Why You Should Consider Nicaragua
Nicaragua is virtually unknown–and usually misunderstood–by most people, which is why forward-thinking investors can find some of the best real estate deals on Earth in this country. For the record, this country is not in the midst of a civil war…and it’s not a Communist state. It has, however, suffered from a serious case of bad press.
Because most of the world still believes Nicaragua is a country full of problems and political unrest, local real estate is extremely undervalued.
Yes, Nicaragua is still a little rough around the edges. And, of course, there are certainly no guarantees as to what will happen in the future…here or anywhere.
But it doesn’t take much imagination to see where Nicaragua is headed. The situations were similar in Costa Rica and Belize in the late 1980s…and on Honduras’ Bay Islands in the late 1990s, when real estate prices increased by 500% or more in a very short time.
Nicaragua, we believe, makes smart investment sense for three reasons:
1) Nicaragua is in the middle of a boom trend that has seen millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements and foreign investment. For example…
- The first Hard Rock Live in Central America opened recently
- A Taiwanese group bought the InterContinental Hotel in Managua and added a shopping mall and another hotel
- A Guatemalan group invested $8 million in a Princess Hotel. Another Guatemalan group has taken over the run-down Hotel Camino Real, completely refurbished it, and added a convention center
- A New Orleans company recently finalized a deal with the Nicaragua legislature for the rights to run Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua’s closest developed port to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The company will spend more than $100 million on improvements, which will cut the cost and time for goods to get to Managua, in some cases by more than half.
The list goes on and on. In short, Nicaragua is on the right track.
As The Wall Street Journal recently reported… “Suddenly, Managua has a skyline. New hotels and shopping centers–with elevators, and even escalators–have sprouted in a capital flattened by a 1972 earthquake and laid low by failed socialism. Arco gas stations, Pizza Huts, and McDonald’s golden arches rise from the gentle hills. Once a live-fire franchise of the Cold War, Nicaragua and other Central American countries have embraced franchise capitalism.”
The paper continued: “U.S. companies arrive to build power plants and telephone networks, to sell hamburgers and pizza. Foreign investors who were fleeing the country a decade ago put $280 million into Nicaragua last year.”
The country’s tourism business is taking off too. Cruise ships are regularly docking at San Juan del Sur. And the country has opened its first-ever tourist office in the United States, on the streets of downtown Miami. The office will operate a toll-free number for the U.S. and Canada…with a goal of attracting 500,000 tourists to Nicaragua by year’s end.
This development is good news for us as fellow Nicaraguan investors.
To give you an idea of just how far this country has come, from 1979 to 1989, according to World Bank statistics, Nicaragua’s GDP shrunk by an average of 1% per year. From 1989 to 1999, GDP averaged 2.8% growth. In 1999 alone, the GDP grew 7%…and it’s expected to grow by an average of 6.2% over the next few years. As the country’s former vice president recently told Newsweek magazine: “Fewer than 15 countries in the world have achieved 6% growth in a year.”
Also, for the past decade, three consecutive administrations have continued to pass legislation assuring land ownership rights for both foreigners and Nicaraguans.
This means the country is continuing on the right track. Enrique Bolanos, Nicaragua’s previous president, encouraged foreign investment more than any president in the past. In fact, he invited 500 business people from 28 countries to attend his inauguration, and he initiated a series of cost-cutting measures that signaled his commitment to government trimming waste–and not just for everyone else. Bolanos actually dropped his own salary by 30% to $80,000, and slashed his expense account to a paltry $48,000 (compared with a ridiculous $2.8 million slush fund used by the former administration).
U.S. News and World Report rated Nicaragua one of the 10 best places to retire in a recent survey.
Conde Nast Traveler reported: “Nicaragua seems to be the next logical choice for adventurous travelers in Central America. Costa Rica is more crowded and more expensive than it used to be, and Guatemala is still suffering from the effects of a 36-year-old civil war… Even Panama, a relatively wealthier nation, is much more developed and expensive than Nicaragua.” The New York Times and the USA Today reported the same trend not too long ago.
This all bodes well for both the country and for investors who get in ahead of the crowd.
2) We want to take advantage of the growing trend taking shape in the United States and in other developed countries. That is, people’s desire to invest, live, vacation, or even retire outside of their home countries.
People are starting to relocate on a global scale. One article in The International Herald Tribune stated that, in the past 30 years, the number of Americans living abroad has more than quadrupled. In fact, according to the U.S. State Department, it has risen from 2.3 million to 3.3 million just since 1990.
This movement is expected to increase exponentially. To profit from it, you need to look for real estate markets that will capitalize on the direction the world is starting to move. Overseas retirement real estate is going to be big business in the coming years. As the baby boomers begin to retire, more people are going to look outside of the United States for real estate, second homes, and retirement homes.
They will come looking for places like Lake Apoyo and the Norome Villas for privacy, safety, warm weather, and a relaxed and sometimes adventurous lifestyle.
Did you know that baby boomers make up almost a third of the U.S. population? And they are aging fast. Beginning in 2000, boomers started turning 50 at the rate of just under 10,000 a day. Already, more than 14 million boomers are 50 and up, and some aren’t waiting until 55 to take early retirement. It’s a well-educated crowd: Nearly 90% of boomers graduated from high school, and more than a quarter have at least a bachelor’s degree. More than three-quarters own homes, and 73% have some form of investments.
As Time magazine recently reported: “Many of the 76 million American boomers are more likely than their parents to consider retiring to a foreign land, because they have traveled more, have higher hopes for retirement, and tend to be more active and adventuresome.”
Think about it this way…more than 3 million U.S. citizens have already moved abroad, looking for cheap real estate, low taxes, and better qualities of living. This trend will only increase in the years to come.
3) Nicaragua offers advantages few other places can match. The cost of living, for example, is a fraction of what you’re accustomed to back home. You can employ a full-time maid here for about $100 per month. You can see a movie for $2…and get your hair cut for $1.25. Two people can have an excellent meal, including a good bottle of wine, for less than $20.
Plus, the tax burden is very light. And as a foreigner qualifying for Nicaragua’s pensionado program, you may be exempt from import duties on your personal and household goods; and be allowed to bring a vehicle into the country tax free once every five years.
And if you are looking to start a business, few places offer better incentives than Nicaragua, which recently passed tourism Law 306. This law allows you open a tourism-related business and 1) pay no taxes for 10 years 2) bring in (or buy locally) all the supplies you need, from furniture and boats to linens and cash registers…all tax free.
These are the primary reasons we have invested in Nicaragua. The numbers and the trends are just too good to pass up. But these facts and numbers don’t begin to tell the story of the laid back atmosphere and natural beauty of Nicaragua…and of Lake Apoyo, in particular.
Nicaragua is an exotic land…where the sun shines all day long…on rugged and tropical rivers, colonial cities, friendly and lively people, and the largest body of fresh water south of the Great Lakes (with the world’s only freshwater sharks).
As the publisher of a newsletter that investigates the world’s best places to travel, buy real estate, invest, live, and retire, I know that the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a place like Nicaragua does not come along very often.
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