Welcome to our 2022-2023 annual market recap and quarterly-market report for Costa Ballena real estate for the fourth quarter of 2022 (October to December). Osa Tropical Properties is the only office in the Costa Ballena region that provides a quarterly market report, offering sales totals and statistics that give a fair representation of our local real estate market.
This report is not intended to be a form of financial advice as it is not verified information by any governing body and is the result of our independent research and reporting. Costa Rica real estate does not currently have any official MLS system and there are no governing bodies that offer sales reports for Costa Rica’s real estate markets.
At Osa Tropical Properties, we find it valuable to offer our clients an overview of our real estate market that is based on data, even if it is incomplete. For this reason, we choose to create our own real estate market reports that are based on verified information that we accumulate throughout the year from our network of trusted real estate brokers and agents who we work with in Costa Ballena. Through this encompassing network, we share information about properties for sale in Costa Ballena that gives us a fairly accurate understanding of the real estate market in this region.
OTP Market Report Methodology
For this report, we have analyzed hundreds of properties that were listed for sale and sold in 2022. We encourage our clients and blog readers to contact our office for further information about this and other reports so that we may offer a more detailed understanding of how we create our reports and give further insights into the data.
We have chosen not to include previous years in many of our chart comparables in this report because 2022 was a unique year in Costa Rica’s real estate market. Regular travel resumed to and from Costa Rica in late 2020 and in 2021, our website traffic more than tripled that of 2019, which was a record year for travel in Costa Rica.
What this market analysis will show is how real estate trended in Costa Ballena in 2022, how the different real estate market segments performed, and what today’s Costa Rica real estate buyer is typically looking for.
*Click here to read our previous quarterly market reports.
There are, however, a number of real estate transactions that take place outside of our traditional real estate brokers’ network in Costa Ballena. As hard as we try, we do not have access to all of the information about real estate sales and development in Costa Ballena, Costa Rica. We do our best to create an MLS-like website that is easy and informative to use and osatropicalproperties.com is in fact the #1 most viewed website for Costa Ballena real estate according to the web traffic ranking website, SimilarWeb.
Osa Tropical Properties is an independent real estate agency operating within a small network of brokerages in the Costa Ballena region. Each of the established real estate agencies in this region is connected via an internal network of information exchange that allows us to advertise listings for sale in Costa Ballena that our office does not directly represent. This exchange gives each brokerage a similar advantage to find buyers for the properties for sale in this region.
There are, however, developers who prefer to sell their constructions on their own and these types of properties are difficult to source information on. Therefore, we have omitted many of these sales in our market report for this region.
Market Highlights for 2022 Costa Ballena Real Estate
Costa Ballena real estate closed off 2022 in traditional fashion with the fourth quarter as the slowest of the year. October, November, and December are typically the quietest months for travel to and from Costa Rica (aside from the latter half of December). However, 2022 saw total sales values higher than the same period in previous years.
266 property transactions took place in 2022, with 213 transactions closed and 53 still pending at the end of the year. The total value of closed property transactions in our Costa Ballena real estate analysis for 2022 was $129,651,455 with an additional $27 million left waiting to close in 2023.
The first quarter of the year started out with a bang at close to $50 million in sales between January and March during the busiest season for tourism in Costa Rica. But it was the third quarter of 2022 that was by far the busiest of the year with $53 million in sales over 77 transactions. This period between July and September is surprisingly one of the busiest in real estate in Costa Ballena. The warm summer months in Canada, the United States, and Europe keep casual travelers at home but bring serious buyers back to catch a glimpse of what life looks like at different times of year in the place that they are looking to buy.
About Costa Ballena Real Estate in 2022
For the purposes of our market reports, we chose to break down the wider Costa Ballena region into three distinct areas that revolve around the towns of Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal. Each of these three towns features numerous services and amenities that make them each a hub for their many surrounding neighborhoods.
The Dominical area is the most northern community hub in Costa Ballena. The town of Dominical is a sleepy beach town that has seen a few critical infrastructural and commercial upgrades in recent years. The many developments in town are a reflection of the growth in population and wealth in the neighborhoods surrounding Dominical that use its services regularly.
The Dominical area includes the very popular ocean-view neighborhood of Escaleras as well as a number of other mountain and coastal communities such as Baru, Lagunas, Platanillo, Dominicalito, and Puerto Nuevo.
