Steadying the Ship...

ISSUE #774: Aug. 18-24, 2019


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


rentals & sales

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser
Visit our website

Paradisus Condos - click to visit

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...

Semi furnished unit: For sale: $235,000
Fully furnished unit: For sale: $245,000
Floor 12 -west view

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #114, #116 and #124


Paradisus: Nothing available

Los Jardines: Units #106C, #106D and #113

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #116: $ 195,000 $ 189,995 / See Unit
Unit #124: $ 125,000 / See Unit

Unit #106C: $ 950 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #106D: $ 1,050 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #113: $ 1,200 mo. $ 1,150 / Available immediately / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #114
$ 199,000

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

This 2 bedroom/2bathroom,1,290 sf single floor end unit home includes a 150 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. This house is fully air conditioned and has recently been professionally decorated by international decorator Alcides Graffe and has undergone a complete renovation—new modern furniture, finishings, window coverings, and art work by Carlos Gambino. It is arguably the nicest furnished unit at Residencias Los Jardines and only steps from the pool

UNIT #116
$ 195,000 $ 189,995

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.

UNIT #124
$135,000 $ 125,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + covered parking for one car, is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple.

For rent

UNIT #106C
$ 950 mo.
Available immediately

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.

UNIT #106D
$ 1050 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1227 + parking
Total area (Sq M): 113 + parking
Bedrooms: 1 + den (bedroom possible)
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 2nd. floor
Type: 4-plex
Furnished: Yes

This 2nd story, 1,227 sf (113 m2 + one parking space) is a georgous home with one of the best views at Los Jardines. The very large front covered terrace faces east and is suitable for entertaining; the off-bedroom covered terrace faces west for sun sets. This very tastefully furnished and fully equipped home offers a lifestyle envied by many.

UNIT #113
$ 1,150 mo. price reduction
Available immediately

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. It is attached on one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.

Our Lives

Rainy Season... We have had a little rain but not enough to replenish the ground water... plants are happy... only minor watering this past week.

What Happened This Week

Vacancies: Another week and not one inquiry... Another week and not one inquiry... this is becoming chronic. One owners are now having to flow money back into their units... they are not happy nor anxious about doing that... we'll see...

Steadying the Ship...: I continue to look after the infrastructure. We had a pressure tank for drinking water fail. We replaced it and something has failed again... We are working on it. Fortunately, we have two tanks so we can limp along seamlessly to residents. We are finally about ready to finish the reconditioning of 108. This has taken a long time as workers have been diverted to various other needy areas and have not been given specific direction and enforcement of those directions to finish it. Now, I am focusing their effort... we are making progress. This week with be a bit of a hiatus re. building reconditioning because they same two workers will have to focus on trimming the garden items... that will take the week. When they return to building mtnc, they will focus on the front wall / street presence. That should be a couple week's work ...and from there, I expect they will return to finish off the exterior of 103. That is far enough ahead for planning. Hopefully, we will get the office team in place this week and begin the process of getting sorted out.

Update of Shareholder Agreement: One of the outstanding issues not yet completed, is the updated Shareholder Agreement. Over the years, the shareholders have made changes to the agreement. The old timers can remember those changes but the newbies cannot possibly know. In addition, we now have a sufficient number of Spanish first language owners so we need to translate this into Spanish. The corporate lawyer has had this as a job assignment for a long time. He has not been diligent and has not been whipped enough. I am now the whipping boy... he is getting a regular dose of the whip so I expect to finally receive this. We have a known resource to translate it...

"La Trinidad" Foreclosure: ...I continue to look for a buyer... a couple of weak possibilities. One of these days, I will just have to pull the trigger on foreclosure...

INS Suit: I haven't heard if they appealed... but I am sure they did.

Wine Club: This will happen tomorrow... 29 attendees. Hopefully as great as last year... that will fulfill my obligation for this year... I can relax...

News Items of the Week


1. Unemployment: 65% of the workforce lives in the Greater San Jose Area... it is hurting...

2. Dollar Appreciation: Only in Costa Rica does the dollar devalue against the local currency... All over the world, the opposite is the case...

