August is one of my favorite months here in Santa Teresa. Almost every day of August we enjoy gorgeous sunshine, great waves and dramatic sunsets as the storm clouds move in for the evening. This is the time of the Humpback Whale migrations, and whale spotting is almost a daily occurrence. It is also the last month of the season for us here. Town is still busy with activity but slowing down. As September approaches local residents start to discuss their travel plans or get ready to enjoy the quiet rainy months of September and October.
As we approach the end of our season, this is a good time to look back over the events of 2019 and assess the market. Year to date, 2019 has been a year of much activity and positive developments, with both the sales and rental markets continuing to flourish and progress.
We have seen a lot of movement on the beachfront in the last 12 months, with multiple sales of both beachfront houses and beachfront lots in Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Hermosa. This year also saw the inauguration of the new luxury beachfront hotel - Nantipa, which has already garnered a large number of 5-star reviews.
Away from the beach, there are a number of new condominium projects in the works, but for the moment Maramar continues to be the only existing condominium complex in town. Resales within Maramar have been going strong and the developer currently has only two more ocean view lots to sell.
There has been movement in luxury, ocean view house sales, but more so in the mid-range budget (houses of a good quality and design, within the $450,000 to $900,000 range). And sales of raw land continue strong – sales have occurred in all budget ranges from $22,500 up to $2,000,000, from ocean view residential lots to main road-front commercial lots, and everything in between.
In terms of the rental market, in the last two years a large number of new houses have entered the short-term rental sector. As a result, whilst almost all rental houses are achieving fantastic occupancy rates in the high season, there is a lot of competition in the rainy season. We have seen a move by a number of owners towards favoring long-term rentals. The increased enforcement of regulation over the short-term rental market (requirements for Municipal permits) and the increasing number of families that are looking to live year-round in Santa Teresa may also be encouraging some owners to consider longer term rentals.
We have been enjoying some of the new restaurants in town this year – DriftBar Restaurant, the Cevicheria, Café Cafca. And are also excited for the opening of the new hotel and restaurant House of Somos. The new season will also see the opening of new commercial spaces close to La Lora and further north close to Soda Tiquicia.
Here are some of the positive developments in infrastructure that have occurred over the last couple of years, which will continue to impact the market in the coming year.Positive Developments in Infrastructure:
- Fiber Optic – the roll out of the fiber-optic internet system by the ICE, which first started in July 2017, has continued into 2019 with more and more houses connecting and obtaining high-speed internet. This has had an interesting impact on the demographic of town, with an influx of high-tech and other professionals who can now live here long term and work remotely.
- Aqueduct – the long-awaited aqueduct was finished at the end of 2017. The first year of the aqueduct was marked by frustrating water leaks and bursting pipes, as everyone adjusted to the extraordinarily good water pressure! Now that the kinks have been ironed out, we have a really great water service – providing potable water all year round and at a great cost. Not everyone has been able to connect to the aqueduct, however. There is still a long list of properties waiting for connection and properties above 60 meters of elevation will not be receiving a connection.
- Roads – whilst the struggle for decent roads is an ongoing battle, it is noted that at least one road in our area has seen dramatic improvement this year. The Hermosa Hill, in previous rainy seasons also known as ‘Peanut Butter Hill’, has been paved and has stood up to the test of the rainy season very well. This is great news for owners that have homes or land in the hills above Playa Hermosa. The works that were performed this year on the road that descends into Playa Carmen (known as La “S”) have also held up well and are a great improvement.
- New Recycling Plant – thanks to the efforts of the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeepers and Bionic Yarn, we now have a recycling center in Cóbano, three recycle drop locations in town and a weekly pick-up of recyclables from the main road. These efforts are encouraging more people to recycle and also lowering the strain on the normal garbage service.
- New Airport in Manzanillo – Costa Rica Green Airways, the new domestic carrier, has not only set up an office in Santa Teresa, but also has plans in the work to open a new domestic airport in Manzanillo. They now have their SETENA permits and are set to break ground on the project in February 2020, with flights planned to start by the end of 2020. Not only will this reduce total transit time from San Jose to Santa Teresa, the company is also planning to open up routes up the northern Pacific Coast (Coyote, Nosara, Tamarindo, Liberia). This will likely have a big impact on visitor numbers to our town, but will also enliven the real estate market of Manzanillo, which has until now seen only slow growth.