Central Uvita continues to be the main commercial hub for all of Costa Ballena as it is home to the only bank branches and select government offices in this region. Uvita also has the most options for supermarkets, medical offices, and restaurants. The town of Bahia near central Uvita is home to the Marino Ballena National Park, which is the main reason why this is the most popular area for tourism in the Costa Ballena.
Ojochal is the southernmost portion of the Costa Ballena and for the purposes of our market report, we count everywhere south of Ojochal up to Cortes (20km south of the entrance to Ojochal) as a part of the Ojochal area, including Tres Rios, Vergel, and Chontales.
Ojochal has long been known as the ‘culinary capital of Costa Rica,’ though in recent years it appears to be have strong, new competitors in Uvita and Dominical. Ojochal is still home to some outstanding dining options that include Citrus, Heliconia, and Exotica, among a number of others.
The total property sales in Dominical for the fourth quarter of 2022 were just over $14 million. Homes in this region averaged around $942,500 for 3.2 bedrooms in this period.
Vacant residential lots were sold for an average of $333,000 for about 2.48 acres or around $134,000 per acre for vacant land in the fourth quarter of 2022.
As well as having the highest price per house and vacant land, properties in Dominical generally sold for around 96.6% of the list value in the Dominical area, which is the highest percentage in the Costa Ballena region.
The highest value area for homes in Costa Ballena in 2022 was in the neighborhood of Escaleras, where the average sold value in the fourth quarter of 2022 was $1.7 million for about a 4777 sq. ft home on approximately 4 acres.
Dominical area property sales totaled over $67.7 million for the whole of 2022, which saw average property prices of $914,923. Properties in Dominical tended to sell for an average of 96.3% of their list price throughout the year.
Homes in Dominical spent a median of 246 days on the market in 2022 with many homes that have been listed for more than 5 years finally selling in 2022. The average list price for homes in Dominical was $1.14 million for the whole year.
The Uvita area’s total sales for the fourth quarter were just over $10.25 million. Homes in this region averaged around $575,100 for approximately 3.4 bedrooms in size during this period. Residential land in Uvita sold or went under contract for an average of $231,000 for about 2.8 acres, making the per acre price in Uvita around $82,500 per acre in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Uvita is home to the neighborhood of Bahia, where the most economical homes in Costa Ballena were found in the fourth quarter of 2022. The average sold price for a 3-bedroom home on 0.1 acres in Bahia was around $383,250 at the end of the year.
For 2022, Uvita real estate saw more than $31 million in transactions, and sold property values averaged $528,000 for this area. Properties in Uvita sold for around 96.7% of their list price in 2022.
Uvita homes for sale in 2022 spent a median of 114 days on the market and the average home price was $527,987 in the area. Vacant lots in Uvita could be found for an average of $195,000 for about 2.7 acres (around $72,000 per acre) in 2022.
Total sales for the fourth quarter were just over $16.6 million in the Ojochal area. Homes in this region sold for around $766,700 per 3.4 bedrooms on average in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Ojochal continues to be the town with the highest number of property transactions, representing 129 properties sold for a value of $57 million for the whole of 2022.
Ojochal’s real estate sales for the year were around 94.3% of their listed price. Homes in Ojochal were typically listed for 130 days and the average home sold for $656,514 in the wider Ojochal area.
Costa Ballena Real Estate By Category
The average sales price for properties sold and under contract in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 6% higher than the same quarter last year ($567,886 average value for all properties under contract in the fourth quarter of 2022).
Homes In Costa Ballena In 2022
Homes in Costa Ballena continue to be what the majority of buyers are seeking, selling more than $26 million in real estate in the 4th quarter alone and representing 52% of the real estate market for all of 2022. In total, home buyers purchased more than $108 million in Costa Ballena real estate throughout the year, and homes sold for 97.1% of their list price.
The average home value in 2022 Costa Ballena real estate was $767,405, which is slightly down from the year’s average of $768,857.
Of the homes that sold within 30 days, the average listing price was around $586,750 for approximately 2.5 bedrooms. These homes sold for 98.5% of the list price in 2022 and the majority of properties that sold were newer and more modern homes averaging around 2,450 sq. ft in construction size.
The Luxury Home Market
The luxury real estate market in Costa Ballena is slower than the traditional real estate market because the pool of buyers is smaller and destination real estate is already limited to a small buyer pool. Houses in Costa Ballena that took longer than one year to sell averaged around $1,250,000 in the listing price, which is considered to be in the luxury home price range in this region.
