Catch Up

ISSUE #904: May 1-7, 2022

2022-05-08

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly newsletter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have re-sales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Developer / Property manager
Residencias Los Jardines

Web: https://residenciaslosjardines.com
Emails: info@residenciaslosjardines.com
ResidenciasPropertyManagement@gmail.com

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #114 and #116

Rentals:
Los Jardines: Unit #106C - $ 950 mo.
Paradisus: Nothing available

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

FOR SALE
Unit #114: $ 185,000 $ 178,000 PRICE REDUCTION / See Unit
Unit #116: $ 189,995 $ 179,000 PRICE REDUCTION / See Unit

FOR RENT
Unit #106C: $ 950 mo. two bedroom, two bathroom, 2nd. floor, two terraces 120m2 / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #114
FOR SALE
$ 185,000 $ 178,000
PRICE REDUCTION

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1345
Total area (Sq M): 124
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

Two bedroom / two bathroom, lots of built-ins, appliances and furniture included. 125m2 / 1,345sf. Pictures to follow. One covered parking space and bodega included. Monthly HOA fees $268, taxes and water included. The long time owner passed away / the unit has been transferred to his sister / she wants to sell and has set up POAs to facilitate this. This can be a good deal for some buyer. All offers will be presented.

UNIT #116
FOR SALE
$ 189,995 $ 179,000
PRICE REDUCTION

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

For rent

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: 4-plex
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units on the ground floor and two units on the 2nd. floor. Each unit is the same size (1,250sf) divided into 800 sf of interior space and 450 sf of covered front and back terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5” concrete slab prevent sound transference.

Our Lives

What Happened This Week

Weather: The rainy season is here. It has rained virtually every afternoon, usually fairly early 1-2 pm... As we move further into the season, this is likely to move to later afternoon. In addition, the rains have been accompanied by pretty vicious electrical storms. The regularity of rain may be tapering off since we haven't had anything significant for the past two days.

Stories

1. Pool Heater: We continue to experience failures in the tubing. We are so far behind on other work that I shut the heater down until we get caught up. In the meantime, McGyver will be returning to the US where he will get some parts that we cannot find here... maybe they exist but the most likely place did not have a clue... simple actuator to raise the plastic lid when the temperature reaches a certain preset limit and a thermostat control for the fan we have... This is not rocket science and all easily exist... but not here.

We have a month's worth of gardening and urgent patching / repairs to catch up on... trimming, cleaning, switching from irrigation to flood control and rain water management, and there continues to be the unexpected break downs...

We will return to the pool heater...

2. Accident Aftermath: Both continue fine. The older person who fell from the scaffolding is a little tender in the rib cage but is doing fine.

3. Internet: It has been stable... no problems, no complaints. We continue to search for a second provider as back up but are doing o.k. on the one provider we currently have.

4. Pool Tile: This job finally got done today.

5. Foreclosures:
La Trinidad: since I have not heard, I consider this deal dead. I am not surprised... disappointed but not surprised.
Barrio Escalante: Waiting for the judge's decision --been waiting since Jan. 11...

6. San Bosco: I tried making an ad... I don't know if I succeeded... Will check today... the website was in Spanish and my abilities without that challenge are limited.

7. Shareholder Meeting: We could not get the certified financial statement in time for the shareholders to meaningfully review it. So I postponed the meeting for a week. The CPA we had do this before, died. We had to find a new one and he wanted documentation to familiarize himself with our operation. This all took time. We now have it, and the required documents --all basically useless documents for information purposes since they are in Spanish and colones and most of our shareholders are English speaking / USD users... and our budgeting and banking accounts are in dollars...

News Items of the Week

Comments:

1. New President sworn in tomorrow... look at the list of urgent items he has to deal with. I do not disagree with any of them. Note, that the Hacienda--tax / customs / revenue / trade data bases have been hacked and CR is again flying blind.

2. Dollar / Colon devaluation: About 10% over the past year and it is continuing and perhaps accelerating.

1. President Rodrigo Chaves will not have the traditional “honeymoon” due to urgent needs of the country

Unemployment of 330,000, the reactivation of the economy, the "hacking" of the Treasury and the high cost of fuel that has the country in crisis cannot wait 100 days

QCOSTARICA – The country’s many urgent needs would cancel the traditional “honeymoon” for incoming President Rodrigo Chaves, who will be sworn in as the 49th president of Costa Rica at noon on Sunday.

