—Vida y tiempo—
When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter -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 resales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.
Featured house this week
Paradisus Condos / Rorhmoser
Paradisus will consist of 4 towers in Rorhmoser, a suburb to the west of central San Jose. Not far from the US Embassy and shopping malls, Rorhmoser is a residential area that was developed in the 60's and 70's and is currently seeing significant re-development with high end condos. It is the area where the new stadium and a number of luxury high rise condos have recently been built with more on the drawing boards. Phase one of this development is nearing completion; it consists of two towers and the amenities -pool, exercise room, etc. Tower one is expected to be completed in January and Tower 2 should follow in February / March. The location of this development is superb... it's off the main traffic paths and sits on a ravine overlooking a river. To the east is San Jose / Heredia; to the west is Pavas / Escazu. With floor to ceiling windows and a wrap around balcony, these units offer fantastic light and views.
Each of the units consists of two bedrooms / two bathrooms, and a large living/dining/kitchen area. The floor plan of each of these units has eliminated the optional "den / office" divider. The result is a larger area offering more flexible furniture arrangements while still maintaining the option of including an office area. At 105m2 plus two parking spots each and storage locker, they offer a great opportunity for someone seeking views, security, central location, and first class, all round living...
$229,000 / 2 bdrm / 2 bthrm / Penthouse / Sunset Views / 150 m2 / 1500 sf
INFINITY TERRACES: Pozos de Santa Ana / Guachapelin -contemporary design, well maintained, luxury 5th floor penthouse condo nestled in the hills of Santa Ana. Spacious open floor plan with 16 ft. vaulted ceilings, large kitchen w/SS appliances and granite countertops, laundry room w/ washer and dryer, air-conditioned. Plenty of closet space. : 5 year old / two car parking / bodega… building has high security, gym , hot tub and swimming pool.. 180 degree sunset views to west and north (Alejuela). 5 min. to San Jose – Caldera Highway / Multiplaza. This unit offers a secure, carefree lifestyle; you can lock and leave or leave and lease.
Loma Real Escazu / Guachipelin, Central Valley
$325,000 / 3 bdrms + maids rm / 3.5 bthrms / owner financing
Beautiful house in residential area: 24 hours security. 274 m2 construction. 2 story, 3 bedrooms + maids quarters, 3 1/2 bathrooms, ample eat-in kitchen, six years old, immaculate condition, lot 264 m2 professionally landscaped, two car enclosed garage, 1500 L reserve water tank, electric demand water heaters, Independent office. Located close to all amenities. Taxes $500 yearly and security $80 monthly.
House can be purchased furnished for an additional $30,000
Owner will take back a mortgage for up to 5 yrs. @ 12% interest only.
Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales
Sales: no calls.
Rentals: a number of calls but nothing available.
Unit #114: $235,000 / See Unit
Unit #107: $1,600 mo. / See Unit / Available March 1
HOUSE FOR SALE
FOR SALE $235,000
Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Floor(s): Single Floor
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.
HOUSE FOR RENT
$1,600 mo. Available March 1
Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Floor(s): 2 story
This 1,716 sf. (plus parking for one car) two story, detached house, with three terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and upstairs master suite is a beautiful home. This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms (one on each floor) with en-suite bathrooms and a powder room, each with large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and ground floor bedroom ceilings as well as the master bedroom on the 2nd floor, provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are three TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the living room.) This is a beautiful home. There is a rough-in for a dishwasher in the kitchen area.
WEATHER: beautiful... beautiful, beautiful -the trade winds have kicked in and it's typically windy much of the time... it’s actually been a bit cool for us this past week.
News Items of the Week
1. High tec exports: this may be coming to an unhappy ending. Rumor has it that Intel, the flagship, bragging rights company leading the parade may be leaving CR. Why? Intel is not doing well world wide and the cost of production here, specifically, the cost of power (electricity) and water have risen too height. This would be a BIG blow to CR if it happens.
2. Container Port Hearing—Limon: again there was the 2nd ordered environmental assessment, public participation hearing. And again, it was disrupted by and eventually cancelled due to rowdiness. What more will the company be ordered to do?
3. Public Worker’s Salaries: What is right for the private sector is not o.k. for the government sector. The government has a problem... it’s burearcacies are bloated, it’s benefits way out of line and the government has to borrow half the cost of salaries... it is not sustainable and now, after the horse has left along with allthe other livestock, the government wants to shut the door. Depending on who winds the election, as to how soon the government employees take to the streets.
