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
Olon Beach is one of the favorite stretches of beach along Ecuador’s Coastline. You have 8 miles of beach; also you can be 100 feet into the water and still only be knee deep and no rip tides. This laid-back coastal city sits approximately 195 km north of Guayaquil’s international airport and just 5 minutes from Montanita, another of Ecuador’s most popular beaches.
You can buy your Ocean view Luxury Condo at the best beach location in Ecuador and finance it through construction.
Prices starting from:
Suites: $79,000 US & Apart.: $92,000 US
• Pre-construction SALE
• 2 -3 Total Bedroom(s)
• 21/2 to 3 Total Bath(s)
• Approx. 1950 sq. ft.
• Balcony in each condo
• Luxury finishes
• Appliances included: microwave, stove and refrigerator
• Pre installed ducts for Air Conditioning
• 1 Car Garage
• Infinity Pool and BBQ area on the beach
• Direct beach access
• Building is on a corner lot
• Outdoors Family Area
• Landscaped Garden
• Building Security
• Fabulous Ocean View
Our financing will be for the 60% of the total price, which will be divided in the following forms of payments:
1. 20% at the purchase/sale contract.
2. 40% in quotas during construction period.
The project is held in escrow during the pre-construction phase by the selected title company, which is an insured account that holds your funds until construction starts.
SPECIAL ONE TIME PROMOTION: Inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was invited to visit a local architect in Cuenca for business purposes, what a brilliant opportunity for me to check the city as an expat, not only as the tourist visitor I had been before.
It was really impressive to see all the good work they had done on the highway from Guayaquil to Cuenca, the Molleturo highway. Driving time was around three in a half hour. It may vary depending on the weather conditions of the day; there is a dense fog that comes down through the mountains in the early morning and late afternoon. Also you will have to be a bit daring to handle all the sharp curves and up hills since it is a winding road; remember you are surrounding and passing through the Andes mountains range.
You could also flight from Guayaquil or Quito into Cuenca, personally that will not be my choice. There is only local airlines serving the city, and I am not really enthusiastic on the facility´s geographical location. It is a real personal choice, there is plenty of people flying in and out of Cuenca, lets not forget that it is the third largest city in Ecuador, and one of the most powerful economical group is base there.
To any new comer, this is a must sightseeing trip on the agenda. There is transition glow between the flat land of the coast to the mysterious even whimsical view of the valleys and the canyons between the mountains.
I would recommend arriving to one of the 2 international airports, Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito (UIO), and then drive, rent, or even take the executive transportation service (nice minivans) and go to Cuenca. There are local bus services that foreigners do use to travel inside Ecuador. If you need more details on any of these services please ask me.
Designated as a World Heritage Center by the UNESCO, you will find lots of helpful information about Cuenca on-line. I will have on going post about my experience there. They also ask me to promote some of the properties on sale by the project owner. I found great prospects in the construction area, as they tell you on must websites it is cheap to buy a house.
Cuenca is a very small city, at this point, I have come to the conclusion that the only metropolitan city is Guayaquil. Which is the significant economic, political, industrial and cultural center for the country and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications.
The market in Cuenca for brand new properties will provide you with high quality on wood work and ceramic tiles for a very reasonable price. I have not yet seeing in Ecuador something comparable to the wood work they have on kitchen, bathrooms and closets like the one I saw in Cuenca. They are also the manufactures of ceramic, marble and stone fixings; all of these together will deliver to you low-cost and great options.
In case your option it is to go for an old colonial building, you will have to hire a contractor that handles this type of renovations. There is a lot of empiric restoration done on some old colonial structures, but not well done enough to maintain its original qualities and beauties to last through another era in time.
I would imagine this as a great opportunity for job seekers in the construction and restoration area of colonial architecture. What you must keep in mind is that property owners, specially the local ones, can not afford spending on home maintenance as we accustom in North America. Please do assets the property with the help of and expert on the topic, this would be my valuable contribution.