The honeymoon is a period of transition and accommodation, nuanced with a certain complacency, close to 100 days in which the new president receives few criticisms and demands.

However, the truth of the matter is that when Chaves is sworn in as president this Sunday, he will have to deal with a major fire, so to speak, in addition to other emergencies.

This includes the hacking of several of the Ministerio de Hacienda (Treasury of which he was minister for a brief period in 2019) websites which threaten to paralyze trade, increase the price of goods and services and worst of all, exacerbate the unemployment problems that already affect 330,000 Costa Ricans.

The hacking has gone beyond the Treasury, a number of other government institutions have reported their systems breached by the Conti ransomware, with no clear solution in sight.

“For each extra day of storage we must pay about a thousand dollars more and the situation worries us because the ports and airports are already collapsed and in the next few days, 10 thousand more containers are expected to arrive, which will generate more problems. The declaration of an emergency in customs is urgent for multiple sectors”, said José Antonio Salas, president of Crecex.

On the other hand, businessmen complain about the prices of gasoline and electricity, which reached record figures due to the pressure that is being generated by the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the dollar exchange, while road maintenance contracts are slowed down as a result of the case of alleged corruption known as “Cochinilla” since the middle of last year.

To this, we must add that the law of digital nomads cannot be put into practice due to the lack of a simple regulation and that there is much expectation that the 5G frequencies will finally be released after two PAC governments prevented it.

To all these demands, it must also be added that Chaves would have the obligation to declare education a national emergency, since, in the last two years, the pandemic has exacerbated educational problems and drove thousands of students away from the classrooms, by not having the technological resources, nor the Internet to receive virtual classes.

“The main challenge for the next government is to generate formal and stable employment conditions, without increasing the size of the state. The healthy generation of employment is the result of economic growth, investment attraction, the birth of new companies and the facilitation of conditions so that all of the above can be carried out without excessive red tape and cumbersome bureaucracy,” said Julio Castilla, president of the Chamber trade.

Urgent demands

After eight years of two consecutive PAC governments, the country has serious lags and for this reason, the business sector urges the government of Rodrigo Chaves to implement a series of actions in just 100 days. Among them:

  • Declare a national emergency due to hacking of Treasury systems
  • Intervene public education
  • Lower cost of electricity
  • Review fuel formula to mitigate impact of war between Russia and Ukraine
  • Approve regulations for digital nomads to attract this type of tourist
  • Rebalance social charges to attract more contributors and curb informality
  • Generate formal and stable employment conditions
  • Promote the exploration and exploitation of gas
  • Do not increase the size of the civil service
  • Encourage the attraction of investment
  • Apply dual education law as soon as possible
  • Free up 5G spectrum to improve connectivity
  • Availability of water and sanitary sewage for the development of the country
  • Reactivation of contracts for road maintenance
  • Start road projects that have been on hold for several months and years
  • Facilitate access to credit for middle-class housing
  • Stop the unfair participation of ICE and UNOPS in consulting, design and construction activities of public works
  • Reduce public spending

With the change of government there are many expectations, as well as urgent demands.

For Silvia Castro, Chairwoman of AmCham, the generation of conditions to facilitate the creation of new sources of employment must be addressed immediately. Costa Rica has one of the highest unemployment figures in the OECD.

In addition, initiatives related to social charges and improve the socioeconomic conditions of Costa Rican families should be carried out.

Henry Egloff, President Chamber of Industries, said the government begins with the challenge of facing the effects of the Russia – Ukraine war, which is causing increases in the prices of raw materials, oil, and which is added to the high costs of international freight and international logistics problems caused by the pandemic. , which will ultimately affect economic growth, job creation and the cost of living for Costa Ricans.

“It is important that in the first 100 days, signals are provided that generate confidence in the productive sector, which allows attracting and increasing both national and foreign investment,” said Egloff.

2. Borrowers in dollars with income in colones face greater difficulties in paying their loans

The increase in the dollar exchange and the drop in income due to the pandemic have hit the payment capacity of these borrowers

The increase in the price of the dollar affected the payment capacity of those who have debts in dollars and receive income in colones.

