The boom years for Nicaragua real estate started in the early 2000s and built towards a buying frenzy around 2007/2008 when the global financial crisis took hold. While prices rose significantly during this period, Nicaragua property was still significantly lower priced than some of its regional neighbors such as Costa Rica, Belize or Panama.
During the downturn, like many markets across the globe, things slowed down considerably. Some real estate projects stalled while others closed down completely. But now as we enter 2011 the real estate landscape has shifted once again, tourism numbers are on the rise once again (in 2010 Nicaragua broke the 1 million visitor mark for the first time) and the property market appears to be bouncing back.
But it’s still a very different investment climate than the boom years due to a change in the type of buyer looking at Nicaragua. We’ve distilled the changes into three key buyer characteristics:
- In the early 2000s the market was driven primarily by the “speculator” investor primarily interested in a financial return on their investment. But now the “lifestyle” investor is leading the way; individuals looking at Nicaragua as a second home or retirement destination. This has significant implications for the type of properties that are doing well. While speculator investors are all about positioning themselves in the “path of progress,” lifestyle investors are looking for amenities and services they can enjoy immediately.
- The market for pre-construction and off-plan property continues to stagnate. Buyers have a lower risk tolerance than before and are more comfortably buying completed property they can see and touch rather than relying on a developer’s vision for the future.
- A larger proportion of buyers, many of whom are retirees or approaching retirement, are considering moving to Nicaragua to live. They are not only looking for good value real estate but a community they can become part of. Questions such as security, health care, cost of living, availability of products, attractions and entertainment are becoming more important.