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Expat Investor : March April 2009
EXPAT LOCATION Nicaragua – constant and consistent real estate growth Central America continues to attract property investors and now Nicaragua is pulling the crowds. Here’s news of a major resort launch. says, “We believe Nicaragua is now where Costa Rica was when it began to focus on tourism and development, which means that it offers the same type of potential for outstanding returns over time on real estate investments. Those that felt they missed their chance with Costa Rica now have another opportunity.” Real estate laws in Nicaragua allow freehold ownership by foreigners, with the same attendant rights as citizens of the country and can be transferred without restriction. Grupo Mariana also offers security for buyers with title insurance provided by First American Title Insurance Company and Stewart Title Latin America. Seaside Mariana Spa & Golf Resort is situated near the village of San Rafael Del Sur, just a one-hour drive from the capital Managua and its international airport. Spread over 923 acres, the development will consist of 1350 units including 376 freehold plots, luxuriously designed oceanfront condominiums and golf villas. The site overlooks a magnificent expanse of natural soft sand beach from which the land rises gently to the tree-lined banks of the Tecolapa River, framed by the distant Sierra Mountains. The master plan for Seaside Mariana carefully preserves the natural setting, and all properties will have either Pacific Ocean or golf course views. Grupo Mariana has brought together a world-class team of partners that are setting a new standard for luxury, service and facilities in Nicaragua. The focal point of the resort is Central America’s first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course with complementing clubhouse.Mr Nicklaus says, “I get a great deal of satisfaction in having the opportunity to go into a new country and emerging market, and design a golf course that will not only enhance the tourism in that country but also help introduce and grow the game.” Other five star amenities at Seaside Mariana include the Developer Grupo Mariana Family of Resorts has launched a major master-planned resort called ‘Seaside Mariana Spa & Golf Resort’ in Nicaragua, Central America. Situated on a 1.2 mile stretch of pristine Pacific beachfront on the country’s west coast, this is the first luxury resort of its size and calibre in Nicaragua. The country’s stability and economic momentum is fueling a real estate boom that appears on the verge of rivaling the meteoric rise in property value seen in Costa Rica a decade ago. Over the past 17 years, Nicaragua has transformed itself into a stable democracy and, according to Interpol and the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights, has the lowest crime rate in Latin America. The country is part of CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement) and is an active participant in the world economy, attracting substantial investment from major international financial institutions and corporations. The real estate market in Nicaragua has experienced constant and consistent growth over the last five years, with serviced plots in primary real estate areas increasing by close to 300% on average since 1997. Similarly, tourism is growing strongly, up 394% in the last 12 years.With visitor numbers set to continue rising, the deficit of hotel rooms to meet demand is expected to widen to 5,000 units in 2012, providing a strong rental market for home owners. Founder and Chairman of Grupo Mariana, Kevin Fleming country’s first destination wellness spa, a boutique hotel, private oceanfront beach club, an archeological museum to preserve the artifacts found on the site, a resort medical facility, and a town centre with shops, restaurants and cafes. Construction is scheduled to commence in December 2009 with anticipated completion of phase one in December 2011. In addition to the golf course, phase one components will include residential units, golf clubhouse, spa, beach club and town centre. Nicaragua’s proximity to North America, (just two hours’ flight from Miami or three hours’ from Houston), means it has traditionally been US and Canadian citizens who have bought property in the country. However, British and Irish investors are now beginning to see the potential of buying off-plan. With the expectation that lifestyle buyers will come from the US, as American buyers typically like to see the finished product before buying, this provides early European investors with an exit strategy in years to come.Mr Fleming says, “We see from other emerging markets, such as Panama and Costa Rica, that the normal course of events is for the composition of buyers to shift away from investors towards retirees as perceptions catch up to the reality that this can be a good place to live.” Nicaragua is characterised by diverse and dramatic terrain that features lush jungles, large lakes, a string of volcanoes and stunning beaches. The country enjoys a moderate tropical climate with average year-round temperatures between 27-32°C (81-90°F). Average water temperature on the Pacific Coast generally does not drop below 22°C (70°F). A vibrant and traditional culture can be found in nearby cities such as Granada, which is the country’s oldest European-settled city, just an hour and a half drive from the site. Real estate available: Beach Front Luxury Condominiums (total 162) – Prices from: 1 bed (1168 sq.ft) US$254,040, 2 bed (1730 sq. ft US$427,288, 3 bed (2315 sq ft) US$653,459 Ocean Front Luxury Condominiums (total 152) – Prices from: 1 bed (1152 sq ft) US$224,000, 2 bed (1616 sq ft) US$315,000, 3 bed (2907 sq ft) US$708,581, Penthouse (2307) US $506,037 Golf Villas (total 16) – Prices from US$652,000 for a 6721 sq ft plot going up to US$780,000 for a 9758 sq ft plot Plots of Land; River and Golf – river plots range from 10,260 sq ft to 40,939 sq ft and golf plots range from 8107 sq ft to 18,214 sq ft. Prices from US$58,000 to US$550,000 March/April 2009 ? EXPAT INVESTOR 21
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