Paying the bills

QCOSTARICA – Borrowers in dollars who earn in colones face greater difficulties in paying their loans because they have suffered two blows: an increase in the dollar exchange and a drop in income due to the pandemic.

This was explained on Thursday by financial authorities when presenting the Semestral de Estabilidad Financiera 2022 (2022 Semiannual Financial Stability Report) at a press conference.

The increase in the dollar exchange affected the payment capacity of those who have debts in dollars and receive income in colones.

At said conference, the General Superintendent of Financial Entities, Rocío Aguilar, indicated that in the case of debtors who have loans in a currency other than the one in which they receive their income (authorities call them “non-generators”), delinquency (credits with arrears greater than 90 days or in judicial collection with respect to total loans) in March 2022 was 3.40% and in the case of generators it was 2.21%.

“Indeed, it is being felt in non-generators, who are those people who do not have their income in that currency, that higher delinquency and fundamentally here there is an element that has to do with the increase in the exchange rate,” Aguilar commented.

“That, of course, also aggravated by the pandemic, then it is a combination of loss of ability to pay in many of these households, it is above all non-generators, which in some cases lost their sources of income, partially or even completely and that is also aggravated, as Doña Rocío said, by the increase in the exchange rate has generated a lot of pressure on their ability to pay”, added the president of the Central Bank, Rodrigo Cubero.

As of March 31 of this year, for example, the dollar had risen 8.9% compared to the same day of the previous year.

Loans to non-generators are lowered

The amount of loans in dollars granted to non-generators has decreased over the years in relation to the total portfolio, from 31.6% in December 2015 to 22.3% in March 2022.

As Cubero commented at the conference, between February 2020 and February 2022, the total loan balance in dollars to non-generators was reduced by US$1 billion, from US$9.4 billion to US$8.4 billion.

However, as indicated in the semi-annual report, loans in dollars granted to non-generators still represent a significant percentage of the loan portfolio.

“Although loans in dollars to debtors who do not generate foreign exchange has shown negative growth rates in the last five years, the balance of loans to these debtors still represents a significant percentage of the total loans portfolio of regulated financial intermediaries in the country,” indicates the report.

Into the future

Prospectively, according to Juan Carlos García, an official of the Central Bank’s financial stability department, the increase in external interest rates could affect non-generating households more.

“One has to see this risk prospectively in the sense that the global economic environment also reflects that there could eventually be an increase in interest rates abroad that, if transferred to the local market, would make credit more expensive for those debtors, for example, when they have interest rates that are adjusted periodically, then it is an issue that also enters into that language that we say is increasing the risk for them and also the recent trends that have occurred in the foreign exchange market, which if they continue could aggravate the ability of payment of those debtors”, Garcia explained.

In addition, García said, as has been pointed out in previous reports, the level of indebtedness of Costa Rican debtors is relatively high and therefore that makes their margin of action, when those exchange rate and interest rate variables increase, much more reduced and this is particularly important in the case of households and individuals.

3. Costa Rica receives massive number of cyber-attacks in one 24-hour period

The number of cyber-attacks hitting Costa Rica is at an unprecedented level. According to the director of Digital Governance, Jorge Mora, the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (Micitt) indicated that more than 4 million attacks have been attempted on Costa Rica’s public intuitions in one recent 24 hour period.

This topic was addressed during a virtual press conference that was held to discuss the recent cyber-attack by the Conti Ransomware gang that adversely affected the Costa Rica government computer systems. Due to this attack, the group has already leaked 50% of the data it has stolen, including over 850GB from the Finance Ministry as the Costa Rican government insisted that it will not pay the demanded ransom that is reported to be 10 million dollars.

During the conference call Mora explained that the more than 4 million recent cyber-attack attempts are divided into the following categories:

  • 2.7 Million of Malware
  • 800,000 Phishing
  • 84,000 Crypto Mining
  • 1.2 million of Command and Control Activities (Conti style)

He also explained during the call that “There were attempts of communication by means of control commands. They were mitigated and blocked. This weekend the Internet has been disconnected and the revision has begun”.

He went on to explain that these attempts were detected thanks to the protection systems recently installed by the institutions.

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