4. / 6: CR colon vs. dollar exchange rate: As stated a month ago and subsequently, the revaluation of the dollar is continuing. At one time this past week, the rate moved to 526:$1. The central bank is threatening to intervene to slow the rise. The reason being attributed to this is that with the Quantitative Tapering in the US, there are few dollars coming into CR and RECOPE, the government oil monopoly had to pay a million dollars to unload a shipment of oil... Another explanation might well be that given the political uncertainty in CR, foreign direct investment hasn’t been happening the past few months.
5. Election: This is being described as the most important election in CR for a long time. It represents a dramatic option at a time when many, many people are thoroughly disgusted and discouraged with the current / past administrations and status quo... The voting will likely go to a second round (no one candidate will get 40%)... the question is how the candidates are going to stack up in the first round of voting..
1. Costa Rica leads Latin America in high-tech exports and is fourth in the world
January 27th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Growth in the export of medical devices has led Costa Rica to the top spot in Latin America – and fourth in the world – in the export of industrial high-tech goods, according to the World Bank.
Exports of these goods exceeded $1.5 billion USD in 2013, and have grown twice as fast as other exports from the country’s free trade zones.
Direct and indirect employment in the sector went from 1,500 jobs in 2000 to 17,285 in 2012. Between the years 2000 and 2013, the number of companies producing medical devices in the country increased from 8 to 57.
The regional president of Bayer, Rafael Villaroel, said his company plans to further expand their operations in the country this year, as a result of a good combination of skilled and professional labor.
“The country is recognized as a safe and reliable destination for the medical industry,” he said.
2. Limon hearing on container facilty is disrupted again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
A hearing on the proposed $1 billion container facility in Limón again has been suspended due to unruly spectators.
Reports from Limón said that an effort to resume the hearing failed when members of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva began throwing items at the speaker table.
The Secretaría Técnica Ambiental was ordered by the Sala IV constitutional court to resume the hearing even though the first one was suspected due to misbehavior by union members. Japdev is the Junta de Administración Portuaria y. Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica, the government agency that runs the public docks.
Union members oppose the construction of the new facility on concession by APM Terminals, a highly experienced Dutch firm.
President Laura Chinchilla called the misbehaving members of the audience enemies of progress in a Tweet.
3. Public employee reps stalk out of salary negotiations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Negotiators for public employees, faced with a new salary formula from the government asked for a recess and then walked out, the minister of Trabajo said Monday.
The union negotiators want a 3.65 percent increase, about what the private sector's minimum salaries were increased Jan. 1.
The minister, Olman Segura Bonilla, said that the government has to consider the budget deficit and the difficult financial situation of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.
4. Dollar sees huge one-day rally in Costa Rica, reaches highest price in 2 years
January 30th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The dollar gained ¢6.55 on the Monex wholesale market in a single day yesterday, reaching a level not seen in two years. The currency reached a sale price as high as ¢526 in retail banks. This morning, the Central Bank reference rate was ¢505.12 (buy) / ¢518.14 (sell) – an increase of ¢6.54 on the buy side and ¢7.06 on the sell side since yesterday, when the Bank’s reference rates stood at ¢498.58 / ¢511.08, respectively.
The dollar rally forced the Central Bank to intervene yesterday by selling $1 million into the market – a step the Bank has not had to take since June 12, 2008.
Despite the dollar’s gains, trading volume remained stable through yesterday’s session.
Economists said the dollar’s rally was a result of increased demand for the U.S. currency in the private sector, as well as in some public institutions such as the Costa Rican Oil Refinery and the public health system known as CCSS. While demand for the currency has risen, the supply has not, analysts said.
Earlier this month it was predicted that the dollar could see gains in Costa Rica as the United States pulls back on its “stimulus” expansionary monetary policy, which analysts said could drive some capital back to the US.
Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve announced a further $10 billion in cuts to its stimulus program.
5. U.S. dollar becomes stronger as Fed reduces bond purchases
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Expats can expect another bump in the colon-dollar exchange rate because the U.S. Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to reduce by $10 billion its monthly bond purchases.
This is the second time that the Fed reduced the amount of bonds it would buy. The central bank had been purchasing $85 billion a month. In February the central bank will buy $65 million. The reductions will take place each month until in December the Fed will purchase the last $15 billion.
The bond purchases were designed to bolster the sagging U.S. economy and keep interest rates low.
The first effects of the announcement were felt on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 200 points lower.
Earlier today in Asia stocks were down. As the program tapers and interests rates edge higher, analysts worry investors will pull their money from emerging economies and seek higher returns in the U.S., according to wire service reports.
The value of the dollar jumped eight colons to 516 on the MONEX market during the day. The Banco Central was quoting the dollar at 518.14 colons to purchase at the end of the day. Selling a dollar would bring 505.13 colons.
