Why to invest in real estate in the Dominican Republic?
The Hispaniola Island, second in size in the Caribbean after Cuba with 30,000 sq. miles, gathers the Dominican Republic (20,000-sq. miles/10+ million inhabitants) and Haiti (10,000 sq. miles/9+ million people). Add another some five million of tourists a year.
DR' economy handles around US$7.5 billion/year plus another US$1 billion/year from its informal sector and, another US$2 billion/year from expatriate sending. The United States represents 80% of DR both formal and informal –import/export- businesses. Haiti –the poorest country in the continent- should be –stats are scarce- a US$1.0 billion/year economy.
The Dominican Republic has a relative short span of 166 years of republican-style independent way of living. The Hispaniola Island was the first to be discovered by Columbus in 1492. It was ruled by Spain until 1804, when Haiti started its fighting for independence (second after the United States), and occupied the whole island until DR's independence in 1844...from Haiti (not Spain). They turned themselves to Spain in 1863...but fought them again and won fully independence in 1865. From then, a long line of dictatorships, short administrations or light dictatorships lasted until near of the end of the 20th century.
Until the early eighties, investment in real estate business was located mostly in the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago. They gather more than half of the population. Then we had the tourist boom of the mid eighties, principally in the north coast (250 kilometers northwest Santo Domingo, less than 100 kilometers from Santiago, the second city) and Boca Chica/Juan Dolio/La Romana (150 kilometers east Santo Domingo) and some in Punta Cana, 250 kilometers east the capital.
Throughout the last 25 years, roughly two-thirds of tourist-related real estate investment went to multi-hotel beach resorts. The other third to gated-communities with golf courses, villas and apartments. For example, in the Punta Cana District, 15% of residential (middle class) property is located outside gated-communities.
Condos and villas stand for around $75,000 / 250,000 per unit. Commercial space around US$ 35 per square meter. Lots are in the $75 / 100 per square meter.
From the end of the 90s, the real estate boom grew to a wealthy 5+ %, principally in the east coast and northeast. Again, in the Punta Cana District, once with an astounding growing rate of more than 15% (2007) with $7.0 + billion already invested in hotel and urban developments, it is expected a recovery in 2012.
Investment areas outside Santo Domingo:
This once sleepy town built in the earlier 50s. by and only for the wealthy, beach-fronted perhaps one of the best white-sand beaches in the world. As bizarre as it could be from a 30-year dictatorship, the whole 5-kilometer beach was walled! Nature took its toll in the seventies with a hurricane that destroyed it and the beach returns to its –almost- original form.
Again, the tourism boom of the 80s stormed the beach, almost a natural pool with both a natural and artificial island (the late for carving a trench for a port!) so the once only popular beach for Santo Domingo now is shared, half, by hotels and the west side still is crowed by poor people. Heavy real estate investment occurred in the mid 80s in lodges and low-budget apartments for, obviously, low-budget tourists. On the east side, however, along with some old luxurious villas now converted into fancy restaurants, you can buy or rent medium-size middle class apartments close to the coast (not sandy beach tough). Still, Boca Chica is highly deteriorated and excessively populated.
With popular classes and hotels pushing eastward, the very next beach, after another highly popular one: Guayakanes (named after a hard-wood tree) is this 10-kilometer long Caribbean-style beach. Again, the tourism boom meant some 2,000 hotel rooms -low/middle class- yet only lasted until the beginning of the 00s. Juan Dolio is another sample, as well as Puerto Plata in the north coast, of an anarchic, non-planned, urban tourism destination failure after excessive exploitation.
However, with the expansion of Santo Domingo (from seven thousand people in the sixties to almost four million in 2010) and some government investment in infrastructure, they connected properly the city with only 60-kilometer away Juan Dolio Beach. Local heavy investments in hotels, golf courses inside gated communities brought live again to Juan Dolio. In the last five years, 20-story-high building apartments have been built so high-middle class could move, as well as in pioneer and world famous Casa de Campo, some 150 kilometers east Santo Domingo.
People can commute –one hour– from and to Juan Dolio condos and golf communities so you can live in the countryside, could called it suburbs... and work in busting Santo Domingo. For the richest, a new highway (ready in 2011) will connect the capital with the 2,000+ ultra luxurious villas in Casa de Campo. But as a middle point, we recommend Juan Dolio as a superb place to invest.
NEW ROMANA –a 100-kilometer span–
When you are heading east, first you have to cross the Higuamo River in San Pedro de Macoris, a small town with a long history on sugar cane mills, cement and baseball players. Then, the Soco River, some 50 kilometers before Central Romana Corporation's Casa de Campo (developed first by Gulf & Western Corporation, then acquired by the Cuban-American family Fanjul) and their extended cattle and sugar cane plains.
Spanish hotel tycoon Luis Pinero, owner of eleven Bahia Principe megaresorts only in the DR, started in 2008 one of his most dare tourism investment with a 2-million square meter gated-community in Soco Beach, close to the river. Other Spaniard hoteliers had invested in the area since the 90s yet with small resorts mostly for gamblers.
Pinero will be developing a middle-class basic quality urban area with all basic infrastructures, including hotels, golf course and lots for developers. His well-known and trustful Pinero Group guarantees any real estate investment at a fair prize and future revenues. Nueva (new) Romana has the advantage of been in the 100 kilometer mark, and also connected to Santo Domingo by a new highway.
This is a small area with a natural dock for sailing ships, gated community with golf course and a little non-contaminated town nearby.
LA ROMANA –150 kilometers east Santo Domingo–
This province of the Dominican Republic is well-known for the ubiquitous CENTRAL ROMANA CORPORATION, with heavy investments in sugar, fertilizers, cattle and tourism. His jewel is the world famous, 70s, 80s and 90s jet-set villas and marina Casa de Campo plus, the Chavon amphitheater and artist villa of Altos de Chavon.
Once second house for fashion mogul Oscar De La Renta, Spanish singer and composer Julio Iglesias, and Fortune 500 Venezuelan Cisneros Family (among the richest in Latin America), Casa de Campo was a model later imitated all around the globe. This is a place only for the rich and famous. Still, you can invest –with your eyes closed– in their ultra expensive Marina condos or buy/rent a villa nearby. After 40 years, the quality of life in Casa de Campo –a loving and caring family affair– is unsurpassed.
Another little gated-community on the highway to Bayahibe. It has an 18-hole golf course, villas and condos. This is an absolute quiet and secluded place to live or stay for more than the two-week traditional vacation. It is close to La Romana International Airport.
Next of the rivers in the coastal plains in the south coast is the Chavon River. A natural frontier that divides the La Romana Province from its neighbor La Altagracia Province, site of the 5,000-hotel room Bayahibe/Dominicus tourism destination –same as Casa de Campo, they started in the early seventies– and a model of clustering and sustainability.
Down here in the ultra-white sandy beach, along with the most visited island in the DR, the Saona Island, lays a rather cozy small town with some condos and small houses. Bayahibe is positioning itself as a new ecotourism destination due to the nearby 500-square kilometer Parque del Este Natural Park and, 120-square kilometer Punta Espada Natural Park. Eastward, it is the also world famous, although only 10-years old Cap Cana.
Last in the east coast, some 250 kilometers east Santo Domingo you will find the number one tourism destination of the country: Punta Cana.
Phone: (809) 905-3323
Address: Los Corales Beachfront, Between Soles Bar, & NH Real Arena Resort
City: Bavaro - Punta Cana
State: La Altagracia
Country: Dominican Republic