1. Unemployment figure in the center of the country grew 60% in the last year

193,000 inhabitants of the Central Valley have no job; Unemployment rate grew 4.2 percentage points for the second quarter of the year

08/20/2019, San José, tour of downtown San José to see the number of unemployed people, who are in the streets looking for work. José Cordero Photography

Unemployment in the center of the country reached figures never seen before in national statistics. In the last year alone it shot from 120,000 to 193,000 people (73,000 more), that is, an increase of 60%.

Thus, in the Central Valley, the unemployment rate, which is the percentage of unemployed people in the total workforce, grew 4.2 percentage points in one year, rising from 7.7% in the second quarter of 2018 , at 11.9% for the same period of 2019, reveal the statistics of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).

Since 2010, when INEC began conducting the Continuous Employment Survey, it did not run into such high figures in the central region of the country, made up of cities of San José, Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago, as well as its surroundings, and where it lives 57% of the national population.

The 193,000 unemployed people in the Central Region represent 65% of the 296,000 unemployed in the whole country, where the national unemployment rate is also 11.9%.

The number of unemployed brings together those who were unemployed but also those who decided to start looking for it, possibly because the income is not enough at home.

'Deterioration of urban productive activities'

For the researcher and economist Juan Diego Trejos, of the Institute of Research in Economic Sciences of the University of Costa Rica, the labor market still does not create sources of employment capable of satisfying people who enter the workforce, that is, who start to look for a job.

“This suggests a deterioration of the more typically urban productive activities, such as manufacturing, construction and services of all kinds, including those in the public sector. These activities do not seem to be offsetting the generation of informal employment or self-employment in the central region, ”said Trejos.

For the economist Alejandro Abarca, of the Lead University and the UCR, the deterioration of some of these activities is due to the slow growth of the Costa Rican economy and the decline in household consumption.

“No one at this time wants to make investment decisions simply because there is a lot of uncertainty. The VAT has just entered, you also have the problem with strikes, there are signs that there may be a recession in the United States, here you can see that the appreciation of the colon rather responds to a very low demand in dollars. So, nobody wants to borrow in projects or start businesses, ”said Abarca.

The refusal or fear of Costa Ricans to acquire long-term loans slows down the growth of the construction sector, which in turn affects productive chains and loan placement, which affects the entire economic cycle, for example.

This uncertainty affects not only the consumer, but also the business. This is stated by Gonzalo Delgado, president of the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector (Uccaep).

"Although there are other reasons," he says, "there is no security to invest in past situations such as strikes that caused the loss of at least ¢ 138,000 million last year and the latest protest situations." It has also contributed to generate considerable losses, causing cancellations of investments, exports and a highly affected part such as tourism, a sector that has not yet recovered. This type of situation affects the other sectors of the economy, for example, agriculture, commerce and construction ”.

In May, the private sector asked the Government to work on eight points to reactivate the economy, with the aim of restoring confidence to businessmen and consumers, but some are still pending.

“While it is true there are advances in issues such as simplification of procedures, dual training and legal minimum reserve, which we believe could be further reduced, it is urgent to advance on a fundamental issue, which is the law to regulate abuses with strikes, as well as the public employment project, ”said Gonzalo Delgado.

2. Capital inflows and deceleration in imports lower the dollar at the same price a year ago

Currency retreated this year almost ¢ 60, and today is around ¢ 568.35. Among the reasons it is mentioned that purchases abroad fell almost $ 250 million in the first half and that the Treasury has made strong deposits in foreign currency

Higher capital inflows to invest in government bonds and the slowdown in imports are, according to the Central Bank, the two main factors that weigh in the reduction that the price of the dollar has shown in the last eight months, and that have taken to the same value it had a year ago.

The price of the currency in the Monex market, where amounts over $ 1,000 are traded, closed on Friday, August 23 at ¢ 568.35, an amount very similar to what it had a year ago, which was ¢ 570.11; However, in the first week of November 2018, it even increased to a maximum of ¢ 628.85, a behavior that later began to reverse.

“We have basically observed two factors (which influence the decline): one has to do with greater confidence in the domestic financing markets and especially financing of the Ministry of Finance (…). On the other hand, we have seen a reduction in the demand for foreign exchange as a result of the deceleration of imports, ”said the president of the Central Bank, Rodrigo Cubero.

Imports of goods went from $ 2,516 million, in the first half of 2018, to $ 2,273 million in the first half of 2019, which has influenced the lower purchase of vehicles.

