After more than 7 years of living in Ecuador, I can honestly say I have a pretty good grasp on Ecuador’s coastal real estate market. Since I have seen property prices rise at a surprisingly rapid rate, I will like to share a great Real Estate NY Times article that I read today and my personal comments on the topic.
For the article visit this link: House Hunting in…. Ecuador
My personal opinion is that the information you receive from online sources and printed material about living or retiring in Ecuador is not current with reality. When they mentioned beach properties in Ecuador between $10,000 to $50,000 US, I would say that in rare occasions you could find a local beach property at that price, maybe you will find a property that is in a remote beach area, or in desperate need of repair, or it has some legal problems and title problems.
Now Ecuador is a great “beach Paradise”, I honestly could say that is still one of the best Latin America destinations to live and retire; just that you have to be ready to pay a bit more than what is advertised at times. If we compare to other retire heavens along Central and South America, I will say Ecuador can offer you more value to your dollar: Political and Social stability, US dollar currency, beachfront property belongs to you, better weather not as humid or hot, growing economy and very warm and welcoming local people.
What you basically have to do to buy at real local Ecuadorian housing price is research the local market, you may have been told that there is no MLS services in Ecuador, but the real truth is that there are plenty of great local MLS services, I know there are in Spanish, but now a days as the industry gets more globalize, I am pretty sure that soon they will be offer different languages platforms.
Here is one Ecuador MLS that I use often for homes, land, condos sale in Ecuador: www.plusvalia.com
I would recommend doing your homework before getting involve with Real Estate agents or Lawyers in Ecuador, you will find a lot of times that this people are not up to date on prices and surroundings areas news. At times even locals or a person like me with years of local experience on developments can oversea markets tendencies or local governments problems, since it is an emerging economy, a lot of local governments are embracing new laws and changes.
This is exactly what happened to Playas just an hour drive from Guayaquil’s airport, it was expected for Playas to be the next beach spot, but Playas has stagnated in time, there has been no improvement on roads and basic services as it was promise, I would say that it has worsen in that past year, and the local Municipality has no mentioned new plans or improvements.
I’m sad since it is a great beach location with lots of sunshine all year round, but unless they are able to overcome their local politics, there is not much that it can be done.
All of these have push all other beach locations along Coastal Ecuador: Santa Elena to increase on price and demand: Salinas, Punta Blanca, Olon and many more are seeing great construction developments supervise by the local Santa Elena Municipality with great basic services improvements.
Few highlights from the NY Times Real Estate article:
The housing market in Ecuador, frequently touted as one of the best and cheapest countries worldwide for retirees, has been supercharged for the last five years, with home prices appreciating annually by 10 to 12 percent, Mr. Morrill said. The global real estate crisis of 2008 had no impact on housing prices there, with a large influx of Ecuadoreans returning home helping to maintain a robust market, he said.
“Prices are anywhere from 50 to almost 100 percent less than what you’d pay in Panama or Costa Rica, so it’s still very reasonable,” he said. And there are some signs the market may be cooling a bit, with this year likely to see home prices grow by only 7 to 9 percent, Mr. Morrill said. “There are some new regulations that will probably keep the prices pretty stable for a while,” he said. “These are new requirements for developers that will probably keep the inventory reasonable.”
Foreign home buyers in Ecuador are predominantly North Americans, though there are also Europeans, Australians and New Zealanders, agents said. There is a significant German expatriate community in Cuenca. Most recently, many Canadians have been in the market seeking homes in the coastal areas.
There are no restrictions on foreign home buyers in Ecuador. Bank mortgages are extremely difficult to obtain, and while some of the larger property developers offer short-term financing, it’s largely a cash market, brokers said.
A lawyer is not necessary to buy a home, but some brokers recommend that non-Spanish-speaking foreign buyers hire one, which typically costs about $850. The most important way foreign home buyers can protect themselves is by purchasing only properties that can be registered at the Real Estate Public Registry, Mr. Uhe said. “When you read about nightmares with home purchases in Ecuador, it’s all relating to properties that are unregisterable,” he said, which frequently has to do with title issues.
In general, closing costs range from about 1.5 to 2.5 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Morrill said. Traditionally, buyers pay the real estate agent’s fee in Ecuador, but that is changing in many areas, agents said. In Quito and Cuenca, sellers now pay that fee, which is typically 3 to 5 percent. In Vilcabamba, buyers still pay the broker’s fee most of the time, Mr. Uhe said.
Property taxes on this home are less than $500 a year, and the homeowner’s association fee is about $120 a month, Mr. Uhe said.
Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism: ecuador.travel/en
Home’s website: quintaesencial.com
Ecuador property blog: conquistadorinecuador.blogspot.com
Government of Ecuador: presidencia.gob.ec