Purchase of properties for residential development is a good business in Costa Rica with investors enjoying a healthy balance of returns and security. Many properties are suitable for lot segregation and sale of lots, or for sub-division and construction of condos or homes - we offer a range of such properties in our listings database.
To see a long list of such properties click on Search Listings, then use the text search box at the bottom (for example, click to see results for 'Residential Development'). The form will also allow you to narrow the search by price range and geographical region. A list of all current development properties is also available in word format convenient for printing, just email Dale at email@example.com
In recent years Costa Rica has experienced a construction boom, especially on the Pacific Coast, mostly homes and condos catering to affluent foreigners and condos and residential communities, many at very reasonable prices, in the metropolitan area of San Jose. Most people who purchase a lot to build a home or buy a new home are middle income Costa Ricans, immigrants from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, or Americans, Canadians, and Europeans seeking a retirement location or younger foreigners seeking a new life in the land of "pura vida". The government of Costa Rica also provides subsidies for low income persons to purchase a home and there are some developments serving this population. Due to the ever-increasing cost of land near beaches and in and close to San Jose, residential projects are moving out into more outlying area such as San Ramon and the Northern Zone. These are the areas where the properties we list are mainly located. Expressways are being built westward from San Jose to serve the areas where the population is moving.
Most of the land suitable for residential projects has been in agricultural use. Zoning in the Plan Regulador in most municipalities for farm properties is usually with residential development permitted without zoning variance on 1.25 acre interior lots and 500 square meter lots on public road frontage. Interior land sub-division in smaller lots or condominium will usually require an application process. The staff at Investments and Properties El Tucan will have on file a Plot Map (Plano Catastro) of the property, a title search (Consulta de Registro Nacional) indicating ownership, and a zoning statement (Uso de Suelo) specifying allowed land usage. In some cases we have prepared a Development Plan for the property and if we do not have one we are prepared to design one based on the investor's ideas about the type of development projected. Development Plans will indicate land acquisition costs, infrastructure costs for roads, electric, telephone and water services, technical, survey, and permitting expenses such as an Environmental Impact Study if required, and projections of income from lot or home sales. If sales go as projected the initial investment can be recovered within three years and a substantial profit generated in years thereafter.
A residential project must have a sound development plan designed by an architect and then the approval of regulatory agencies.
-A green light from the Municipality according to its Uso de Suelo.
-A subdivision survey by a topographer and soil engineering study.
-Design of a Master Plan for the project, usually by an architect.
-Authorization by the local water administration authority assuring water supply.
-A permit from INVU, the Housing Authority.
-Coordination with the Instituto Costarricense de Electricdad, ICE, for electric and land line telephone service provision.
-Approval by SETENA, Secretaria Técnica Nacional Ambiental, an overworked office of the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energia (they may require an Environmental Impact Study).
-A developer may wish the services of a project management specialist, we can recommend.
-If homes are be to constructed, a contract with a local builder.
The staff at Investments and Properties El Tucan will guide the investor through this process. El Tucan works with investors who are serious about respect for the environment. We have no interest in working with expensive beach condos or coastal developments that are destructive of the environment. Click on Full Service Program for Clients to see the range of services provided.
Links for additional information about residential development projects:
For an excellent example of a eco-friendly residential project see: www.kopalicommunities.com
- For investment budgets and infrastructure costs email Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more detailed information on land development consult www.landcolaw.com
- For information on procedures and permitting see www.tramitesconstruccion.go.cr
The most difficult and time consuming procedure is the permit from SETENA, see MINAE environmental permits (Spanish).
There is also much general information at www.visitcostarica.com, and for guidance on foreign investment consult CINDE, an agency that promotes foreign investment and provides free services: www.cinde.org
If the project might involve tourism, see the information and incentives provided by the Instituto Costariccense de Turismo
Developers will also need legal assistance, our recommendations for excellent attorneys can be seen by clicking Recommended Legal Services.
For investments in other sectors such as tourism, conservation or residential development - please view our page on: Business Opportunities in Costa Rica. Or click here to return to the Costa Rica Investments index.