Real estate professionals working in Central America weren’t surprised by the “low transparency” result given to Central American countries by Jones Lang LaSalle in their 2012 Global Real Estate Transparency Index. Official property statistics are not available in countries like Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua or Panama and the same property can be marketed by different brokers for vastly different prices. North American buyers used to Zillow-type house price estimates and the niceties of a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) don’t always understand this. So many don’t get the information they need to make an informed investment decision.
It’s against this background that Reveal Real Estate and Global Property Guide have prepared the 2012 Central America House Price Snapshot. The study provides an apples to apples comparison of the sales price of a typical three bed home across 12 different property hotspots in Central America. The results are generated by a special Benchmarking Group of recognized real estate experts with in-depth knowledge of their local market.
“It’s a simple dataset that helps set expectations and compel action,” according to Claudia Gonella, co-founder of Reveal Real Estate. “We wanted to provide the most straightforward representation of the market.”
The snapshot shines a light on 12 of the most popular purchasing destinations for international investors. Often described as “hotspots,” these are locations with inherent natural appeal and local attractions that draw in tourists as well as real estate investors. Places like Ambergris Caye in Belize, Tamarindo in Costa Rica, Boquete in Panama and San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua.
- The median house price for the 12 markets was $260,000
- The average house price for the 12 markets was $285,000
- A $425,000 price gap was found between the most expensive market (Placencia Peninsula, Belize) and the most affordable market (Granada, Nicaragua). Note: The house identified in Placencia, Belize is located on the beachfront
- In all locations the price for a typical three bedroom house was below $580,000. If we remove the beachfront property identified in Placencia from the sample, in the remaining 11 locations the price for a three bed house was below $380,000.
- The two lowest priced markets are located in Nicaragua.
- The two highest priced markets are located in Belize and Costa Rica.
The snapshot (available at http://www.revealrealestate.com/snapshot) can’t compete with the mountain of market data available in more mature real estate markets, but it’s a first step in improving the flow of information to buyers and sellers interested in opportunities in Central America.
The Central America House Price “Snapshot”
|Country||Area||Single Family Home Specs||Sales Price USD|
|Belize||Ambergris Caye||3 bed, 2 bath, 2,000 sq ft, 0.11 acre lot*||295,000|
|Belize||Placencia||3 bed, 2 bath, 1,860 sq ft, 0.36 acre lot**||575,000|
|Belize||San Ignacio||3 bed, 2 bath, 2,000 sq ft, 0.36 acre lot||255,000|
|Nicaragua||Granada||3 bed colonial property||150,000|
|Nicaragua||San Juan del Sur||3 bed, 2 bath, 2,000 sq ft||199,000|
|Nicaragua||Tola||3 bed, 2 bath, 2,325 sq ft, 0.25 acre lot||329,000|
|Costa Rica||Ojochal||3 bed, 3 bath, 2,200 sq ft, 0.25 acre lot||265,000|
|Costa Rica||Santa Ana||3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2,000 sq ft||212,000|
|Costa Rica||Tamarindo||3 bed, 3.5 bath, 1,700 sq ft on a 0.12 acre lot||375,000|
|Panama||Boquete||3 bed, 3 bath, 2,800 sq ft, 0.35 acre lot||235,000|
|Panama||Coronado||3 bed, 3.5 bath, 2,583 sq ft, 0.25 acre lot||330,000|
|Panama||Panama City||3 bed, 2 bath, 2,400 sq ft, 0.36 acre lot||200,000|
* Property not sold.
** House is located on the beachfront.
The 2012 Central American House Price Snapshot coordinated by Reveal Real Estate and Global Property Guide, reveals the sales price of similar homes across 12 real estate markets in Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The study relies on input from members of a special Benchmarking Group comprised of recognized real estate experts in Central America who were asked to report the sales price of a “typical house” in the last year for a specific area.
The “typical house” is defined as a single family home, approximately 2,200 square feet in size with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, on a lot no greater than ¾ of an acre located in a “middle market” neighborhood where international real estate investors are purchasing.
Benchmarking Group Members include:
Ann Kuffner, Escapeartist Belize
Macarena Rose, Rainforest Realty
Petra Wolf, Coldwell Banker Belize Real Estate
David Joyce, RE/MAX Colonial Properties
Brooke Rundle, Coldwell Banker Nicaragua Real Estate
Jeff Soderlind, The Horizon Group
Steve Linder, Pacific Lots of Costa Rica
Ivo Henfling, GoDutch Realty
Joost Hauwert, Hidden Coast Realty
Paul McBride, Boquete Highlands Real Estate
Mike Vuytowecz, Inside Panama
Kent Davis, Panama Equity