2017 Costa Rica Buyers Guide for Real Estate
For your convenience, the REMAX Jaco Beach team has put together this collection of answers to our most common customer questions. The Costa Rica Buyers’ guide provides resourceful information on the purchasing process in Costa Rica. However, the best assurance of a smart investment is through the advice and assistance of a local, knowledgeable RE/MAX professional.
General Real Estate Overview for 2016 Costa Rica Buyers
In 2016 the buzz about purchasing Costa Rica real estate is peppered with dreams of relocating and retiring overseas. Interesting enough the country is rising in it’s popularity with North American’s as real estate investment hotspot. This is a welcome turn in the local market that saw prices plunge and then plateau with the world market. So why are so many retirees choosing Costa Rica?
Costa Rica Ownership Rights
Unlike most Latin American countries, foreigners in Costa Rica have the same property rights as locals when purchasing property. This pertains to most of the property bought and sold, but there are a few exceptions that are important to know about.
Maritime Zone: In the 1970’s Costa Rica created a maritime zone – the property within 200 meters of the ocean. In all of Costa Rica, the 1st 50 meters from the median high tide is public beach. In 95% of Costa Rica, the next 150 meters is concession zone or leased from the government. In only 5% of Costa Rica, the beach is deeded, fee simple property – like Jaco & Hermosa where “you buy it – you own it!” Note – there are obstacles to foreign ownership of concession property. When purchasing property, do your homework and know the type of property you are considering.
National Registry: All properties are registered in a National Property Registry where titles are shown in a transparent manner. Anyone with an internet connection can go online and research their property title.
Buying in a Corporation: It may benefit you to purchase real estate in a Costa Rican Corporation. The benefits may include:
- Protections against personal liability.
- Ease of transfer after the death of a shareholder (owner).
- Provides legal structure for shared ownership.
Costa Rica Cost of living, Healthcare and Amenities
Although Costa Rica cannot compete with some of the less developed countries, the cost of living is low. Prices of services like healthcare and dentistry are 50-70% lower than in the US – with excellent quality. Phone lines, mobile phone service, cable TV, high-speed internet and clean drinking water are available throughout the country.
Property Taxes: Annual property taxes are extremely low at only .25% of the declared value ($250 per $100,000). Further, when you sell property there is no capital gains tax. Note – you may be subject to capital gains taxes back home. Tax laws are constantly changing. Consult with an international tax expert to make sure you are in compliance.
Costa Rica Political and Economic Environment
Most buyers find Costa Rica to be attractive because of it’s safe & stable political and economic state. Costa Rica has been minimally affected by the global financial crisis due in part to its conservative lending practices and strong local economy. In fact, no Costa Rican Bank failed during the 2008 world financial crisis. There were, however, many foreigners who owned property in Costa Rica but found themselves in financial trouble and needed to sell. The real estate prices have been stabilizing and slow rising. Overall it is a buyer’s market and deals still pop up for the savvy investor.
Costa Rica Climate and Landscape
Costa Rica buyers are finding a variety of pleasant climates. The country is lined by tropical beaches that offer an endless summer with temperatures that stay in the high 70s to mid-90s all year around. The central valley and highlands resemble spring with cooler breezes and temperatures that stay in the mid-60s to mid-80s all year around. If you want to browse through the different towns, which includes the average temperature just click on the town name.
With a variety of climates comes a variety of landscapes as well. The coast boast of white, black and cinnamon sand beaches. The areas that get more rain like the Central and Southern Pacific coast (including Jaco, Esterillos, Manuel Antonio and Dominical) says green all year it is called the “Green coast”. The “Gold coast” is the Northern Pacific or Guanacaste peninsula which stays much dryer with landscapes that will remind you of the Southern California hillsides.
The highlands change with the altitude. You can find mountain tops covered with coffee farms, cloud forest, and of course the urban jungle, San Jose which is come to the majority of Costa Rica residence. Nevertheless, approximately 25% of the landmass in Costa Rica is protected environmental reserves so nature is nearby no matter where you end up.
Costa Rica Buyers Guide Summary:
With the ocean, rainforest and mountains at your back door and all the technological amenities at your fingertips, Costa Rica is definitely the optimal combination between vacation ease, tranquility and everyday life.
The real estate buying process in Costa Rica need not be intimidating. By working with a qualified REMAX agent, having a general understanding if the process and pitfalls, you can confidently invest in and enjoy your property in paradise for years to come.