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Thinking of buying a property in Guanacaste? You're not alone!
Many people are enchanted by Guanacaste's Costa Rican beauty and dream of owning a beachfront villa or a modern condo with ocean views there.
Does it make sense from a financial perspective, though? Are property prices increasing in Guanacaste? How much does it cost? Should I buy property in Tamarindo or Playa Flamingo? And the taxes? What yields can I expect?
We've got it all sorted. No worries.
At TheLatinvestor, we've done our homework on this market. Actually, we've organized all our findings in a pack. Get it now.
In this article, get ready to receive valuable insights from us.
How is the property market in Guanacaste?
When evaluating the strengths of a property market, everyone has their own opinion. We do things differently - we rely on data and actual facts.
In Guanacaste, you can find a variety of properties for sale.
These include beachfront homes offering stunning ocean views, cozy condos nestled in resort communities with access to amenities like pools and golf courses, rustic countryside estates surrounded by lush nature, and charming townhouses located in bustling towns.
Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat, a vacation getaway, or an investment opportunity, Guanacaste offers a range of property types to suit your preferences and needs.
Buy or rent?
(If you're buying for yourself and not to rent out)
If Guanacaste, the beautiful province of Costa Rica, has captured your interest as a place to settle, you might be considering whether it's better to buy or rent a property.
Usually, buying is better than renting in Guanacaste due to the potential for long-term appreciation in the area's real estate market.
However, if you prefer flexibility, go for renting.
Property prices in Guanacaste
On average, according to the updated data from Central Bank of Costa Rica, buying a property in Guanacaste would cost you around $3,700 per square meter.
It's just an average. The value of a square meter for a beachfront property in Guanacaste might differ from a mountain retreat. You'll get a more detailed in our pack for buying property in Guanacaste and in Costa Rica.
To help you understand better, it means that, instead of purchasing a flat in Manhattan, you can obtain 4 properties in Guanacaste.
Furthermore, housing prices in Guanacaste are slightly cheaper (-8%) than in Tamarindo.
The most expensive places in Guanacaste are probably Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Conchal, while the cheapest are most likely Liberia and Nicoya.
First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Costa Rica remains, today, a very stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 41.
Consider this when wondering if it's a good investment to buy a property in Guanacaste.
Besides that, if we look at the IMF's GDP forecasts, Costa Rica's economy is expected to soar by 14.1% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
If you want to invest in real estate in Guanacaste it's a good thing because, usually, when the economy grows, people make more money, and this encourages them to invest in real estate, which drives up the demand and prices for properties.
Also, in Costa Rica, the average GDP per capita has changed by 7.2% over the last 5 years. It's a solid number.
This trend can lead to a rise of property prices in Guanacaste over the course of 2024 and also later on.
Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Costa Rica right now.
Buying property in Guanacaste
It can be difficult to buy property in Guanacaste due to the lack of reliable and updated information on the market. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Guanacaste and in Costa Rica.
In our pack, we've explained the entire buying process in detail. We've provided clear information about prices and yields based on the area, guidance on negotiating the price, and options for securing a mortgage.
Now, we're offering you a simpler version, step-by-step, to make it easier for you to grasp.
This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Guanacaste:
- Research Guanacaste property laws and restrictions for foreigners.
- Select a reputable local real estate agent or lawyer familiar with the region.
- Search for properties in Guanacaste that align with your needs and budget.
- Conduct thorough property inspections, verifying water rights, and assessing environmental impact.
- Negotiate the purchase price and terms, considering closing costs and property taxes.
- Draft a legally binding purchase agreement, including the "promesa de compraventa."
- Retain a notary public to prepare the official property transfer deed ("escritura pública").
- Perform a title search with the National Registry to verify property ownership and encumbrances.
- Secure financing or transfer funds through a Costa Rican bank for the purchase.
- Sign the transfer deed in front of the notary and the seller.
- Pay the mandatory property transfer taxes and registration fees.
- Register the property with the National Registry to complete the acquisition in Guanacaste.
Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Costa Rica.
Make a profitable investment in Guanacaste
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Where to find a property
Discover your dream property in Guanacaste with the help of these websites.
- Costa Rica si - Offering outstanding properties for sale in Costa Rica, including homes, condos, lots, and commercial properties.
