Real Estate in Costa Rica
All individuals and private companies, local or foreign, can own land and property in Cost Rica. Potential real estate investors, and their lawyers, must first go to the National Registry for a title search, to the Ministry of the Environment and Energy for an environmental impact study, the local municipality for zoning laws and building permits, and the perhaps to the other ministries and institutions for pertinent information. There are some excellent Real Estate agents who can find you the property you want, as well as Title Companies that can perform the necessary Title Searches.
Home prices begin around $100,000. Banks in Costa Rica will finance up to 80% of the appraised value of your real estate purchase. Month payments may not exceed 30% of your monthly income. Repayment terms, depending on the bank, vary fro 15 years up to 30 years. However, paying cash will usually result in a better deal with the seller.
Legal residency is not a requirement in Costa Rica to own property. Foreigners are entitled to the same ownership rights as citizens of Costa Rica. Unlike Mexico, some beachfront properties may be purchased. However, the 200-meter strip of land along the seacoasts is owned by the government and for public use. It is prohibited to build anything with the first 50 meters of the high tide line. This zone is for the public and cannot be turned into a private beach.
Beachfront property is being bought up fast, and the price of this and other prime real estate is soaring – with much of it overpriced. There are also condominiums, farms, lots and ranches for sale at reasonable prices, depending on the location.
You will be pleased to know that no capital gains taxes on real estat4e currently exist in Costa Rica, so it is an excellent investment. You do have to pay yearly taxes, but they are low by U.S. standards.
The government has assumed a constitutional and legislative commitment to deregulation and privatization through a national consensus process. Instead of simply selling off state owned companies and institutions to the private sector, Costa Rica has opted for a phased opening up of areas such as telecommunications. For example, ICE, the Costa Rica Institute of Electricity, which today holds a constitutional monopoly in the field, will not be sold – the various telecommunications services will be offered as concessions, and ICE will become just another player in this modern, competitive branch.