Costa Rica Real Estate Market Report for October 2019

May 12, 2023

This month’s Osa Tropical Properties real estate market report for South Pacific Costa Rica highlights the strengths and weaknesses in Costa Rica’s plan for promoting its top industry.


South Pacific Costa Rica’s real estate markets have grown significantly in recent years. 2019 has been our strongest year on record at Osa Tropical Properties. Retirees and non-pensioned investors looking for a simpler, more beautiful life, are finding value in our local property market in increasing numbers. Although we saw the typical decline in new inquiries between July and August, September has seen more inquiries than in previous years and we anticipate a busy high season in 2020. With the strong push for growth in tourism from Costa Rica's government comes a growing number of inquiries about what is on offer in our local real estate market. And based on Costa Rica’s recent international accolades, ad campaigns, and popular environmental policy, we can confidently forecast continued growth in tourism.  


In a world becoming more sensitized to the importance of protecting wilderness environments, it is easy to see Costa Rica’s appeal. It’s why many of us international residents have chosen to be here. We may or may not be headed for a global recession, but one thing’s for certain: Costa Rica is taking every measure to protect and promote its resources. Growth in tourism and promoting this country as a safe place for investment are top priorities for the current government.


World-Class Eco-Tourism Destination


Costa Rica’s president, Carlos Alvarado, attended a ceremony this week in New York City to receive the award for policy leadership from the United Nations’ 2019 Champions of the Earth.  The UN declared that Costa Rica “sets an example for the region and for the world” with its plan to decarbonize its economy by 2050.


“Receiving the Champions of the Earth award on behalf of Costa Rica, its entire population, the past generations who protected the environment, and future generations fills me with pride and emotion for what Costa Rica has achieved and for what we can continue to do because we can achieve even more,” said President Alvarado. “I feel very proud to be Costa Rican.” 


Costa Rica’s plan for decarbonization includes a new transportation system in the country’s capital that is focused on walking, biking, and an electric train. The country’s plan also includes better management of waste, cattle, agriculture, construction, and cargo. This is also the fifth year in a row that Costa Rica has run on more than 98% clean, renewable energy, according to data from the National Center for Energy Control (CENCE).


More Honors for Costa Rica


This honored designation is accompanied by Costa Rica receiving the top destination on Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the 40 most beautiful countries. The travel guide’s choice was based on the experiences that Costa Rica offers, like security, life expectancy, and natural resources. 


Travelers value the all-around attractiveness of Costa Rica, where nature reigns supreme in all its powerful beauty. 26% of this country’s entire territory is protected, hosting nearly 5% of the world’s total biodiversity. A high literacy rate, good health care, and a dynamic economy make this a friendly country that is ready and willing to welcome a growing number of tourists. Just in the first half of this year, Costa Rica saw 1,549,812 international arrivals by air, an increase of 8% over last year.


Growing Infrastructure


The Costa Rican government is also growing infrastructure to match the expansion of the economy. A new commercial route between Costa Rica and China has been inaugurated this month, offering an unprecedented opportunity for exporters of fresh produce, and for Costa Rica to receive goods directly from China. Costa Rica has also signed a five-year contract with Loksys International to improve the country’s freight and haulage tracking system. Ian McDermot, Managing Director of Loksys Intl said, “The growth of the Latin American economy is well documented and the secure collection, transportation, and delivery of cargo around the continent is the lifeblood of this expansion.”


Affordable Living in Costa Rica


Expats who choose to spend their retirement in Costa Rica are able to live on their Social Security check and still save money. Two people can live well on $2000 USD per month while still living a beautiful if relatively simple life. Within this budget for two, you may spend $300-$500 in groceries and $50-$100 on power, unless you love to run the A/C continuously. Car expenses like gas and maintenance can add another $200-$400 to the monthly total in our hilly South Pacific region. And contributing to the mandatory universal health care system costs about $90 per couple per month (depending on if you have an income or pension). And a $2000 USD per month pension is sufficient for a retired couple to receive residency. 


With an initial outlay of $200,000 USD for a property in Costa Rica, a non-pensioned couple has a clear path to residency. For the homeowners in Costa Rica, $2000 in monthly expenses per couple can easily encompass weekly outings to the many gourmet restaurants and lively, entertaining bars, as well as regular eco-adventure tours.


Retiring in the United States, on the other hand, requires a lot more planning and saving ahead of time. According to NerdWallet’s retirement calculator, a 35 year old who is earning $80,000 USD in pre-tax income would need over $1200 in savings per month to retire at 67, including their pension. And investors are finding value in Costa Rica's property market, which is heating up significantly in the vacation rentals market.


When it comes to a more beautiful and more affordable quality of life, it’s easy to see why Costa Rica is loved by so many. The growing number of expats and visitors to our Costa Ballena region are bringing more diversity to the local economy and the Costa Rican government is actively welcoming more visitors in the hopes of being able to better navigate a constantly changing global economic climate.


If you receive our weekly newsletter, you probably noticed that quite a few properties have sold this past month in our region of Costa Rica. If you don't currently get our newsletter and would like to receive weekly market updates about real estate in the Costa Ballena, sign up below.


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