Cuenca is well advertised as a heavenly destination to retire, there is no mistake on that, and you will find a crispy fresh air, colonial history and lots of fresh fruit and products suitable for low-budget retirees. This inland colonial town founded in 1557 still observes the formal orthogonal town plan that it has respected for 400 years. Cuenca’s architecture, much of which dates from the 18th century, was ‘modernized’ in the economic prosperity of the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine, straw hats and other products.
This place feels like it is seating through time without acknowledging the mayor changes happening the world, this can be very attractive to the ones looking to leave behind our very hectic world. In my case, I found it lovely to visit, to know history, the close up to natural Andean surroundings.
On the far side, I had problems with altitude; it had happened before in other high altitude cities, I was lucky to find a pill for dizziness that worked wonderfully. Also it is to cold for me, mornings and evening range from 5 to 15 Celsius, and then it can go up to 22 Celsius under the sun during the day. I need warm hot weather to feel active and do all my outdoor sports and activities. Last, I need the ongoing development and even the hassle of modern life.
Cultural life it is an ongoing tradition in Cuenca, locals have a great cultural background for which they feel very proud of. There is high level of interest in art, writing and music.
My first choice will always be Guayaquil, here I have access to local and international events and information. I am the kind of person that likes the hands on experience which will not be the same in a smaller town of Ecuador.
My ideal setting it is purchase a “finca” or small property in Cuenca that added to my condo by the ocean will indulge me with the settings that I enjoy the must. As I have mentioned before it is really easy to travel from one place to the other in this small and amazing country which I am loving it more every single day. Ecuador is life at is purest, multiethnic and multicultural diverse.
…. great overseas option, but for now I´ll stick to Guayaquil.
During this trip I had a chance to meet a couple of expats living in Cuenca, hopefully I will be able to get inside views and experiences on their own words, the pros and the cons of doing business in Cuenca and their experience with locals and other expats…. Keep checking for our next posts.
There is nothing unusual about the time 11:11 or the date 11/11/11, but our brains can’t help noticing the repeating digits, and seeing them as meaningful.
So while getting all this text messages about the great positive energies I was going to get at 11:11 am today the 11th of November 2011, my thoughts related this to a cute little Ecuadorian urban phrase “ponte once”, its literal translations is “ponte = put, once = eleven”, now the expressions real meaning is “be aware”.
On one side, I thought it will be good to learn a cute local Spanish phrase on my blog, but than, I realized how realistic this phrase would apply to the hall world today.
Ponte once – our reality check should be to hurry to Ecuador and beat the crowd!
If you’re at all interested on Ecuador, I’d suggest you get a move-on. The mainstream media is taking note of the tremendous values this country offers.
Lately we are seeing a lot more information about this little tropical country. Most travel, retirement or living overseas websites have picked Ecuador as one of their top “biggest-value buzz-worthy” destinations. As they rightly point out, Ecuador is “under appreciated.” Not for long, we suspect.
Now is the precise moment to invest in Ecuador just before the avalanche of baby boomers start searching for new locations where they could afford to live on their pension funds.
Beginning January 1st, 2011 every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.
What is so appealing about Ecuador? Your dollar will go further than other overseas retirement destinations. Locally people in Ecuador are hoping to keep the rate of inflation low in the long run. In places like Costa Rica or Dominican Republic, the real price-pushers were the expats retirees who focused on beachfront areas closer to their homeland.
Today Ecuador is very accessible from the U.S. — you can fly direct from both Quito and Guayaquil to Miami, Atlanta, Houston, New York, and Atlanta. Ecuador is an amazing, peaceful place with beautiful beaches, warm weather and really inexpensive beachfront bargains.
I will list some real facts to consider before making Ecuador your next overseas option.
Real Estate and property search:
- Coastal properties found at bargain basement prices, since Ecuadorians don’t value beach houses the same way that Americans do. They like to go to the beach twice a year during school breaks, stay in nice hotels, party and then go home to their big cities.
- Real estate prices in Ecuador have risen slowly since 2000. This almost dormant market may be attributed to the government switched to the American dollar as their currency in that year. My experience from mainly working with local experts has been that prices have stayed the same in recent years with the exception of select areas.
- House and condo rental rates are so cheap in Ecuador, it would be totally feasible to enjoy Ecuador without investing anything apart from your monthly expenses, thus reducing your investment risk dramatically.
