Imagine a tropical paradise only a plane ride away- free of worries that seem so commonplace in our society, such as terrorism, government intervention in business and a higher cost of living. This dream is becoming a reality for thousands of American foreign investors each year as they invest in the burgeoning Costa Rican real estate market and find themselves calling this their new home.
And why not? With a temperate climate, plenty of ocean view property and a relaxed lifestyle, Costa Rica is the ideal locale for those searching for a solid investment in foreign real estate. However, Costa Rica also has so much more to offer than other countries with similar climate and terrain. Favorable foreign investment policies table democratic republic government and fair tax laws are just a few of the factors that set Costa Rica a world apart from other international investment opportunities.
Add to this a low crime rate with virtually no violent crime, a military free existence and property prices that are still attainable for the average investor, and it's no wonder the number of North Americans relocating to Costa Rica has tripled in the last decade.
Perhaps the most attractive of Costa Rica's benefits is the government's favorable attitude toward foreign investors and visitors. Americans can stay in Costa Rica for up to three months while earning income from self-employment, owning a vehicle and even purchasing real estate. After this, becoming a citizen of Costa Rica is not a difficult process. And while foreign investors live the Costa Rican lifestyle, enjoying world class golf and evenings at the beach, they pay income tax only on their income earned in Costa Rica; foreign income is not taxed.
With a 13% sales tax on goods and services and a lower cost of living, a family of four with a house and car can live quite comfortably for just $1000-$1200 US per month. Both property tax and capital gains tax are lower in Costa Rica than in the US. Yet the standard of living is comparable to that in North America, with high-speed internet access and all of the other technological comforts to which we have grown accustomed. Health care is advanced and readily available in sterile and comfortable hospitals. Sanitation in Costa Rica is excellent, with modern plumbing and safe drinking water throughout the country.
One must set up a corporation in order to invest in Costa Rican real estate. This is arranged through a local lawyer or by employing the services of an investment company such as Costa Vista Land, who walks the investor through each phase of the investment process. Using their services eliminates the traditional speed bumps involved in foreign investment, such as language barriers, unfamiliar law and locating suitable properties.
As the value of Costa Rican real estate continues its rapid rise, with property prices often doubling between the time of purchase and development, the country's government and people recognize that this trend is a positive one for their economy as a whole. Foreign investment is encouraged and the locals are friendly and warm to newcomers. Police treat foreigners as they do citizens and foreigners are entitled to the same rights under the law as citizens.
Costa Rica boasts a long and proud history of political stability. After a civil war in 1948, caused by a President who wished to remain in power longer than his four-year term, a change in the constitution was implemented to limit Presidency to one term and banning military in the country to prevent such an incident form recurring. Other than that incident, Costa Rica has enjoyed a peaceful existence since founded.
Costa Rica has successfully changed with the times to remain a leader in infrastructure, transportation and technology amongst its South and Central American counterparts. Highways and bridges are safe and well built, while air service is convenient and affordable with direct flights to the US averaging about $550 return.
All indicators point to Costa Rica as a wise foreign real estate investment destination. The secret to success in this market lies in getting in on the action while the potential for massive financial growth remains and before the limited available properties are purchased by other investors.