The Market for Houses in Puerto Plata

The last 4 years have seen opposing trends in Puerto Plata, regarding the housing market. On the one hand, many new homes were built, some with newer and better standards than what we`ve seen before in the Atlantic town, and on the other hand, sales declined and created a monstruous competition among the older properties and the newer, fresher ones. This led to many advantages in the negotiating table for buyers, who now have a large inventory to choose from, and in some cases, some subvalued homes readily available as turn key purchases.

One of the biggest issues with present purchases is the 2009 law on land survey, that requires a full GPS-backed survey locally called Deslinde, that comes with a more modern title system that uses holographic images. Most of the land in the Dominican Republic is not deslinde ready yet, which is why lawyers are still drafting contracts with prerequisites, that normally keep a portion of the total payment to be payable when the final title with deslinde is issued. One of the most prestigious law firms in the area ( Guzman Ariza ) provides a complete insight into the matter.

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The real estate jurisdiction of the Dominican Republic has a very useful website: http://ji.gov.do  with an online consultation system to verify pending cases and get data on proceedings.

Several of the best rated gated communities in the North Coast are growing fast, and thus it is impossible to provide deslinde ready land to buyers at such a pace. Trust is a big factor in real estate, whatever the paper process is. One of the lawyers that has been the most successful at earning the trust of the region is Lic. Guido Perdomo, who has worked with virtually everyone involved in the trade and is on top of the list. A lot of other lawyers are also very trusted in the North coast, such as Yanilda de la Cruz and Jeanette Garcia ( the list is longer ).

As in many areas, there`s a white and black list of business people and locations not recommended because of their bad record. We ran across a case where a white list community was given a doubt vote and we felt the need to stand up for them. if over 100 happy homeowners are not enough proof of a person or project`s integrity, something`s wrong with the evaluation. If today sales were all based on the deslinde, more than half of the real estate market would go to a halt inmediately.

Due to the new competition, some owners are more willing to offer financing at angel rates, normally for up to three years. Local banks charge from 7-13%, which most clients from Europe and the States find too high. When financing in US Dollars, the rate is the lowest one, and local RD pesos charge a higher yearly rate. An interesting aspect is the fact that some homes are being offered at a certain price, but will actually be sold much lower if the buyer asks before making any offers.

One of the houses that will be sold below its listed price of $360k is this one ( click the picture to view it ):

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This is happening all across the North in the island, and in most cases owners want to keep the listed value but will inevitably go down if a potential buyer comes along. There`s a house listed below $500k that would sell for $325k if a good buyer comes across, contact the agent about that unique offer. One of the advantages of buying with Golden Treasures Real Estate is that its agents will work it as best as possible to make it a good deal both for the seller and the buyer. Many a time has a sale gone deadlocked due to a small difference in the amount, and the agents just move on and lose the client instead of adjusting their own percentages and closing the sale.

An affordable new house in Puerto Plata that can also be purchased with discount is this one:

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According to the Global Property Guide ” While it felt the effects of the global economic crisis, the Dominican Republic is coming back with a growing GDP and a recovering property market. It continues to be the Caribbean region’s largest economy and biggest tourist destination.”

The Dominican Republic has over 9 million people spread over a mountainous 48,072 sq km, with an average GDP per capita of US$5,464. A stable economy, currency and government together with a quiet and relaxed lifestyle makes the island quite attractive to many investors and foreigners.

Anyone can buy property in the DR, regardless of being a resident or not. Buying property is fairly easy because the lawyer does all the work of verfying papers and drafting purchase agreements. The buyer pays the transfer tax (3%), property registry tax (2%), document stamp tax (1.3%) and legal fees (1%). Normally, the seller pays a commission to the agent.

A relatively low cost of living also is another factor that positively affects real estate in the island, specially in the North towns of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete ( the East coast is very expensive, specially Punta Cana and Casa De Campo ).

This chart shows a distribution of cost of living expenses in Dominican Republic:

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A full list of living costs and prices of expenses in the DR is found at Numbeo.

 

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