- Coastal Ecuador is completely out of hurricane paths, and also this is your best option if you’ve ever wanted to walk away from long, bitterly cold winters and brutally hot summers.
- Foreigners could own property in Ecuador. You can buy directly from local property owners with nothing stopping you to do so. Search local real estate agents, preferably in person. Ask about their career background and their Ecuadorian real estate practices.
- Purchasing costs are low, hire a well informed Ecuadorian attorney that handles contracts, title searches and visas, one that does it all. There sales commission is only paid by the seller.
- Right now in the Ecuadorian market that commission on Real Estate goes around 3%.
- Ecuador has one of the lowest investment requirements to obtain a residency visa of any country I’ve investigated. One way to qualify is to purchase a property valued at $27,000 or more.
Be aware of the following:
- Mostly there are no licensed realtors and there is NO MLS or other listing agencies to help you on your property search.
- Real Estate Agents are not licensed professionals in Ecuador, since there is no recognized national authority that governs the licensing process, set guidelines or handles complaints for the licensed agents. It is not likely to change any time soon.
- There is no Multiple Listing Service; it is almost impossible to get online information for Real Estate in Ecuador, what you get mostly expats and gringos selling online. Just be careful, do your homework as there are many that will prey on an unsuspecting foreigner.
- You do not need to search out an “English” speaking real estate agent. I think a better course of action would be to seek out a trusted local that will help you with the language so you can deal with Spanish speaking owners directly.
- The increased exposure will push and turn Ecuador in to the next hotspot on the world´s beachfront real estate scene.
- Places a long the coast still lack basic infrastructure, especially for retired expats, like good access roads and some basic services. You could get by with wireless internet, bottle water, fresh fish and market stocks.
- The opportunity for rapid growth is due to a limited supply of property land. The Ecuadorian coast is not that big and large sections of it are uninhabitable due to national parks or swamps.
- In Ecuador, like most of Latin America, if the land is not in use, someone else could come “squat” on it, build, and claim it as their own. It doesn’t matter if it is legal or not, it happens. If you buy land, start building on it immediately.
- Try to be present when constructing your house if possible. If you are not around, you may have delays and cost overruns. It is a fact in Ecuador that many construction workers will steal materials and slack off if you are not around to apply a little pressure and enforce the deadlines.
Next post will be on purchasing costs and the real cost of living depending on where you want to live in Ecuador. Also some other details that I may have missed out today.
Smile!!!! We found your new sunshine hub.
Thanks to one of my readers, I came to the attention that in Ecuador there is no such a thing as “Short Sales” on properties. I will try to provide some inside view about Real Estate Sales in Ecuador.
Latin American countries have particular structural features that complicate the regulatory environment of capital markets and affect the effective execution of short sales on real estate properties. For local Ecuadorians to purchase a real estate investment through a lender (Bank or Government Agency) it is easy since the introduction of the US dollar as the official monetary unit for all banking and government transactions.
In theory financing is available in Ecuador, but in practice it is difficult to arrange for foreigners.
The Ecuador constitution guarantees free access to the banking and credit market to locals and foreigners alike. The same as it guarantees the free right to own and hold property.
You can buy real estate once you land in the country using only your passport as identification. This is not just a policy of the current administration that can easily be changed – the Ecuador constitution guarantees the right to buy and hold property for everyone, citizens and foreigners alike. In fact, once you are in the country with a valid visa, the Ecuador Constitution guarantees that you have the same legal rights as Ecuadorian citizens, with the exception that you can not vote.
Additionally, there are no restrictions on owning beachfront property as there is in some other countries. Real Estate problems have mostly been the result of buying property that the seller did not have the right to sell – a proper title search, or buying title insurance, mitigates this risk.
The difficulty that foreigners face on financing is the inexistence of a “credit rating” system in Ecuador. Adding to this, there is a high default rate in their financial system, so it’s hard to qualify for a loan without a local employment history or a co-signer.
A good credit rating in the US does not mean anything here. Interest rates are typically 12% or more, and 30% to 50% down payment is standard.