Of the houses listed at over $1 million in Costa Ballena, the total sales value for 2022 was over $43 million. These homes were listed for an average of 320 days (median of 130 days). The average value of these luxury homes was $2,162,350 for the year (a median value of $1,494,500 shows that there were a handful of very high-value homes that sold this year listed for far more than $2 million).
Luxury homes in Costa Ballena tend to be monumental in size, averaging around 6200 sq. ft. in construction. Luxury houses that sold in 2022 tended to be situated on ocean-view estate land that was an average of 6.3 acres with around four to six bedrooms. Luxury homes sold in Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal in 2022 were less than ten years old and featured mainly modern architectural style and decor. Around 15% of the luxury homes sold in 2022 were of a Colonial style.
Sixty percent of luxury homes that sold in 2022 in Costa Ballena were in the Dominical area. Ojochal and Uvita areas both had 20% of the luxury homes sales in 2022.
Land For Sale In Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal in 2022
Vacant lots for building a home in Costa Ballena accounted for $5.7 million in property sales in the fourth quarter of 2022. For the purposes of this market report, we have separated land into two categories based on size. Land that is under ten acres is in the category of vacant residential lots and land for sale over ten acres is qualified as a ‘farm.’
Land values of properties that sold in the fourth quarter of 2022 averaged $238,790, which is 9% higher than the 2022 average of $217,908.
During the whole of 2022, residential land buyers of under ten acres purchased nearly $18 million in Costa Ballena properties. Around ninety residential lots sold in 2022, averaging around 2.3 acres in size. Vacant residential land spent an average of 359 days on the market and sold for around 94.6% of the list price.
Farms, or fincas, in Costa Ballena are purchased both for the development of residential areas or for creating a more sustainable way of life for themselves and their families. Farms for sale in Costa Ballena closed for an average of $441,845 in the fourth quarter of 2022, which is less than the year’s average of $560,772. Farmland that sold in Costa Ballena in 2022 averaged around 37 acres in size and spent 670 days on the market. The farms that closed in 2022 sold for an average of 87% of their listed price.
Commercial Real Estate And Condos
Commercial real estate and condominiums continue to be the smallest markets for real estate in Costa Ballena. However, the commercial growth in this region has been significant in recent years, with a number of new strip malls opening to host more small and medium-sized businesses. Condominiums have not grown in market proportion in 2022; however, their resale values hold strong, reflected in the high list-to-sold percentage (condos sold for 98% of their listing price in 2022).
Commercial values were down in the fourth quarter at $959,250 as compared to the average of $1.1 million across 2022. Commercial properties that sold in 2022 averaged close to 7000 sq. ft. in construction and spent an average of 392 days on the market.
Condo average listing values increased in the fourth quarter to $711,667 as compared to $673,800 for the whole of the year. Only five condos were reported sold in our region for the year.
Stay tuned for next week’s 2022 market report breakdown with insights from Osa Tropical Properties realtors about 2022 in Costa Ballena real estate as well as their predictions for 2023. Contact our team with any further questions about the Costa Ballena real estate market by leaving a comment below.
A million US dolllars for a house in Costa Rica? I can get a nice house close to ocean near Fort Lauderdale and live right in the US! If Costa Rica is looking like this then it’s heading to the bubble.
Thank you for reading and for your comments! This is simply a scenario where time will tell. Prices are still going up and commercial investment is strong in this area. Walmart is building a Maxi Pali in Uvita (this is one of the Costa Rican supermarket chains they own in this area) which is a strong sign of things to come and many other commercial centers are opening in this area, beyond all of the new modern residences feeding the hungry market. Not everyone wants to continue residing in the United States and our region of Costa Rica is still priced far below other coastal markets to the North within Costa Rica. We are happy that you are satisfied with Fort Lauderdale and we wish you the best but we believe based on data we’ve seen that this market is still poised to grow. However, as we say, we don’t have a crystal ball and we cannot predict if this market is a bubble or not so we don’t presume to advise people that it will definitely grow — it is simply what we feel based on what we are seeing on the ground. People said the same thing at the start of covid that the real estate market here would crash and yet with 2/3rds of the tourism coming into the country since before covid, the market is stronger than it has ever been. Here’s to hoping it continues to thrive!