Brexit kick-starts interest in Costa Rica?

Interest in Costa Rican property is climbing this year – could Brexit be responsible?

Latin American property specialist The Latin American Gallery says that enquiries have risen by 20 per cent in the last two months. Based in the UK, it highlights the growth as part of the overall return of buyers in the years since the financial crisis, which impacted overseas demand.

“Brits have started noticing it more and more in the last five years post financial crisis; in a way, looking for similar things as the American baby boomers did at the beginning [in 2002],” founder Alejandro Romei tells OPP.Today.

Since then, the country’s popularity has steadily improved, encouraged by high levels of healthcare, a strong life expectancy and a ranking of the Happiest Country in the World by the Happy Planet Index. As a result, there have been many improvements to the country’s tourism and property infrastructure.

“Foreign developers arrived, improving building standards to cater for this new clientele in Costa Rica, and the country’s tax incentives policy attracting English-speaking retirees made the country even more attractive to expats,” explains Romei.

Brexit has also been a factor, he argues, with the uncertainty of the pound’s fluctuation making the decision to look at Costa Rica real estate “even easier for retired people, and investors buying ahead of retirement looking for better weather living and make their money worth more in a lower priced property country”.

“The lack of strength that the pound is experiencing has made many people seize good opportunities and confirming this is the fact that enquiries for Costa Rican property in the first two months that we have been promoting it, have grown by 20% each month,” he adds.

Indeed, earlier this summer, the Post Office highlighted Costa Rica’s colon as one of the biggest success stories of the year, with am 84 per cent surge in sales of the country’s currency, in the wake of the pound’s weakness.

 

Demand for Costa Rican colons on the up

5th September 2016

Brits are clamouring for Costa Rican colons this summer, as the currency emerges as a new favourite for holidaymakers.

Since by the introduction of direct flights from the UK, Costa Rica’s low-priced beach resorts are now within easy reach for Brits – and research from the Post Office Travel Money shows that tourists are cashing in, with summer sales of its currency, the colon, surging 84 per cent.

Cost Rica now accounts for one-in-four of all UK currency transactions, says the Post Office, with sales up 46 per cent year-on-year.

Costa Rica’s colon is just one of four Latin-American currencies that are breaking Post Office records this year. There has been strong demand for the Brazilian real, as sports enthusiasts jetted off to Rio for the Olympic Games. Real sales rose 70 per cent year-on-year to take second place in the Fastest Growing Currencies summer chart (up 41 per cent for 2016 to date).

The winter sun forecast looks good for Peru – another destination boosted by new flights from the UK – as sales of the nuevo sol have risen a further 19 per cent to build on last year’s 27 cent annual growth. The Latin-American quartet is completed by the Chilean peso (up 23 per cent).

Christopher Dewe, Head of Post Office Travel Money, says: “Costa Rica is the latest Latin American destination to come within the orbit of adventurous holidaymakers. With gains for Brazil, Chile and Peru as well, there is little doubt that growing numbers of UK tourists are prepared to travel long distances for their holiday.”

Indeed, long-haul destinations dominate the Post Office chart, taking eight of the top 10 places, with other exotic currencies including the Omani rial (3rd), Indonesian rupiah (4th) and Korean Won (6th).

The growth in currency exchanges also arrives as the pound shows signs of weakness in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, with the Post Office reporting “buoyant sales” for top currencies during June, July and August. The biggest increase was made by the US dollar, which is second only to the euro in the Post Office bestsellers’ top 10. A 17 per cent year-on-year rise in dollar sales suggests that US travel is still perceived as good value, even though the pound buys 13 per cent fewer dollars than it did 12 months ago.

“Looking ahead, the Post Office expects Eastern European cities with a great reputation for value to be popular this autumn.

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