The great opportunity to take advantage is on Pre-Construction Featured Projects in Ecuador. You could finance your down payment free of charge and cero interest until the project is ready. Also you could sometimes get the sellers to provide future direct financing, but they will typically require at least 50% down payment.
Getting back to the term of “Short Sales”, the definition applied to this term in Latin America it is completely different, “short selling” relates to market shares or stocks. Latin American capital markets are characterized by the following factors affecting country risk perception from the international investor perspective:
- Reduced liquidity
- Limited price formation
- Unavailability of information
- Small economic size
All this facts makes it difficult to assess the appropriateness of short sales norms. Let’s say in Ecuador there is no currency market since their official monetary unit is US Dollar, so there is no possibility of short sell that would depend on the existence of a fixed or a floating exchange rate regime.
Therefore, Ecuador does not approved or makes it feasible to short sell in equity markets; there are no regulations on the topic.
This is the best place to invest in cheap property, not to go on market trading…
If you need help with information related to buying property in Ecuador at real cheap price let me know… Hereyou have a sample of a real cheap property only $ 65.000 US dollars on sale directly by owner, ocean side gated community in Playas Villamil, the best ocean weather in the world.
There are a lot of things going on in Guayaquil these days. Lately, I have been trying to catch up with all the business and social meetings all at the same time. My challenge is to keep up with the local paste to provide you with accurate information.
One good side of this “on the go” is learning the art of mixing business with pleasure. The smart and fun part of living and working in this small part of the world is realizing that Ecuadorians, especially people from Guayaquil love to entertain and socialize while doing great business deals.
After this cultural introduction let me tell you the latest news in this place…
Guayaquil as part of his itinerary, and he meet with British business representatives settled in this city. Through the meeting, he found out that they are expanding and doing well in their business. Examples of some of those are Unilever and SAB Miller.
Mr. Lamb came to the conclusion of needing a greater presence in this part of the country. UK aims to increase its investments in Ecuador and will make more inroads in the market for Guayaquil. Once in London, he will communicate to my authorities on the need to shift our resources from Quito to this city. Mr. Lamb also mentioned that UK Embassy colleagues agree that there are several business opportunities to explore here, at this new branch, they want to open new market opportunities for bilateral trade.
Such a great news for all of us that are investing in Ecuador, perfect timing and another good reason to add to the “Fiestas Octubrinas”. The city of Guayaquil – “La perla del Pacifico” is celebrating its independence day next Sunday the 9th.
There are a lot of cultural and social events this weekend. In my plans, I am starting the afternoon watching the soccer game as part of the selecting period for the “2014 World Cup in Brazil”, we will meet with friends for ceviche and beer. Later in the evening we all are going for some Salsa to the Duran Fair. Tomorrow I will visit the out door plazas with local painters exhibitions and shows, and Sunday on my way to Playas: biking, eating fresh seafood, and I must include a bit of work by visiting one of our on going projects to gather pictures for my clients overseas.
If you will like to know more about the local activities please watch the video and follow their link.
First working day of the month of October and by reading most of my friends and colleagues e-mails, I am realizing that weather change is approaching. It is getting cooler up north, and we are getting warmer here in our tropical Coastal Ecuador.
I use to enjoy and welcome fall and winter, it meant slowing down, looking intro perspective, and start building and planning my next steps in life. But also, this reminds me one of the main reasons to be living in Ecuador with this nice hot warm weather.
Around the year 2000, when I was developing my professional path in USA and Latin America, some health issues interrupted all my wonderful working and travelling plans.
Within all the travelling options, one was to visit family in Ecuador. Once on my trip, I ended up checking the local health and medical resources because of a severe pain crisis (spinal discs problems). I was basically pain managing for a couple of years but came to that point that I needed surgery.
Let´s make this story short, it was my second back surgery, I had already one done in Canada with success. So without even thinking or making my health a priority in my future plans, I review all the options and opted for the best ones at that specific moment:
1.- My medical expenses were covered here in Ecuador by my insurance policy
2.- I could opt for top level doctors and hospital beds, since the rates were lower here in Ecuador.
3.- All international insurance companies have local referrals that are practitioners who have done their studies in USA or Europe, even award winners professionals.
