Puerto Rico Home Searching is Challenging

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I’d like to buy a house/apt/condo/townhouse in Puerto Rico for $50K or under. There are just so many perks for living in Puerto Rico.

  • Warm weather all the time
  • Longest Christmas season in the world
  • Lots of bilingual people (if you don’t speak Spanish)
  • Some of the best rum in the world
  • People are warm, friendly and helpful
  • Flip flops and sandals year-round
  • Beautiful men and women!
  • Great boating, fishing, diving and surfing
  • All people born in PR are US citizens
  • LOTS of parties and festivals — you will meet people and have a busy social life
  • Always a beautiful beach to be found, usually empty
  • Colonial architecture
  • Delicious local food and some of the best coffee in the world
  • Over 20 forest preserves
  • Easy transition from U.S. (same money, no passport needed, no customs at airport)
  • Lower drinking age (18)
  • Incredible tax benefits
  • You can grow a lot of fruit and native vegetables easily & year round
  • You are living on a tropical island!
  • More affordable than many U.S. cities, other Caribbean islands or Hawaii
  • Good infrastructure (highways system, cable, Internet, cell phone service)
  • You will find yourself exercising more—lots of outdoor recreation
  • You will find familiar stores (Costco, Walmart, Best Buy and food chains)
  • You can hire people for lower wages
  • Like the U.S., they have Social Security, Medicare, and worker’s comp
  • Easy to start and operate a business in certain sectors
  • Housing and real estate–it’s a buyer’s market
  • Health insurance costs are MUCH less. Good quality care (though you WILL wait)
  • A good college education is very affordable

Even if Puerto Rico won’t become a State, American can be benefited:

One thing I’d like to highlight is the TAX BENEFIT The 20/22 ACT .  

Tax Breaks

In 2012, Puerto Rico passed legislation shielding new residents from paying most federal income taxes. Since then, the island is swiftly emerging as a hot new tax haven for Americans. If you reside on the island for a minimum of 183 days annually, and meet other qualifying criteria, you may pay minimal, if any, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains under the “Act 22” tax law. These tax incentives are attracting more U.S. citizens and plenty of new, luxury developments that could pave the way for good capital growth conditions looking ahead. However, it’s too early to tell how or whether this will influence real estate across the board.

 

 

But house searching is a huge challenge right now. Considering 95% of Puerto Rico is out of power. Take a look at these Before and After Satellite Images

 

Before

  After

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/27/news/puerto-rico-san-juan-airport/index.html

 

One week after Maria battered the island, the more than 3 million Americans who live there are struggling to survive. People are scavenging for food, collecting water from mountain streams and drinking the rain. Power is out across the island. Generators and batteries are keeping hospitals open.

Zillow search yields nothing as cell service is only 5% of what it was.

Only 10 flights each day in and out of San Juan.

 

Ports are piles with containers with goods but the roads are all blocked.

 

I’ll continue to follow the news, and I’m planning a trip to Puerto Rico for 1.5 week. 1 week vacation and 0.5 week house searching, once electricity is back up and life is back to “normalcy”. I wouldn’t want to give Mr.W the impression we’re walking into a war zone.

I suspect that at least 100,000 people will leave Puerto Rico in the up coming months. However, I think the majority of the Puerto Rican will stay and Puerto Rico will turn around. Whenever, there is a major natural disaster, the economy will grow strongly in the next few years. Plus Puerto Rico is due to a major infrastructure overhaul, that would lead to many jobs.

For that I’m bullish on Puerto Rico Housing Market.

 

*************

Update 10/6/17 on Electricity …  not much improvement. Tesla is teasing Puerto Rico with Solar Electricity. Which is plausible, but … it could take years. I’m betting on restoring the current infrastructure, then negociate with Tesla for 50-70% of solar power.

Some before and after photo of how dark Puerto Rico still is.

As you can see, the before in San Juan, it’s a pretty modern city. But the rest of Puerto Rico is dark, because it’s covered with rain forest, nature, farmland. It’s a real pretty island with everything you need.

 

GA

4 Comments

  1. Hi Vivianne

    It’s incredible you are looking all the way until Puerto Rico. I understand you mentioned a few of those benefits, but from investment point of view, how do you evaluate? Are they undervalued or you think the potential for it to turn into a great city?

    • B,
      From the investment viewpoint … hihihi ahhh uhhhhgg… no comment! LOL 🙂
      1. Well, a house/apt 3beds, 2 baths were going for $350K a few years ago, is listing for $125K, roughly 1/3-1/2 of the price. To rebuilt it’s probably $250-300K. I believe, it would come back to 2007 level, even if it’s not, it might not go to $50K LOL 🙂 (The properties I’m looking at are just 1 bed room or studios). Which I’ll uses as airbnb or something. I’ll live there 3 months of 12 months.

      Say: I buy a property for $50K.
      I rent out 1 week out of 4 weeks for $500 (25% occupancy rate), I’d get 10% return. **living the dream**
      I rent out 2 week out of 4 weeks for $1000 (50% occupancy rate), i’d get 20% return.
      similarly 3/4 available week (75% occupancy rate), I’d get 30% return
      Last, 4/4 weeks (100% occupancy rate), I’d get 40% return … Hot Dog!!

      It’s America, so to vacation here requires no Visa, or any special paper work. It’s a tropical island with a rainforest. It’s like Singapore, only with TONS of TREES and it hasn’t been destroyed yet buy buildings. Yes, Singapore is super nice, but I’m pretty sure the air quality is no where near as nice as it is in Puerto Rico, any time, any day.

      The vast majority of Puerto Rico reefs are protected an untouched. There are just so many activities do do there that I think Puerto Rico remains attractive vacation place for many years to come. For that, at the minimum, Puerto Rico’s property value will move sideway, and I’m not as scare taking a plunge.

      **RISK** Managing the property from afar. But I think, the labor here is cheap, as long as I get manage the front end of the rental – listing. I can get the back-end people to take care of the upkeep and cleaning and such.

      ***Other risk***… laziness. I tend to get lazy once in awhile where I fail to thrive. LOL 🙂 But, if that is the case, I’ll just take a vacation of puerto rico and stay at the place to snorkel and bath in the sun until my mental health is back 100%.

      For evaluation, I normally don’t run the numbers on the sheet of paper, but B, you’re so smart, I should have included these kind of analysis in my post.
      But for real, I normally run these things in my head without even realizing it. I call it instinct, I make decision when things look “good” to me, but I don’t know “why” as I don’t have concrete evidence.

    • Also, I know I can get $500/week, because, beach front rental is $200/night at Marriotts, $250/night at the Hilton. for Ocean front it’s $300/night at the Marriott.
      I figure, I would pay $500/week for 2 blocks from the beach apartment. Airbnb might list similar or higher rate. Airbnb has “cleaning fee” worked in, so I don’t have worry about it cutting into the “profit”.

  2. Wow interesting! I did not know that Puerto Rico was considered a tax haven. Are you based out of America on the mainland? Your money will last a long time in Puerto Rico!

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