- Zucaes Real Estate - Specializing in finding properties in Costa Rica, providing a comprehensive selection of homes, rentals, and condos in various areas of San Jose.
- Costa Rica 1 Realty - A real estate agency in San José that offers property sales and rentals, providing comprehensive assistance and a wide range of options in the western area of the city.
- Real Estate Costa Rica MLS - Offering a diverse range of residential and commercial real estate listings, including homes, condos, land, and luxury properties.
- RE/MAX - A reputable real estate agency specializing in properties in the Playa Jaco and Central Pacific Costa Rica area.
Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Costa Rica.
Which properties for which budget?
As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Guanacaste is $3,700. A 1-bedroom property with an area of 60 square meters would cost approximately $222,000, whereas a 2-bedroom property with an area of 85 square meters would cost approximately $315,000.
Of course, the price of properties can be influenced by their qualities and the area they're in.
Investing in real estate in Guanacaste's prime locations often comes with a heftier cost. A residence in Playa Flamingo might be about $900,000, while an apartment in Playa Conchal could cost around $390,000.
Of course, certain regions are more affordable. You may find a residence in Liberia for $370,000, or a residence in Nicoya priced only at $230,000.
Find a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in Costa Rica.
- Ambiguous property boundaries due to informal land subdivisions (cabeceras) common in rural areas.
- Restrictions on beachfront properties within the Maritime Zone Law (50 meters from high tide).
- Potential issues with water availability during the dry season (limited water sources).
- Difficulty obtaining permits in ecologically sensitive areas like near national parks or protected zones.
- Foreign ownership regulations may have limitations or complications.
- Existence of "concession" properties where the land is leased from the government and not privately owned.
- Local customs like "right of way" for public access through private property may impact usability.
- Varying property taxes and documentation challenges can arise during the buying process.
We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.
Everything you need to know is included in our Costa Rica Property Pack
Living in Guanacaste
Living in Guanacaste offers a laid-back lifestyle with beautiful beaches and a warm climate, making it an ideal place to purchase a vacation or retirement property.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Guanacaste is generally lower than in many other parts of Costa Rica, making it an attractive location for those looking for a more budget-friendly lifestyle. Groceries and other essential items are generally cheaper than in other areas of the country, while housing costs can vary depending on location.
Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Guanacaste, Costa Rica:
- Traditional "Gallo Pinto" breakfast at a local "soda": $5-$8.
- A bottle of "Imperial" beer at a beach bar: $2-$4.
- Rent for a beachfront condo in Tamarindo: $1,200-$2,000/month.
- "Guaro" (local liquor) bottle for home use: $10-$15.
- Neighborhood "Playa Flamingo" property purchase price per square meter: $2,500-$4,000.
- Surfboard rental for a day: $20-$40.
- Freshly squeezed "pipa" (coconut water) from a vendor: $1-$2.
- Monthly yoga classes in Nosara: $40-$60.
Areas and spots
We like to show information in an easy-to-understand way. So, we made a table that summarizes the different parts of Guanacaste. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.
Tamarindo is a popular beach town with a vibrant expat community and thriving tourism industry, making it an attractive location for property investment.
High demand for vacation rentals, consistent influx of tourists, and a wide range of amenities.
Competition from other investors, potential environmental concerns due to high tourist activity.
Playa Flamingo is an upscale coastal area known for its stunning beaches and luxury resorts, making it a prime choice for high-end property investments.
Exclusive and sought-after location, attractive to affluent clientele, and potential for high rental income.
Limited available land for development, higher property prices, and vulnerability to economic fluctuations.
The Papagayo Peninsula is an emerging luxury destination with upscale resorts and golf courses, offering great potential for high-return property investments.
Expanding tourism industry, increasing interest from international buyers, and strong government support for development.
Limited existing infrastructure, longer timeframes for property appreciation, and potential environmental regulations.
Playas del Coco
Playas del Coco is a lively beach town known for its bustling atmosphere and a wide range of entertainment options, attracting both tourists and investors.
Strong rental demand, affordable investment options, and a growing community of expats.
Urban development challenges, potential seasonal fluctuations in tourism, and limited upscale property options.
