All individuals and private companies , local or foreign, can own land and property in Costa 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 perhaps to the other ministries and institutions for pertinent information. There are some excellent Real Estate agents (not all agents are honest and looking out for your best interest so be mindful of this when choosing one to help you) 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 and if you can prove income in Costa Rica, banks will finance up to 80% of the appraised value of your real estate purchase. Monthly payments can not exceed 30% of your monthly income.
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 anythying within the first 50 meters of the high tide line. This some is for the public and can not be turned into a private beach.
Beach front 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.
There are no capital gains taxes on real estate currently so it is an excellent investment for the right piece of property. You do have to pay yearly taxes, but they are low by U.S. standards.