult to build. And there is little land available along the narrow beachfront, where development is restricted by the government.

“There is only so much that can be built,” said Julie Stewart, a real estate agent based in Austin, Texas.

Last April, Ms. Stewart and her husband, Jeff Windham, bought a house outside Dominical on a four-acre lot, a short drive from the coast. They paid $350,000 for the 2,000-square-foot house with three bedrooms and an infinity pool, after embracing the “relaxed feel” of the area.

“We loved the fact that it didn’t have all the resorts,” Ms. Stewart said.

She would like to see a few more restaurants and small hotels in the area. And it would be nice to see continued improvements in the power grid. But she’s not eager to see the large development found in many Central America beach spots.

“If this stays nice and small and doesn’t have any huge resorts coming in, it would be great,” Ms. Stewart said.

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International Real Estate Listings – My Podcast Interview

Joshua Kanter Discusses Real Estate in Dominical Costa Rica

by Taylor White

The IREL Podcast by Taylor White > Dominical Costa Rica real estate > Joshua Kanter Discusses Real Estate in Dominical Costa Rica

Joshua Kanter Discusses Real Estate in Dominical Costa Rica

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I had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Joshua Kanter from Properties in Costa Rica in Dominical Costa Rica – and we will get down and dirty with the Dominical real estate scene – and have you coming away wanting to investigate it’s local property market further – or, cross it off your short list entirely and continue listening.

Right now from Josh you will learn:

  • Why he passed on the more well known expat communities of Jaco and Tamarindo – and why he believes you could do the same.
  • What constitutes properties located inside the Maritime zone – and then how those are different than fee simple titled properties.
  • Where the heck Dominical is even located on a map of Costa Rica – and what lies all around it.
  • The exact types of properties Josh is recommending today – and explains what “suitcase ready” means and how you can profit.
  • Breaks down strategies to get money together to buy Dominical real estate – and shares data on what percentage of buyers pay with cold hard cash.

Josh’s contact details:Joshua Kanter Discusses Real Estate in Dominical Costa Rica

Listening options:

Concession vs. Titled Property

Many people looking for property in Costa Rica want a beach front home only steps from the sand and waves.  However, these types of properties are almost always concession with very few exceptions.  Concession properties are those within the first 200 meters form the median high tide mark.  Fee Simple Titled properties are all those outside of the 200 meter Maritime Zone.

Concession Property: The Zona Maritimo Terrestre (ZMT) or the Maritime Zone is 95% of all beachfront property in Costa Rica.  There are a few exceptions of properties that were titled before this law was put into effect in 1977.  The Maritime Zone consists of the 200 meters from the median high tide mark; with the first 50 meters being designated as public land for public use.  The next 150 meters of land can be possessed through a granted concession; which is basically a lease that is typically 20 years and can be renewed.  Concession also differs from Fee Simple Title in that a foreigner can only own up to 49% of the concession.  A local resident must own the other 51%.  However, if a foreigner has been a resident for 5 years or more, then they can be majority or 100% owner.

The type of structure allowed on a concession property can vary from tourism hotel and restaurant to private residence.  All permits and permissions must be obtained from the local municipality; which will approve any and all construction plans.

Titled Home and PropertyTitled Property: Fee Simple Titled property is the same as in the U.S. and has the same absolute rights for foreigners and Costa Rican nationals alike.  As owner of this type of property you have the right to own it, use it, enjoy it, lease it, and transform the property in line with Costa Rica laws (for example cannot clear cut the rain forest to build your home).  Fee Simple property can be any property outside of the aforementioned Maritime Zone.

All title properties, as well as concession properties, will have a ‘Plano’ or plot map and are registered in the ‘Registro Nacional’ or National Public Registry.   This is public information and can be accessed online at: http://www.rnpdigital.com/index.htm

Costa Rica Real Estate Market Recovering

The Costa Rica real estate market was booming for years prior to the global financial crises and took a major hit as did the rest of the world.  Currently the market is recovering, prices have stabilized, and future outlook is extremely positive.  Joshua Kanter of United Country – Properties in Domincial discusses the current Costa Rica real estate trends and investment opportunities in the Southern Zone.

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica (PRWeb) November 30th, 2012

Costa Rica has historically been a profitable real estate investment with 15%-20% year over year returns from 2000 to 2008, until the financial crises hit the U.S. and rest of the world. This once hot and booming market drastically cooled with a downward turn.  This has caused previously over inflated real estate prices to drop to realistic and fair market values over the past few years.  The result; prices are the most affordable they have been in years and investors once again are buying homes and property with the opportunity for future gains.

