Please give us your comments on the current real estate market conditions in your area and include prices where possible?
There continues to be demand for properties under $200,000, properties with financing available, and of course a number of buyers searching for tremendous value. The market continues to be a buyers market, and while there are great values to be found thoughout the region, the best of the best is clearly what has been selling, specifically those with prime views and ideal locations.
I think 2011 is a great barometer illustrating this point, as one of the best sectors selling this year has consistently been beachfront and oceanview properties. “In the past 6 months we have had 9 closings with an average sales price of $420,000.” Shawn Fletcher, Sales Manager for a developer which has 6 beachfront developments in Jaco Beach. “Five of those sales were to clients who live in Costa Rica which is fantastic because before the Caldera highway was complete, virtually all of our sales were made to clients outside of the country” added Fletcher.
I feel the entire Central Pacific has significantly benefited from the new Caldera highway making the drive from San Jose to Jaco just one hour. This has stimulated demand and sales from both Costa Ricans and expats who live in the San Jose area. Many of the most motivated beachfront sellers have sold in the past two years, so while there is still value to be found, it’s uncommon to negotiate much more than 10% under the listing price. With vacation rentals in most communities reporting an increase of 20-35% and improving infrastructure, many buyers are understanding the strong potential for rental income in the Central Pacific region.
What do you think makes the Central Pacific an attractive destination?
This area is all about comfort, convenience and infrastructure. Jaco is obviously the hub and center of all of that, as it provides services and amenities that most people want, but I think its important people realize choosing to be in this area is more than Jaco. This region is diverse, white sand beaches of Punta Leona, the Los Suenos resort with its 18 championship golf course and marina, rustic surf towns like Hermosa and Esterillos or beachfront living in Jaco, the region truly has it all. And if you get a little stir crazy the city is just over an hour away.
How has the Caldera Highway impacted your area.
The entire region has benefited, but Jaco has definitely seen the greatest impact. Vacation rentals in Jaco have seen a significant increase in demand from San Jose residents coming to the beach on a more regular basis. The short distance is changing the landscape for the traditional Costa Rican family vacation. Many Costa Ricans only went to the beach once or twice a year, now many are coming on a regular basis, with the new highway the beach is just an hour away so it’s an easy get away. Condo rentals are also an affordable and ideal fit for Costa Ricans, as they can travel in large families and all stay together. This is in turn is helping rentals, which helps sales. The increased traffic is also leading to new and improved commercial development. Remodeling of existing establishments, new restaurants, new cinema and theater (Jaco just opened a new cinema and will soon open up a new performing arts theater), all of this is a result of the highway.
What do you see moving forward?
I think you’ll really start to see Jaco transition into becoming the official beachtown of the Central Valley, and start to see more of an overlap of the two makets. We see more and more San Jose residents who make this area their weekend home, looking to escape the city. More traffic, more visitors, means more money coming into the area and in turn that will attract investors, new businesses and continued improvements. Sellers as a whole still aren’t dropping their prices much, I think you’ll see an occasional deal here and there, but properties under $200,000 will still be very limited in supply and high in demand.