1. It’s Cheap! We are talking dirt cheap. We are talking about large beachfront lots for $30,000, a 250 acre beachfront farm for $200,000…. a slice of ocean view property for $5,000, and a beachfront condo for $45,000.
2. No Debt Fueled Speculation. Ecuador did not participate in the real estate speculation boom that occurred throughout most of the world. Banks were not dishing out easy credit loans and pre-construction speculation was very limited. While real estate prices in many well known destinations are currently declining, property in Ecuador still represents exceptional value when compared with almost any other tropical coastline in the world.
3. U.S. Dollar Currency. Why is this a benefit? Given the recent decline of the U.S. Dollar against most other world currencies, beach property in Ecuador has become even cheaper than ever in global terms. Another benefit is that if you ever sell your property, you will be receiving dollars, not pesos or some useless currency. And even if the U.S. dollar tanks… at least you will have a piece of nice tropical real estate to escape to!
4. Accessibility. You don’t need a helicopter to get here. Ecuador is reached by taking a direct four hour flight from Miami or a 90 minute flight from Panama City, Panama. Ecuador is expanding an existing coastal highway that interconnects the rapidly growing economies of Colombia and Peru. Local airlines service three domestic airports along the coastline of Ecuador, and there is an international airport at Guayaquil which is only one hour from the nearest resort beaches.
5. Natural Beauty. These are truly some of the most stunning beaches in the world. The photos speak for themselves. The climate and vegetation varies from the south, which is drier and more arid relative to the North which is more lush.
6. Development Has Begun. For better or for worse, developers have already begun to sniff opportunity and the early signs of a boom could not get any more obvious. The large resort chain “Decameron” is building the first world class beach resort in Ecuador and additional international investors are flooding in. Ecuador already has a significant tourist industry which promotes world class destinations like the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon Rainforest, the Otavalo Artisan market and the UNESCO World Heritage site in the city of Cuenca. Tourism is established and it is growing fast, but Ecuador’s mainland beaches are still virgin. The government has made tourism a priority going forward and big time developers are already taking notice.
7. Good People. Have you ever been to a beach where people are trying to rip you off, sell you stuff you don’t want, or just annoy the heck out of you? Not so in Ecuador. The people here are helpful, friendly and when we left our cell phone in our hotel room by accident, the hotel staff recovered it and even shipped it our office. At the end of the day, it’s the people that make the place, and the people who make the experience a good one. We’ve met great people here, and you will too.
8. Natural Resource Based Economy. Oil is the biggest contributor to Ecuador’s economy. The advantage of investing in an economy based in oil is that the nation as a stable supply of revenue, with more money to invest in infrastructure, and to develop the other industries it deems a priority such as tourism. While controversy exists about the extraction of oil from environmentally sensitive areas, the government has been working hard to prevent unnecessary pollution from oil extraction. Would you rather be invested in an oil country, or a country based on debt, leveraged finance, and lots of freshly printed money such as the U.S.? The results of oil windfalls are apparent in Ecuador where several highways are being expanded (coastal and highland), new airports are under construction (Quito), new bridges are being built (Bahia), and a mega port is being planned to increase international trade (Manta).
9. China Has Taken Interest In Ecuador. A lot of Americans are afraid to invest anywhere under China’s influence. The rest of us realize that China is the new emerging economic giant and you either jump on board or get left in the dust. Anyone who doesn’t respect and follow China’s moves is putting themselves at a serious disadvantage heading into the 21st century. China is interested in securing natural resources from Ecuador and Ecuador is the closest point to China from the continent of South America. In today’s investment world, you want to be on the front end of whatever China is doing.
10. Tropical Location. Think of real estate prices in Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean or Hawaii… they all started out as backwater, hard to reach places where nobody went. Then, over time, they became “discovered” and real estate values went through the roof. More recently, this phenomena has happened in other tropical places like Nicaragua and Panama where only 10 years ago, you could buy beachfront for $500 per acre. Now it is Ecuador with beachfront land at $500/acre (not a typo – that’s five hundred dollars an acre).
Important Notes About Ecuador
- You can get your permanent residency in Ecuador with a real estate investment of only $25,000. Pensioners can get their residency visa with an $800 per month pension or $900 monthly per couple.
- With regard to political stability, Ecuador gets a bad rap from the mainstream press because of Ecuador’s de facto alliance with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela but the reality is Ecuador is anything but communist. Small private businesses are the mainstay of the Ecuadorian populous. Ecuador treats foreign visitors like gold and the locals are always eager to chat with foreigners of all kinds. Ecuador does not have a history of civil war and has remained peaceful even despite some turbulent economic and political moments in the past.
- Property rights are guaranteed in the constitution and apply equally to foreigners and Ecuadorians alike. Even during multiple sets of new presidents being elected and then thrown out, expropriate rarely occurred in Ecuador. Ecuador’s current president, Rafael Correa, has just been elected for a second five-year term which demonstrates a degree of political stability Ecuador has not seen for decades.
- Ecuador is the first nation on Earth to endow Mother Nature with constitutional rights. While the media and multinational interests have complained about this type of “left wing” policy, the inhabitants of Ecuador care about their environment and are aware of the inherent wealth it brings to their citizens. “Let the oil companies whine and complain and let the citizens establish nature’s rights”, say the Ecuadorian people and their policy makers. This is the type of social awareness is a pleasure to live and breathe.
- Ecuador received over 1 Million tourists in 2008 and remains one of the leading countries in South America for tourism. Why property prices are still so low is a mystery, but we believe the main reason for low and stable property prices is the lack of greedy banks force feeding people into cheap loans as has happened through much of the developed world. Most Ecuadorian property is purchased with cash which gives property here real value – value that is not tied to ever lower interest rates. Ecuadorians themselves buy and hold property as a form of savings account, rather than place money in a bank which is perceived as a riskier place to hold savings.
- Ecuador is one of few countries on earth with access to the Amazon Rainforest, Andean mountain peaks exceeding 10,000 feet, AND tropical sandy beaches with warm water year round (not to mention the Galapagos Islands!). The biodiversity in Ecuador is simply amazing and the result is a very exciting and appealing country to live and invest.
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Michael Manville is the author of
- Ecuador 101 – E-Book Guide To Living and Investing in Ecuador
- The Top Five Places To Retire Worldwide
- The Top Ten Retirement Visa Programs Worldwide
- Panama 101 – E-Book Guide To Living and Investing in Panama