The Nicaraguan property market

It's on the up

The Nicaraguan property market

Although it's one of the poorest countries in Latin America, Nicaragua is quickly growing as a second-home and retirement destination. More foreign companies are establishing operations in the country and tourism is growing rapidly. Still, some international buyers are wary of Nicaragua and see it as a risky market due to the instability of the 1980s.

Buying a Property

Non-citizens have the same rights as Nicaraguans. Property ownership in Nicaragua is freehold and you can own land just like in your home country. In fact, to encourage foreign investments the government passed a law that allows a 10 year exemption from income and real estate tax. It is a pretty straightforward system if you do some research beforehand - a decent level of Spanish is also useful.

The process consists of reviewing the title deed, known as the escritura, with a lawyer to make sure that there are no issues with ownership of the property. A document confirming the property is free of liens (libertad de gravamen) will then be issued. It’s also important to check if you don’t owe any taxes to the local municipality and to get all the necessary documents (such as the purchase agreement) translated.  

Popular Areas

It is extremely easy to buy property in Nicaragua and you can find excellent real estate.

Foreigners are welcome to buy anywhere, except for some properties located along the border and certain beach front properties - under the Maritime Zone Law, the first 200 meters of land from the high tide zone belongs to the state.

Nicaragua has colonial cities, oceanfronts, mountains, islands, farms, valleys and small, tucked away towns. Today, most of the real estate activity is concentrated on the ‘Emerald Coast’, San Juan del Sur, not far from the northern colonial city of Leon, the little city of Granada and the capital Managua.

Prices for oceanfront homes are typically lower than in Costa Rica or Panama, but this is slowly changing as the market gets more competitive. The Nicaraguan property market is mostly dominated by North American retirees and international investors.

San Juan del Sur, a small tourist city, seems to be the most popular destination and has attracted many developments. In fact, prices for land in San Juan del Sur tripled from 2003 to 2008. Granada, a colonial city that has a lot of offer, including the best medical facilities, is also very popular amongst expatriates. Attractive homes in Granada can cost anywhere from $150,000 to $350,000. Prices on property in Nicaragua vary depending on proximity to the ocean, community amenities and the size of the property.

Nicaragua has experienced sustained economic growth in recent years and prices are on the rise. The same property that will cost you around $250,000 today, would have cost you around $30,000 to $60,000 five years ago. More and more people are finding out about this ‘untouched’ paradise and are eager to get their hands on their own dream holiday home.

Further reading

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