FDI in CR 2006-2011

Foreign Direct Investment in Costa Rica 2006-2011

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Costa Rica reached record levels in 2011 and is expected to outperform those numbers for 2012.  *see graph from AM Costa Rica 

International Living’s Ronan McMahon ranked the Southern Zone of Costa Rica 3rd of 27 on the list of “The World’s Best Real Estate Markets for 2012”.  The results were based on the following criteria:

“The top five places in this Global Real Estate Index are all fast-emerging beach locales. These are places on the up…where it’s still not too late to get in. Each offers outstanding natural beauty. Real estate prices are affordable. And something is happening that I believe will push prices higher. These are places where you can work with reliable contacts; your rights are enshrined in law and the costs of buying, selling, and holding real estate range from ridiculously low to affordable.”

Ronan McMahon’s conclusion for the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica was as follows:

“…Costa Rica’s Southern Zone stayed off the radar, though. And it’s nicer than up north, the area most folks know.

Bright, thick, green jungle canopy rolls down to a coast of sandy beaches and rocky points. It’s truly stunning.  And, while prices in other parts of the country soared, prices here stayed low. It was difficult to get to. But a new, smoothly-paved coastal highway has changed that… 

…It’s very good value for money. Because of the new road, I expect prices will rise. And that makes the appreciation potential strong, too.”

Uvita - Whale's TailCosta Rica has been ranked the best country for real estate investment for the upcoming 2013 year according to International Real Estate Investments Magazine.  Not surprising considering the stable government, property rights for foreigners, and close proximity to the U.S. and Canada.  Additionally, the Baby Boomer generation is beginning to retire with many looking for opportunities abroad and this trend will continue to propel the Costa Rica real estate market for years to come.  The Southern Zone is poised for the greatest potential increase and return on investment due to advances in infrastructure, increased worldwide recognition, and ideally tropical setting.

Joshua Kanter of Dominical Property, S.R.L. predicts a positive trend in the coming years, “We have seen an increase in inquiries and buyers on the ground this past year and are optimistic for the upcoming 2013 high season and beyond. Most of the ‘Fire Sales’ have been bought up, although there are still great deals depending on an individual seller’s financial position.  The Southern Zone is Costa Rica’s last frontier and the real estate market with the most potential upswing for investors.  If the planned International Airport for Southern Zone becomes a reality; that will be the ultimate game changer for this area as it was for the International Liberia Airport in the Northern Zone.”

Contact:
Joshua Kanter, Agent
United Country – Properties in Costa Rica
Website: http://www.DominicalProperty.com
Blog: http://www.DominicalProperty.WordPress.com/
Toll Free: 1-888-679-1227

FIRE SALE!! – Home in Lagunas, Dominical

REDUCED BY OVER $1,000,000 USD!!!!

Asking Price: $590,000 USD
Property Size: 7,584 m² / 0.75 hectares / 1.88 acres

The ultimate in luxury with top of the line finishes throughout the home and a large infinity pool with spectacular coastline views all the way to Manuel Antonio.

End of the road privacy within the exclusive community of Lagunas and only 15 minutes to Playa Dominical.  Property includes large home, huge pool, garage and garage apartment of 1,500 sq ft, plus another big home site ready to build.

The main house has an open living room and kitchen overlooking the pool and view and a there is a spacious master bedroom and bath with Jacuzzi tub.  Downstairs there is a self sufficient studio apartment with full kitchen as well.  The un-used flat area between the garage and garage apartment and the main house could be used to build an amazing dream home and the current main house could be turned into the pool/guest house.

The amazing view spans all the way to Manuel Antonio and enjoys breathtaking year round sunsets. There are also mountain, valley, and jungle views with daily wild life visits such as White-Faced Monkeys, Toucans, Parrots, Sloths and more.

The property also borders a 75 acre private nature reserve with trials for hiking and nature watching.  This is the perfect property for retirement residence, luxury vacation rental and second home, or family home in paradise.

The finished homes have top of the line finishes such as; ceramic tile roofing, granite everywhere, slate tile flooring, infinity pool, satellite TV, 3 full kitchens, high-speed internet,  handmade custom wood cabinets, and more.

Additional Options for Sale: 2 Homes with 30 acres of land for $1,750,000 USD | 2 Homes with 100 acres of land for $2,750,000 USD

Costa Rica Offers Baby Boomers a Second Chance at Retirement

This is Dominical Property’s first Press Release and it got a very positive response and even made Yahoo! News and many other online news outlets:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/costa_rican_real_estate/baby_boomers/prweb10102981.htm

Costa Rica is a natural choice for Baby Boomers due to its year round temperate climate, lower cost of living, advanced medical sector, and a short flight from most of the continental U.S. Joshua Kanter of United Country – Properties in Dominical discusses current retirement trends in Baby Boomer retirees.

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica (PRWEB) November 06, 2012

Costa Rica has historically been a retirement haven for ex-pats and will be one of the top destinations for Baby Boomers to retire. The Southern Zone and Playa Dominical area are fast becoming more popular with retirees due to unparalleled natural beauty, laid back healthy lifestyle, easier access, plus convenient hospitals and clinics. Dominical Property, S.R.L. is a local real estate and property management expert that specializes in making the transition to Costa Rica as smooth as possible.