In prices posted for this morning, Banco Nacional was quoting the price to buy a dollar at 523 colons. Those selling dollars would get 509 colons for each one.
The increase is about 15 colons from the currency prices for months, about 3 percent.
Bankers are reasoning that with fewer dollars being pumped into the U.S. economy, the value of the greenback will rise. In addition, there is far more effort being expended now to halt money laundering, something that has been depressing the value of the dollar here for years.
6. Latin American left eyes Costa Rica, El Salvador votes
SAN JOSÉ, January 31, 2014 (AFP) – The rise of the left in Latin America could get a further boost Sunday with elections in Costa Rica and El Salvador.
In Costa Rica, a leftist win in the general election would be unprecedented. In El Salvador, which is choosing only a new president, the left is represented by the FMLN — a party born from a guerrilla army that fought a civil war in the 1980s against a US-backed government.
The polarized race between right and left is close is both countries, and a run-off may be needed in both cases, polls suggest.
The election day is the same, but not much else.
The leftist parties in the two countries, the countries themselves their histories and the candidates are very different, said political analyst Roberto Canas, who teaches at several universities in San Salvador.
In Costa Rica, a young lawmaker and conservationist named Jose Maria Villalta, 36, and of the Frente Amplio (FA) party is among the favorites, along with former San Jose mayor Johnny Araya, 56, from the ruling right-wing National Liberation Party.
“Support for the FA is multi-ideological. Villalta is benefiting from discontent, a protest vote not just against the political system but also the economic one” said political analyst Jaime Ordonez.
That is why the left is on the rise in Costa Rica,” added Ordonez, head of the Central American Institute of Governance.
In El Salvador, the candidate of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, current vice president Salvador Sanchez Ceren, leads in the polls against former San Salvador mayor Norman Quijano, of the right-wing Republican Nationalist Alliance (Arena).
The FMLN ended 20 years of Arena rule in elections in 2009 and brought the left to power for the first time in the poor Central American country. But then, their candidate was a moderate journalist, Mauricio Funes.
This time, the FMLN is drawing on someone from their former military ranks, an ex-rebel commander, to halt the right’s drive to retake power.
The Costa Rican elections the situation is more up in the air. Two more hopefuls — rightist Otto Guevara and center left Luis Guillermo Solis, are close behind Araya and Villalta.
“If there were only two forces like in El Salvador it would be easier to define. What is happening is that everything is really spread out,” said Costa Rican analyst Victor Ramirez.
If no candidate wins a minimum of 50 percent in El Salvador and 40 percent in Costa Rica, runoffs will be held March 9 and April 4, respectively.
Models and fear
Although the leftist parties in the two countries are distinct, a win in Costa Rica and El Salvador would strengthen that influence of a movement that, albeit with nuances, is ruling most countries in Latin America.
And it could offset the balance in Central America, where conservative governments rule in Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, and the left in Nicaragua.
“I don’t think the United States is thrilled. Nor are Central American business leaders, who have cross border investments. They invest in parties and cash in later,” said Canas.
Two political models are being put to the test. The right-wing parties in both countries are neo-liberal, free market ones. The leftist parties prefer a larger role for the government, but they take pains not to antagonize the United States, which is Central America’s main trading partner.
In the case of El Salvador, the United States is the main source of remittances from emigrants, and crucial to propping up the economy.
“I don’t think either seeks broad transformation in the political model. It is not that the Cuban revolution is on its way to these two countries, or Venezuelan Chavismo,” said Canas.
He said that if they win the FMLN and the Frente Amplio will have to undertake unpopular economic measures to boost the economy. In Costa Rica, things were so polarized that the right did start making mentions of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The Frente Amplio derided this as a “campaign of fear.”
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal even reprimanded two companies for recommending their employees not vote for “the communists.”
7. Costa Rica’s Central Bank promises to intervene against rising dollar, falling colon
January 31st, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) After the dollar gained significant ground against the colon this week – rising in price by nearly ¢7 during Wednesday’s trading alone – Costa Rica’s Central Bank (BCCR) is promising further intervention in the currency markets should the trend continue, the Bank said in an official statement.
The statement reiterated the Bank’s commitment to “protect the economy” before excessive increases in the price of the greenback.
On Wednesday, the Central Bank sold some $4.9 million into the Monex wholesale market after the dollar soared to more than ¢520. The move helped push the dollar down to close at ¢514.24.
The Bank notes that it has $7.2 billion in net international reserves to intervene in the exchange market.
Today, the Central Bank will unveil its Macroeconomic Program for 2014.
Brian, Lita, the Late Hugo IV, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, Chico II and Chica II