The Price is Right…. Or is it??
First of all a lot of the info you receive from some sources can be somewhat outdated or not current with "reality". I have told people for years this is like being in Costa Rica of say 15 plus years ago. We have great prices, but they are rising at a surprisingly rapid rate.
Gone is the day of the $10,000 beachfront lot or the $50,000 beach house. Let me qualify that a bit... you can still find those on RARE occasion, but they will be either very remote, in dire need of repair or something will be wrong with the paperwork (the title). We all dream of hunting down that "Piece of Paradise" somewhere in the world and I still believe Ecuador is your best Latin American country to do that in... just get ready to probably pay a bit more than you had hoped. When compared with the rest of Latin America you can't beat the prices or the VALUE of what you can buy here. Value is an important word to keep in mind when thinking of a purchase. Costa Rica and Panama (and other countries) have been riding the wave as the place to buy, but now they have topped out in value and the chance for appreciation after the purchase has waned. The other contributing factors to Ecuador's value is it (in my humble opinion) has much better weather (less humidity and heat), a strong growing economy (more on that in a moment), stable government, the people here are very warm and engaging, your beach front property belongs to YOU (unlike Mexico and a few other Latin American countries) and they use the US dollar as their currency.
So basically we all want "a good deal" and to feel like we were not taken advantage of in the process. That can be accomplished here... you just need to know the value of surrounding like parcels, homes or condos. Unfortunately with a newer MLS system the comps are just not there yet. That's where years of experience come in handy when hunting down that Piece of Paradise. Paradise can get ugly fast if you don't do your homework before the purchase. Involving a good lawyer is always suggested, but they too can be hard to find (as it is anywhere in the world nowadays). The person you work with hopefully has an up to date knowledge of prices and the surrounding areas high/low points. Any upcoming improvements or problems in the area of interest that could have an impact on property value are paramount to know. This is not as easy as it sounds, but being in the "Loop" pays off in Aces! The old saying "It's not what you know, but who you know" is alive and well here.
Now something that you have to keep in mind and embrace actually is that foreigners are NOT driving up prices here on the coast like you see them doing in the Andes' regions. Reason being is the economy in and around Guayaquil (Ecuador's largest city and closest to the beaches) is booming and there is a LOT of money in Guayaquil. Many people here have the ability to own beautiful homes in the city AND buy beach homes or condos for holiday use primarily. The old premise of Gringo and Local pricing is somewhat of a myth here (unless you go out on your own and knock on a door with a for sale sign). Yes, Gringo pricing can still take place, but when you go to buy a condo, home in a gated community or a building lot in a gated community you will pay the EXACT same price as the Ecuadorian in line to buy the same property. Know your market or have someone that does and then make your offer.