Bahia is a special town with a rich sophisticated culture, that came as the coastal population developed a tradition of sending their children to study abroad. This created a great cultural diversity that was enhanced by the residents of Quito who used Bahai as their beach resort.
This caused Bahia property to become some of the most valuable on Ecuador’s coast. Then an earthquake struck and devastated the town and the Bahia economy. Prices tumbled to a tenth their former prices.
The population took this as a sign and remodeled this city into one in union with nature’s forces.
In 1999 Bahia was named the first Ecological City of Ecuador due to its innovative recycling program with garbage pick up every day. Street sweepers still sweep the street daily with brooms.
Bahia has rebuilt slowly but solidly so today its rich culture, the hospital and many clinics and several private, public schools and colleges make it an ideal place.
Now Bahia is ready to expand and is growing rapidly. The local airport is likely to expand and Manta’s airport just over an hour away makes Bahia convenient for reaching any part of Ecuador and Quito’s International Airport.
Yet many never leave since all the good things in life are here. Bahia has a farmers market every day with fresh fruit and seafood including shrimp for $1.50 per pound or langoustines and lump crab meat for $4 per pound.
Bahia is also a safe place to be. Bahia has one of the lowest crime rates of all of Ecuador. Bahia is our shopping town in Ecuador and is one reason why Merri and I chose our beach apartment on the beach of San Clemente… a small fishing near Bahia.
So it is not surprising that Jean Marie Butterlin who originally joined us in Cotacachi has moved to Bahia.
Here Jean Marie reports on his new Bahia home.
First New Construction Project in Bahia in 12 Years
Jean Marie Butterlin
Bahia is becoming more and more popular and getting a lot more attention ; A year ago on our coastal tour we had about 65 apartments for sale in Bahia (we showed to our delegates about the 10 best we had) ; in March we had only 5 left to show that were suitable for expats.
After the earthquake hit in the late 90’s, all new constructions stopped and no condos were built since then.
The apartments available for sale in the resale market are usually 13 to 17 years old and need some refurbishings ; they were built for wealthy Ecuadorian families that came from Quito for their vacations about 3 times a year ; they are usually pretty big (4 bedrooms and about 180 m2/1,900 sq.ft) and sell for about $65 to $68/sq.ft. when located in premium beach areas.
I have been looking for more than 3 years to buy a condo in Bahia and never could find the right size, right price, or right ocean view.
I had almost found a condo in November, that was on the market for just 5 days but when I made the offer, it had sold one hour before. Before making the offer, I took a bit of time to get a quote for the remodeling to American or European standards i.e. new kitchen, wooden floors, new bathrooms ; this amounted to about $15/sq.ft for a total cost of $80/sq.ft but I lost the deal….
Then one day Pascale and I saw a big sign just in front of the hotel La Piedra on an empty lot facing the ocean and the bay showing a picture of a new construction building. Later that evening I met by pure luck the owner, while waiting at the Manta Airport for my flight to Quito. Coincidence ?
This new construction building told me that what I had felt for over 2 years about Bahia and its development was about to come to fruition ; but as of today it is still the only new building in town and I am sure that the condos will increase in value quite quickly.
That was last December and here is why I bought an apartment in that new project :
1) The price at $81/sq.ft for a new construction was just $1/sq.ft higher than what I would pay for a used remodeled apartment. That was a no-brainer to me !
2) The location : the view on both the ocean and the bay are just what I was looking for.
3) The finishings are much better than what I expected to get in Bahia with huge terrasses on all sides, hard wood floors, American kitchen with hardwood cabinets.
4) Right size : Most apartments had the size I was looking for (2 or 3 bedrooms and about 1,200 sq.ft)
5) I got a free membership to the Tennis club ($1,500)
6) It has amenities that no other building in Bahia delivers i.e. desalinization water system, own generator, 2 pools and jacuzzi on the top floor, nice lobby like a luxury hotel, with outside glass elevator facing the ocean ; 24/7 security, magnetic cards system, underground garage, bodega etc…
7) It is an income generating apartment : the Hotel La Piedra will rent out your apartment, when empty and do all the cleaning etc… you can also rent it yourself during the High season (30 to 40 days/year) and make about 6% on your money during that time.
When I bought last December, I got pre-construction price ; when I came back in February construction had not started yet and when I saw that prices in the used market were starting to rise, I bought a second smaller apartment just for investment because I knew prices would go up by 10% one week later, when construction was set to start. Now the price I got on that second new condo were lower than a similar used/remodeled apartment. (I took advantage of that little price distortion)
We had a few delegates, who bought in that project at pre-construction prices in the last few months and they have already locked in a 10% profit ; right now construction is well under way, and the building should be finished by December.There are only a few units left ; however, the builder is giving EL premium subscribers and delegates on our next coastal tour a $4,000 custom furniture allowance. There is also a 4% discount available for a 50% cash upfront payment.See the project at : www.oceanbaytowers.com
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