Did Taxes & Tourism Blow Costa Rica Real Estate Out?

Costa Rica Real Estate Listings

I just received an e-mail from a reader that shamed me into sitting right down and writing.

I have read your face book page and articles on the tax issue there.

I had been planning to take a trip in March in the hopes to travel to Domincal and Uvita nd look at some land that over looks (has view of) the playa. But with all this discussion of election and no tourism and the tricky tax factor it sort of puts a damper on it.  Was this a major blow to the real estate and tourism market, and did it blow you out?

I’m sorry but I’m not aware of the negative effect that the election could have on a land purchase in Costa Rica so I’m not able to address that.

As for tourism – well now that’s an interesting topic.

Tourism has been as hot here over this last holiday season as I have ever seen.  With the new road from Dominical to Quepos, I think that we’re really in for it here.  I understand that the status of tourism is currently anybody’s guess.  Around here it feels like we are in a growth mode. Granted, I haven’t read a lot of media recently and I don’t have a TV, so as a news source I’m limited to what I see and feel.

Over the holidays Uvita was caught by surprise.  The grocery shelves were bare and we spoke with people everyday looking for a place to stay.  I think that everyone found a bed and it felt like one big party around here. I think that it is notable that the beer supply seemed to hold despite what appeared to be a gargantuan demand.

Although the crowds have left, the festive feel continues with a good strong tourist presence.  So, without reading an article to the contrary, I’d say that tourism is alive and well in Uvita and Dominical Costa Rica, and that the prospects for the future are bright, especially with the two new segments of road making the drive from San Jose to Dominical a 2 hour and 40 minute affair now, instead of the former 4+ hours and some of that on teeth loosening dirt roads.

I have not seen an article written from your blog or website in February on your website so I want to know if you are still in business down there?

Well, I thank you for getting me off of my butt to get this article posted.  I sure don’t want to give the impression that we’re out of business.  Our lack of posting is a testament to our being busy.  Rod and I have been doing quite a bit of real estate business.  We’ve done some deals, and more are coming our way.  All of the agencies are reporting the same, some with best ever numbers – (I heard this last part through a third party, but I hope to confirm it shortly.)

We (Guys In The Zone) have also moved up in the world – literally. Whereas we used to be in the B & M Supermarket building on the ground floor on the northwest corner, we are now up the blue spiral staircase immediately above our old office.  Moving offices is a major pain, but we’re nearing the end of the process and loving the added air flow and light pouring in the windows.  We are now in the spot previously occupied by The Rainforest Internet Cafe.

More Excuses:
I had to fire the company that was running my website www.dominical.biz for the last few years.  After having gone through several such relationships, I have concluded that I’m the only one that can run it, so I have taken it on and have launched the new version of it.  I also threw a new-ish website into the mix www.uvita.biz.  So these projects have kept me hopping.

About that Luxury Tax:

I have had a number of clients report to me that they have found qualified accountants to do the evaluation of the  property to see if they were exempt or had to pay.  They had to pay $125.00 US to get the evaluation, and they all were exempt, even though they had sprawling and nice properties.

The criteria for evaluation is very different towards the low side from what materials are actually worth.  The limit is somewhere around $175,000 worth of constructed value.  If you are evaluated at having that much constructed value on your property, you will pay an additional and nominal tax.

I had one example of a beautiful home with two additional rental villas on the same property coming in at a $100,000 value, and heard other similar stories.

The general feeling is that the intent behind the law was good, but that the law itself was poorly written and difficult to enforce and understand.  Many are speculating that the law will be trashed and perhaps tried anew in the future.

So, I’m not seeing any dissuading factor there.

The world economy is the thing that I wonder about.  I think that it is going down and that we are either in, or heading into, a deeper second dip.  I don’t know how that is going to affect us here.  If it means that tourism goes down, we still may see more people re-locating here to Costa Rica’s southern zone. I can’t think of a better place to ride out a global economic crisis.  Or, it may be that as in crisis’s in the past, there will be those that find the ways to capitalize on the situation and they’ll have money.  I suspect that these folks’ll want to come here.  I think that real estate will be traded on the basis of buying it to live on and do business on.  Some may use it as a sanctuary for storing money, but that is the stuff that gets my head spinning a bit.  I can’t help but think that real estate in The Zone is a good place to store cash during a crisis, but there are WAY better minds than mine for such things.

I am interested in this area of course because of the recent road down there and the airport promised at some point in the future.

I’d be very happy to show you what’s available when you come down. It’s a great time to buy here as there are some hot deals.

I’ve been told that some can’t find our listings web site from this blog.  So, I’m going to put a ridiculously large link here to help find it.

Thanks so much for writing and giving me the incentive to get back to the blog.  Please feel free to use the comments function below to post any further questions you might have.  I think that others probably share your questions and thoughts and so can benefit from the interchange.

Costa Rica Real Estate Listings

2 thoughts on “Did Taxes & Tourism Blow Costa Rica Real Estate Out?”

  1. Ben I just drove The New Road on monday….what a treat!! People in Alejuella have told me that folks in the central valley are thrilled about the road. Getting to the South Coast is a dream now and more inland citizens will travel to the coast for vacations and to buy properties as will others from afar come to buy. In my humble opinion, folks who have land or homes in the Zone are fortunate but perhaps those who wait a year before buying, may not be so fortunate. During my present visit to the S. coast I have not observed as many tourists as I have previously at this time of year. Arguably there isn't the discrectionary spending money around right now but US housing starts are reportedly up and forcasted for more growth plus there is a lot of interst in CR from China. The Canadian economy is wheezing back to life and I hear some posative news coming from other quarters of the globe. I hope you and Rod have a GREAT year.

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