By getting the jump on development it’s possible to spend under $100,000 in places like the pristine Ecuador coast from Pedernales to San Vicente, or the newly accessible Southern Zone of Costa Rica with prices a fraction of its trendy Gold Coast. An apartment in Uruguay’s Ciudad Vieja or Centro offers European flavor without the price tag, while attractive financing terms and developer incentives make pricier Brazilian property a better bargain now. See the following article from Pathfinder International for more on this.
When choosing the right overseas home, one of the most important considerations is the property’s price point. Today, we highlight locations with affordable real estate, typically for $100,000–or less.
Ecuador has some of the lowest-priced beachfront property in the region, and bargain highland homes.
We’ll start with Ecuador’s Pacific coast, home to some of the best-value beachfront property you’ll find. The section of coast between Pedernales and San Vicente in the northwest is the most under-developed. You won’t find high rises or mega-resorts. The pale beaches extend ribbon-like along the coast, untouched, empty, and beautiful. Semi-dry forest covers the hills.
Life here’s not about fancy restaurants, or the latest electronic gizmo. Some of the locals still get round on horseback. Swinging in hammocks is a popular way to pass the tropical afternoons. The pace of life is tranquil. There’s no pressure, no hurry, no stress.
This slumbering coast is set to change. Property developers are buying tracts of land for future projects. In the next two to three years expect to see the launch of larger developments, raising the bar—and prices—in the area. For now, prices remain affordable. One of the few developments you’ll find here is Coco Beach. At Coco Beach, you can build your own beach house for $105,000 (including the price of the lot).
Also in Ecuador, in the peaceful mountain town of Cotacachi, a casita (small house) in the village, built two years ago, and fully furnished, is available for $69,000. It currently rents for $500 a month. In Cuenca, in Ecuador’s southern highlands, $55,000 buys an 1100 square-foot apartment, centrally located, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. A 1600 square foot townhome is on the market for $89,000. It has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, with an open floor plan living area. It’s one of ten units in a gated community, and has a small back yard.
Costa Rica’s Southern Zone is still affordable—but if this “Path of Progress” story follows the same trajectory as the Gold Coast, we expect property prices to rise sharply. For now, they remain affordable…
In the 1980s, Costa Rica’s Pacific Gold Coast was a tough 5-hour drive from the capital, San José, on bad roads. Backpackers and surfers willingly braved the roads, but mainstream tourists didn’t. Property prices stayed low until road access was improved, and regular direct flights to the US brought in more tourists. Property developers snapped up beachfront and ocean view land. Prime beachfront lots quadrupled in value in the three years after the regular international flights started.
A half-acre ocean view lot can set you back up to $600,000 on the Gold Coast today. However, in another area of Costa Rica, a similar “Path of Progress” story is unfolding. The Southern Zone had stayed under the radar simply because it was difficult to get to. That’s changing. The upgraded coastal highway officially opened in January 2010. It was a 30-year wait for the new road, but the drive here is now fast, easy and comfortable. The contract for constructing an international airport is out for bids.
A half-acre ocean view lot in a private community here is $90,000, a fraction of the cost on the Gold Coast. Mountain view lots start at $40,000. The landscape in the Southern Zone is much more dramatic than the Gold Coast, too, with sharp, forested mountain peaks sloping down to deserted beaches.
Uruguay’s real estate market is slowly attracting the attention of US and Canadian property shoppers. For now, owning a Paris-style apartment, or a colonial home, costs considerably less than a similar property in Europe.
Montevideo in Uruguay features Italian-influenced food and Parisian-style architecture. The flair is European…but the property prices aren’t. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning an apartment with a wealth of period details, without draining your bank balance, look to the Ciudad Vieja and Centro neighborhoods.
A renovated 118 square meters (1270 square feet) apartment in Ciudad Vieja with two bedrooms and original wood and tiled floors is $89,000. A 192 square meter (2065 square feet) apartment, built in the 1920s, and in need of minor renovation, is $89,000. For $50,000, you can own a 500 square-foot apartment close to the city’s historic Port Market, in a Spanish-style colonial building. In Centro, a 1920s third-floor apartment needs some minor repairs, but 220 square meters (almost 2400 square feet) for $140,000 is hard to resist. That’s only $58 a square foot.
Brazil doesn’t have the lowest property price per square foot…but developer financing means low (or no) down payments, and affordable monthly terms…in one of the hottest real estate markets on our radar.
Last but not least, Brazil. It doesn’t have the cheapest real estate in the countries we cover, but it has the most widely available developer financing. Bank lending policies for both personal and home loans are very conservative in Brazil, and until recently came with exorbitant interest rates. Developers needed to find a way to make their units affordable for Brazilian buyers.
So while it’s not the cheapest market, Brazil is still affordable…because owning a second home here is possible without a large cash outlay. Developers offer no-money-down deals, and monthly payments of as little as 1% during the build period (and the build period is longer in Brazil than elsewhere in the region, at 3-4 years). Financing is often offered post-completion, too. Real Estate Trend Alert members benefited from these payment terms in a number of pre-launch offers last year in Brazil’s northeast, with the added bonus of pre-launch discounts. A condo currently on the market in a prime location on the boardwalk in Fortaleza is available for 210,000 reals ($119,315), payable over 101 months.
This article has been republished from Pathfinder International. You can also view this article at Pathfinder International, a site covering international real estate opportunities.