Stay focused here in Costa Rica, June 2020
I’ve written 4 newsletters that didn’t make it past rough draft in the last 5 weeks. Why you ask? Wanting to “Stay focused”. I have been watching the changes both here in Costa Rica and around the world. What I write tends to be irrelevant the next day. But let’s stay focused for just a minute.
What is happening?
Let me start by saying “What is happening around the globe will set a new precedent for how each of us measures tomorrow.” We all have our own opinions about race issues, the virus, history, government, other countries and how things should be handled.
Here in Costa Rica, the government is taking a cautious approach to the Covid 19 as everyone is aware. Some people are not as enthusiastic about the direction Costa Rica has taken as are others. It’s very obvious the effects of our extended shutdown are having and will have on people and business here. Why is this so important? Costa Rica is a developing country. In many ways we are on par with North American and European countries. Yet certain things are still far below ideal and need extra care and support. Many people here maintain life by working on a day to day basis. As anywhere else there is special concern for the poorer communities that live in tighter quarters. Is it difficult to control an outbreak in these areas? Yes! As such, things remain closed down in the hope of containment. So far, the numbers show good results. Let us hope that continues. But make no mistake, a large part of the Costa Rican population is paying a terrific price to maintain those low numbers. This means the government will have to open things up soon. The price is to high both financially and socially.
Short Term Changes?
As for the tourism and expat side of things. Yes, I see some changes. Many of our clients are self-employed or small businesspeople. For some of them, life has completely changed, at least in the short term. This is already shuffling the order of Buyers and Sellers.
Several Buyers that were on the fence so to speak have decided to make the move. Some are putting in offers via live video walkthroughs, with or without conditions of the borders opening by a certain date. They are looking to get away from the hysteria that is gripping countries. As such when the border open, they will be living in here within days.
Secondly, the investors are looking for sales. That is not limited to Costa Rica, of course. That is happening throughout the world and we will see more of the same. There is opportunity there. Selling at a reduced price isn’t always bad, when you can also repurchase at the same.
In the short term, the rest of the market remains in a wait and see game. Are prices coming down? I would say there is definitely pressure on prices.
For Sellers. The domestic buyers are having more trouble getting financing because the banks in Costa Rica have tightened up until they see the economy fully reopen and the exchange rate stay stable. (In the last 3 months the exchange has stayed relatively stable). That means there are some good, qualified domestic buyers here looking for a competitive mortgage. Keep that in mind.
All this translates into “the way we do business” is changing. As the world changes, I will change to accommodate everyone’s needs. So, feel free to call me. Just to stay in touch or to run an idea by me. You can be certain we have options to keep your dreams moving ahead.
Costa Rica will remain and strengthen as a tourist destination over time. When the borders open, we should see a decrease to vacation travel in the short term Especially to Hotels. One of the main drivers there is, going into quarantine upon arrival and on return to country of origin. Along with that will be protocols on entry and being able to ensure people do follow the rules. Travel will head towards normal as people become comfortable flying, vaccines come online, protocols are streamlined and the cold weather sets in.
What are some of the challenges Costa Rica faces? The current stop in tourism and the effects that will have on direct flights into Costa Rica pose challenges. Many of you are in or near gateway cities and will not experience much difference. I would expect an extra hour or two in overall travel time. But for the most part, service will improve as experience is gained just like anything else.
Agriculture is the other big one here. Costa Rica always has about 300,000 migrant workers mainly from Nicaragua. Currently the government published the need for 74,000 farm workers to supplement the current shortage. When rainy season ends that need will increase.
Medical equipment and services comprise a good part of the economy. Agricultural and medical equipment exports are affected as border restrictions and transport difficulties delay products such as raw materials to manufacture, and the packaging needed to export.
What is the upside here in Costa Rica?
I would have to say that personally I have not witnessed the amount of division in Costa Rica that appears in the news from other parts of the world. As for the Virus? The Costa Rican government could not buy the amount of positive advertising we receive with our low numbers. As I mentioned earlier, the people of Costa Rica have and are paying a huge price to keep the country in somewhat of a bubble. The government has also made provisions for the many tourists that decided to stay and ride out the pandemic here, including medical coverage, driving privileges and visa extensions.
On a personal note
I do believe between the Covid 19 Virus, the racism protests going on around the world, and some other serious issues, we have an opportunity to come closer together in a common cause. As long as we stay focused. Personally, I was never the protester type. But I certainly believe the voice of the people has a place. Sadly, a very few destroy what others are trying to achieve. I believe in the police. Again a few seem to turn the tide for other good hard-working people. I’m a Christian guy. I have no trouble saying that, either at work or in private. So, you won’t have to guess how I look at things. I am open in hearing what others believe or do not believe. Every day is a good day to learn something new. But I will say this. We learned right and wrong at home, at school, at church, at work and at play. We learned it from our parents, our teachers, our friends, our friend’s parents, and coworkers. It was and still should be treasured to be treated or treat others with respect. Black Lives Matter? Of Course! All lives matter. It is very evident that many people have taken their eye of the ball. It has taken us years of indifference to get to this point. Look around. What we allow into the mainstream out of indifference cannot be changed overnight. Let us all stay focused on what really matters and start making the changes in ourselves needed to build a better future. Doing so will include standing up for what’s right and proper. To many times over the years all of us have disagreed with what the new acceptable is. Yet we have not always taken the time to get those important changes reversed. I suggest it’s time to start turning the ship around. That’s about as honest as I can be without writing a book. I know it’s what my friends expect of me.
Lastly. The borders here in Costa Rica will open. Be patient and before you know it, we will all be enjoying each other’s company again. In the mean time, Buyers are taking this opportunity to pick up properties using our online videos and by live walkthroughs. Don’t miss your chance to get the next part of your life started. It seems our area of Costa Rica really is becoming one of the most sought after places on earth. Feel free to comment or call me. Lets get you on the path to paradise today.