4.- Since I was covering expenses directly, I did not have to wait on line for tests or MRIs.
5.- I could set up myself in a nice upper scale condo with house help for less than 1.000 US. (I need 3 months at least to be able to drive again)
I had the surgery by a recognized worldwide surgeon, a nice recovering period, fresh home made food and care, and I was keeping up with my pending working projects and connected to the world by the internet.
Maybe this is not an option for everybody, still you could always research medical options overseas. There are online medical referrals to consult your options even here in Ecuador.
I will leave you with some nice pictures of some of my personal adventures here in Ecuador. I was asked by one of my readers if the posted pictures are original, I would say mostly they are. At times, some pictures are from other sources which may narrow the certainty of their originality.
P.S. Due to my health issues cold weather doesn´t agree with me, and in Ecuador, I am able to afford on going therapy and massages plus attend exercise classes like yoga and Pilates to manage my health as I am aging.
Now heading towards its 4th year, it is the leading event in Ecuador dedicated to educating investors and traders of all levels.
When you make the decision to buy a home to live in, or for an investment, it is critical that you immerse yourself with information and insights from trusted, experienced experts – and this is on-tap at the show.
With a major exhibition and over 70 high-powered seminars across three information-packed days, visitors will leave each show with a greater understanding of what’s required to make smarter (and more profitable) decisions when researching, finding and buying their next property in Ecuador.
As an independent exhibition participant our objective is to provide visitors with the opportunity to gain direct access to the most impartial, highly qualified and successful experts from Ecuador and around the world.
So if you only attend one property education event this year – make it EXPO-HABITAT 2011 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, one of the most leading events.
Local projects, properties and contractors… all in one place for you to search your best real local price property of your dream.
I trust the following website will provide you with an inside view of the show, I could help you out with all the information you need since everything will be outline in Spanish.
I will like to point out few things here which I believe are very important to take in consideration. Once a person decides to retire or live overseas, they are opening their minds to a complete new and different perspective in life, of course these underdeveloped countries or emerging economies, as I like to call them, have a whole different situation, may that be political or economical, but on the other hand, they do offer a great compensation by providing natural environments, health and a comfortable lifestyle under a small budget.. Most develop countries are saturated with environmental problems, and their economies are going under huge debt problems.
Saying this, I should also agree that few smart foreigners are taking advantage ahead of the game and overpricing local properties in this heavenly retirement option. One thing to be sure is that properties by the ocean in Ecuador are cheap, you should always buy from locals, anybody can buy properties here, you may need the assistance of a professional who is related to the local market, which will not jump the price to the American standards.
I am even seeing that companies who have been in the business of promoting Latin America as a new found heaven for retirement, are also making money by offering tours and seminars. This is not fair at all, there is plenty of information on the net, and Ecuadorians are very friendly and open people to welcome business from other cultures.
Don´t let anybody tell you differently, I wouldn’t like to see Ecuador being merchandise by people who are just taking advantage of a timing opportunity. Please get informed, of course as with anything else in life, you may come across and find dishonest people, but by asking for professional references, you´ll be able to avoid that, take your time and travel to Ecuador for a visit, see it your self, even if they try to point out that the actual president is following Venezuela’s foot steps.. I can tell you that Ecuadorians are a complete different story, they will never allow it…
Ecuadorians are very business oriented, and a very hard working society, they will always push their Politians to open the doors to the world. They had to go through a hall process of changes with their previous established politics to level the social standards.
I was born in Ecuador and raise in Canada, I have seeing both worlds, plus having worked in other countries, I am a citizen of the world, we should never undermine any place, I just think that there is a perfect place for every type of character in life and budget too….
I started writing about overseas living in Ecuador after my friends and clients ask me to please make all those tips of information available to the world.. so I went on with my brand new blog.. I am open to constructive critics, comments and if any body will like to collaborate please you all are more than welcome, it will be a great cause..
Presently working in the Ecuadorian Construction Industry with a major local firm, I am currently residing in Guayaquil, Ecuador, having moved recently from Miami, Florida where I resided for approximately 2 years.
Don´t forget always check local property market at real local prices! Here I leave you some properties images in Ecuador…