Nosara is a laid-back coastal area known for its eco-friendly and wellness-focused community, making it an attractive destination for sustainable property investments.
Growing interest in eco-tourism, strong sense of community, and opportunities for eco-friendly developments.
Limited accessibility, zoning restrictions, and slower property appreciation compared to more touristy areas.
Monteverde is a lush cloud forest region popular for its biodiversity and eco-tourism, offering unique opportunities for nature-oriented property investments.
Increasing eco-conscious travelers, potential for eco-lodges and sustainable developments, and unique selling points.
Remote location, limited infrastructure, and potential weather-related challenges.
Life in Guanacaste
Guanacaste has a strong agricultural sector, with tourism and light manufacturing also playing a role in its economy. The region has seen a steady growth in recent years, with the economy being bolstered by a thriving service sector.
What expats usually like the most in Guanacaste is the stunning coastline, with its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, as well as the laid-back lifestyle that the region offers.
Access to healthcare in Guanacaste is generally good, with several public and private hospitals and clinics available for medical care.
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Renting out in Guanacaste
This section is for you if you want to buy property solely for renting out and earning income.
Buyers in Guanacaste often do not rent out their properties due to the region's appeal as a preferred location for personal use, such as retirement or vacation homes, rather than for investment purposes.
If you decide to rent out long-term, you might want to target people who are looking for a relaxed, beach lifestyle, such as retirees, expats, and digital nomads. Guanacaste is known for its beautiful beaches, so this group of people will be looking for a place to enjoy the sun and ocean.
Here is a little summary table we've made for you.
|Property type and area
|Profiles of potential tenants
|What they are looking for
|Expected monthly rent in $
Condo in Tamarindo
Beach lovers and surfers
Proximity to the beach and vibrant nightlife
$1000 - $1800
Villa in Playas del Coco
Retirees and expats
Community amenities and relaxed lifestyle
$1200 - $2200
House in Nosara
Nature enthusiasts and yoga retreats
Serenity and access to wellness activities
$1100 - $1800
Apartment in Liberia
Professionals and city convenience
Close to businesses and transportation
$800 - $1200
Beachfront Condo in Papagayo
Luxury seekers and vacationers
Exclusive beach access and upscale living
$2000 - $3500
Cabin in Rincon de la Vieja
Adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts
Proximity to national parks and outdoor activities
$900 - $1500
Apartment in Santa Cruz
Local families and professionals
Central location and community services
$600 - $1000
Now, you will probably ask us about the yields. Unlike other places, giving you an average rental yield for Guanacaste is though. The region is quite varied. For example, rental yields in Tamarindo and Liberia are quite different from those in remote locations.
Finally, know that, in Guanacaste, the taxes stand around 15% of the total rental income.
You could also decide to rent short-term to travelers and vacationers looking to explore the beaches, jungles, and volcanoes of Guanacaste. Additionally, business travelers and corporate teams looking to take advantage of the local resorts and conference centers may be interested in short-term rental options in the area.
If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo, as they are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Guanacaste. Both offer a wide variety of vacation rental options and are close to many amenities and attractions.
Is it worth buying real estate in Guanacaste (Costa Rica) then?
Buying a property in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, can be a fantastic decision for those seeking a tranquil retreat, investment opportunities, or a place to enjoy the region's laid-back lifestyle.
If you're looking for long-term appreciation, Guanacaste's stable economy and positive GDP forecasts suggest a promising real estate market. The area offers diverse property types, catering to various preferences and budgets. While property prices vary by location, the overall cost of living is generally lower than in other parts of Costa Rica, making Guanacaste an attractive option for those seeking an affordable yet beautiful place to live.
However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. The property buying process in Guanacaste can be tricky due to ambiguous boundaries, beachfront property restrictions, and foreign ownership regulations.
Also, rental income potential varies, so you must carefully consider your goals and property type.
In the end, buying in Guanacaste is a good idea if you value tranquility, long-term investment potential, and a relaxed lifestyle. But if you prioritize flexibility or face challenges with property regulations, it might not be the best fit. Ultimately, your budget, location preferences, and goals should guide your decision, and seeking professional guidance is crucial in this unique real estate market.
Make sure you understand the real estate market in Guanacaste
Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Costa Rica. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.
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