Baby Boomers Facts
-76.4 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964 (U.S. Census)
-A Baby Boomer turns 60 every 8.5 seconds (U.S. Census)
-More than 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire every day for the next 19 years (Pew Research Center)

According to Mary Furlong’s book, Turning Silver into Gold the top 3 financial concerns of Baby Boomers are as follows:
1.) Having enough money to retire
2.) Overall financial well being
3.) Having enough money for health care

So what will Baby Boomers look for in a retirement destination? Basically somewhere they can make their savings last and enjoy an active lifestyle, while staying fit and healthy.

The quality of life in Costa Rica is some of the best in the World and it has been ranked #1 on the Happy Planet Index (New Economic Foundation) for two consecutive years. The medical care in Costa Rica is also some of the best in Central America; as many travel here specifically for medical tourism. Most all fruits and produce are grown locally; meat and poultry are fresh; and seafood is plentiful.

Costa Rica has many micro-climates, but more and more Baby Boomers are exploring the Southern Pacific Zone. This area is best known for Playa Dominical, which was 18th on CNN Go’s list of the “World’s 50 Best Beaches”. The Playa Domincal area offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, an abundance of wildlife, miles of secluded beaches, numerous waterfalls, and tons of outdoor activities from adventurous surfing, hiking, rafting, and zip-lining to more relaxing hobbies such as; bird watching, beach combing, fishing, and whale watching.

The Dominical-Uvita area, also known as Costa Ballena, has experienced recent growth and popularity due to the new Caldera Highway and paving of the Coastal Highway from Quepos; now only a 3 hour drive from San Jose. Also the Quepos Regional Airport is 30 minutes from Dominical and services daily commuter flights from San Jose.

Costa Ballena has all the amenities a retiree wants in casual and fine dining restaurants, banks, shopping, supermarkets, mechanics, pharmacies, and clinics. There are also 3 hospitals with in 30 to 45 minute drive in Quepos, San Isidro, and a new hospital in Cortes. The city of San Isidro is 40 minutes from Dominical and is one of the fastest growing cities in Central America. Modern conveniences mixed with a laid back lifestyle and lush rain forest surroundings make this one of the most desirable areas of Costa Rica.

Joshua Kanter of Dominical Property, S.R.L. (http://www.dominicalproperty.com/) says, “Our most common clients are those nearing retirement looking for a second home to eventually live here full or part time. Or those seeking ocean view property to build their dream home. Plus the Southern Zone still has very affordable real estate prices compared to other regions of Costa Rica real estate and this allows an investor’s dollar to go a long way.” He continues, “We have also seen an increased trend in retirees renting long term prior to a purchase in order to make sure the Costa Rica lifestyle is truly for them.”

Dominical Property, S.R.L assists Baby Boomers in retirement relocation with a wide array of Dominical real estate listings for sale and rent. The company can also manage a second home, recommend real estate and residency attorneys, and help facilitate the building process. The Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica is becoming a World class retirement destination and allows Baby Boomers a second chance at retirement.

Contact:
Joshua Kanter, Agent
United Country – Properties in Costa Rica
Website: http://www.DominicalProperty.com
Blog: http://www.DominicalProperty.WordPress.com/
Toll Free: 1-888-679-1227

Why Use a Certified Real Estate Broker in Costa Rica

There is no required license to sell real estate in Costa Rica and not even a mandatory class or exam.  This has lead to basically anyone that wants to try and sell property calling themselves a realtor or broker, creating a website, and listing properties without any experience.  When choosing a realtor in Costa Rica make sure they are at least a certified and active member of the Cámara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raíces (CCCBR); which is the Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers Board.

CCCBR members are held to an international standard of ethics, professionalism, and have completed the course on Costa Rica Real Estate practices and laws.  Active members are also affiliated with the following international associations and federations of brokers:

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), The Federación Centroamericana, Panamá y el Caribe de Asociaciones y Cámaras de Bienes Raíces (FECEPAC).

Members of the CCCBR also have access to list property on the only official Costa Rica MLS database and utilize the network of professional brokers.  Other qualifications your Costa Rica Realtor should have are as follows:

  1. Permanent Residency to legally work in Costa Rica.
  2. Multiple years of experience in the geographical region they are selling Real Estate.
  3. Fluent skills in both Spanish and English.
  4. Network of contacts such as lawyers, architects, builders, and insurance agents.
  5. Recommendations from past clients.

Joshua Kanter of United Country – Properties in Dominical is a certified and active member of the CCCBR, NAR, FIABCI, and FECEPAC.  He is also a Permanent Resident with family residing full time in Dominical, Costa Rica.  Joshua speaks fluent Spanish and can help you with the buying or building process; and can even manage your property or home after the purchase.

Call or Click Today….
Joshua Kanter, Agent
United Country – Properties in Costa Rica
Website: http://www.DominicalProperty.com
Toll Free: 1-888-679-1227