I saw a few posts lately about real estate in different cities around the world, and wanted to add my own Guatemalan experience. For more posts, you can check:
- Save. Spend. Splurge.: Montreal
- Urban Departures: Toronto
- Financial Diffraction: Halifax
- Money after Graduation: Calgary
- Frugal Portland: Portland
- Broke and Beautiful: New York
- Shop my Closet: Denver
- Don’t Quit your Day Job: Silicon Valley / South Bay Area
- Red Debted Stepchild: Bergen County, NJ
- Eyes on the Dollar: Cortez, CO
- Esther from NZ Muse
Guatemala, as I have mentioned before, is a strange market. The country is small and the places you would want to live as an expat are few. Sure, there are foreign people living in a hut with a thatch roof and dirt on the floor, like a Spanish girl in my village, who bought a one bed hut for $5,000, and lives on $300 a month. But most expats are here to enjoy a better life than they would at home on a similar budget. That last sentence pretty much describes what you find in Guatemalan properties: similar, or even higher prices than in Low Cost Of Living areas of the U.S. or Europe, but for sturdier constructions (everything post big earthquake of 1976 is quake-proof) and more amenities. A 2,000 sqft house is considered small, and most houses come with private bath and walk-in closets, maid quarters, laundry room, a study, family room, etc.
What does $250,000 buy in Guatemala?
As a matter of fact, in the good neighborhoods of Guatemala City or expat darling UNESCO World Heritage town of Antigua, not much. You can get a small 2 bed apartment, about 1,500 sqft (that is small by Guatemalan standards as it includes parking square footage and maids quarters). Like this one for example. Nothing fancy, 1,600 sqft and two parking spots in a nice and safe area.
You can also get my house. We just put it on the market with plans to build another house on the other beach we bought in front of the 90 acres land development. It has three units
two of them brand new with their own room and private bathroom
and another thatch unit with two more smaller bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen.
and of course, 30 meters of private beach on the shores of lake Petén Itzá
ok, enough with the shameless self promotion, let’s move on to the next price range, shall we?
What does $500,000 buy in Guatemala?
Half a million in Guatemala City buys you a decent house in a gated community, with 3-4 bedrooms, or a state of the art penthouse in a fancy building with gym, swimming pool, social area to host your parties, and stunning views over the city.
This apartment is priced at $480,000 for 2,300 sqft, there is a swimming pool on the roof, a gym, and gardens for the building. Expect to pay around $400 a month in maintenance fees though.
$475,000 will get you a colonial looking home in Antigua Guatemala, but not the real thing though. Real colonial homes sell in the multi million dollar range.
Another expat favorite is lake Atitlán, where $495,000 gets you your own private cove and a 3 bed house built in 2011.
The views are gorgeous but you can only get there by boat.
What does $750,000 buy in Guatemala?
For $750,000 you can live in a 7,000 sqft house in one of Guatemala City’s most exclusive gated community, La Cañada, near all embassies and fancy stores. You will be paying more for the location than the house itself.
Same thing in Antigua, you can now afford to live in the very center of this lovely colonial town, but still in a bijou house.
This one has 3 bedrooms and about 2,000 sqft, while it is not big is it well located and you can walk everywhere.
What does $1,000,000 buy in Guatemala?
$1m buys you a nice modern house with 4 bedrooms, around 6,000 sqft (again, including the 6 garage spaces) and breath-taking views of the city. Here is the listing
Or a decadent 10,000 sqft beach house with a water slide on the Pacific coast.
Or a colonial style house near Antigua in a gated community
Note that if you have that kind of money, you may prefer building your own place, and so will potential buyers who have $1m cash. The place may be hard to sell. I have seen $1m+ properties rent for $2,000 and less, so don’t expect a big rental yield, although that could be your opportunity to test the house as a renter for much less than the price of a mortgage.
I had a whole section about the particulars of Guatemalan real estate, but this post being already long enough as it is, I will keep that for another post next week, so stay put!