For its part, the Ministry of Finance captured, last March, almost $ 1 billion in just seven days, operations within which the authorities anticipate that foreign investors participated, as well as nationals that had resources abroad.

“There has been an income of capital, both from Costa Ricans who come from abroad, and from foreigners, who have brought capital flows to invest in the domestic market, mainly in treasury securities, that has increased the supply of foreign exchange,” said Cubero.


Other economists consulted consider that there are additional factors that explain the abundance of currencies observed in the market.

This abundance is reflected in the fact that the dollars that entities buy from the public through a window have exceeded, this year, those they have sold, by $ 1,309 million.

The economist Felix Delgado, said that the same decline in the price of the currency causes some people to want to sell before it falls further and that fuels the reduction.

On the other hand, Delgado added, there is a demand that basically does not change due to variations in the price, which is that of the public sector (for example, Recope to pay for fuels), but the demand for private sector currencies falls under conditions of economic slowdown Well, people reduce their willingness to spend.

The economist Norberto Zúñiga, meanwhile, added some more factors: less financing in dollars to the private sector, expectations of greater external resources and eventual additional appreciation of the exchange rate and sale of dollars for tax payments.

According to the Survey of Exchange Rate Variation Expectations conducted by the Central Bank, the expected average variation for the next 12 months of the dollar has slowed. In April it was 4.2%; in May it rose to 3.7%, in June to 3.8% and in July, to 3.3%.

Concern for national production

The drop in the currency benefits debtors in dollars that receive income in colones and lowers the prices of imported goods; However, it generates concern because it hits the income of entrepreneurs who receive foreign exchange, such as exporters and tourism.

The above occurs at a time when the country's production grows little, just 1.5% in June compared to the same month of the previous year, according to the monthly index of economic activity.

This also happens when other countries, such as China, and in Latin America in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Colombia, Zúñiga said, have devalued their currency, which makes their products relatively cheaper for foreigners, while Costa Rican goods become more expensive for outsiders.

"I am concerned about this exchange rate appreciation, at a time when many other currencies of competing countries have depreciated and the conditions of our economy are not very favorable," said Zúñiga.

“Although the Central Bank had said (its president, Mr. Rodrigo Cubero) that they would try to avoid a strong contraction in the exchange rate due to the issuance of Eurobonds, with what has been happening, the significance of the Bank's position is not clear, since what many We thought it was that this regression of the exchange rate is negative for so many people whose income depends on external sales, directly or indirectly, ”added Delgado.

Asked about this situation, Cubero commented that the Central Bank is not the one that determines the exchange rate, but the market forces and that there are still no signs of a real appreciation (the exchange rate of Costa Rica compared to other countries adjusted by inflation differences).

“The exchange rate is not determined by the Central Bank, it is determined by the market in a managed flotation regime such as Costa Rica has, since 2015, the exchange rate is determined primarily by the forces of supply and demand of foreign exchange in the market and the Central Bank intervenes mainly to limit, to mitigate violent fluctuations in the exchange rate ”. Rodrigo Cubero, president of the Central Bank.

“It is true that the export sector is going through a difficult circumstance, the external context has been difficult and because the Costa Rican economy itself is facing a difficult time and we have that very present, but we reiterate that the behavior of the exchange rate is fundamentally factors of market, ”said Cubero.

He added that the Central Bank has used the tools at hand to help local production, such as the reduction of the monetary policy rate (which influences the rest of the rates), of the legal minimum reserve (which releases resources for credit) and has bought dollars to a greater extent than is needed to replace the needs of the non-banking public sector (to mitigate the fall).

Asked whether the income of $ 1.5 billion per eurobonds could generate a greater reduction, Cubero explained that not necessarily because these currencies will not pass directly through the market.

He added that if the Government required to sell part of those dollars to the Central Bank, at that time the entity will have to decide whether as a result of the purchase of dollars it has to pour a part of them into the exchange market or not.

In this way, it is clear from Cubero's words that as long as the factors that explain the greater supply of currencies are maintained, the price of the dollar will remain low. In the second semester, attention is focused on the decision taken by the entity on the administration of the resources of the Eurobonds that the Government requires to change to colones.


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+506) 8-455-59-35
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203


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