Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
10 years ago one Gringo with a Ph.D in science decided to buy a two-bedroom condo in Escazú for his future retirement plans. He paid property tax transfer at the real value. This now pays the salaries of the clerks at the registry who now buy clothes and food for their children at local stores. Of course the attorney made his fees which enabled him to own a luxury vehicle from which the government received a large tax.
The local store owners now pay the national bank payments on their loans. As time goes along, the condo needs some minor repairs and this Gringo pays a worker who now buys food from the local super whose workers now get paid salaries to do the same. At the same time, this Gringo pays the administrator of the complex his monthly fee, and the administrator pays his workers who do the accounting and cleaning of the complex who now buy gasoline to fuel their vehicles from the government refinery. He also pays the property tax to the local municipality which now is able to pave the roads and provide services to all the residents of Escazú. His renter pays the electric and water, so the employees of the AyA and Fuerza y Luz continue in their jobs as members of the unions who want to receive fair wages.
At the end of the year he pays the Hacienda for the very small net income he generates, which now services the huge debt the country has run up to the international lenders. Besides that, he has to pay an accountant to prepare the forms since the forms are not available with English translation. Once or twice a year he takes a vacation to this country he fell in love with so the employees of the airport benefit from his entrance tax and, of course, he rents a vehicle from a rental company whose employees now receive part of their salary from his car rental. He opened a bank account here in Costa Rica so he could transfer the payments to the various people, companies, institutes and government offices. Of course, every so often the bank makes it difficult to keep the account active since this creates more busy work for the employees of the bank. He supports the restaurants he dines at and the hotel he frequents since not once in 10 years has he actually slept in this condo.
Now, as he nears a decision to retire in Costa Rica, he is faced with more red tape than ever even though he will be using his funds earned outside of the country to support the workers here. My question is why Costa Rica is not supportive of people like this since Panamá, for example, is making it much more friendly to attract people like this. Costa Rica needs to change its policies.
Otherwise the real estate market will dry up with the collateral the banks hold moving down, and we know what happened in 2008 in the U. S. when the market collapsed there. After 25 years of appraising property for the banks here it makes me nervous.