Bocas del Toro Real Estate Market Update 2024 with United Country Bocas
New year, new you…new home? Or selling your home in 2024? Let’s gooooo!
Today we sit down again with Ryan & Marketa Markley, the owners of the award-winning United Country real estate office here in Bocas and now also in Medellin, Colombia. It’s time for a 2024 real estate market update.
The Bocas Breeze: First off, congratulations on another Founder’s Award, third year in a row. Tell us more about this award.
United Country Bocas: Thanks so much. That is the award from our corporate office in the USA for increasing sales again and maintaining high customer service.
TBB: So what can you tell us about buying or selling property in Bocas Del Toro for 2024?
UCB: Oh boy, well unlike the last couple years, this next year may get interesting. Much like Bocas itself, there is good and bad. We try to always be optimistic but most of the data signs are volatile ( of course, most data is from USA, Europe or Canada) but it is looking pretty scary.
The short answer is it just quickly became a buyers market.
The good news is of course, this place has historically had low prices for a Caribbean Paradise. With that said, prices are really high on Isla Colon right now so people are wanting to sell. We are all feeling the effects of the infrastructure being put in place all around us. When these projects are finished, regardless how we feel about it, it will “put us on the map” so to speak. When we have passable roads, reliable water, power, and the basic services, it will attract more people, companies, and investors from all over the world. So maybe that is good or bad, but it is definitely happening. Take a look at the cruise ship port idea and all the new construction that is happening already. We struggled to help people find quality contractors, but now we can recommend a couple good ones we work with.
TBB: We are indeed in a defining moment here with infrastructure projects happening; most notably the roads. How does the Isla Colon road project stand to change 2024’s real estate outlook in our community?
UCB: Well, I don’t think most Bocatoreños are enjoying this right now and most of us do not agree with the environmental impact.It has definitely caused some hesitations around the road locations. People are unsure if they should buy and sell until they know whats happening exactly. When it’s done it will increase property values and access to the island, so after the sting is gone, I think people will appreciate it financially. We will just have to see about the impact on our way of life and access to the ocean.
TBB: 2023 was a big year for the United Country, venturing south into Medellin, Congratulations! How is it working now with the two offices?
UCB: The two markets are similar because they are both popular expat locations. We actually know several people that have properties in both locations. You can leave Bocas at 12pm and be at your house in Medellin at 6pm the same day. Very different markets, but Medellin is a nice, modern cool down from the heat and uniqueness of Bocas.
TBB: You mentioned negative real estate trends- like what?
UCB: Well there is no question that most of the real estate world experienced a boom during Covid which created a bubble. Many experts are saying that we should expect prices to go back down to pre-2019 prices. Of course, with multiple wars, mass immigration problems, banks collapsing and inflation…the future is unknown. From a real-estate perspective, the question is how many people will have the ability to leave larger cities and their home countries for places like ours seeking that better life.
I think the most important thing is to prepare some bad news for the sellers. We are already seeing buyers come with less available money because the values in their home country have dropped, we lost a sale on what we personally were selling because a buyer could not sell their home in the USA. Banks have tightened loans and interest rates have almost tripled in 2023. It is all connected.The number of available properties in Bocas Del Toro is high right now,we are having a hard time keeping up with the calls to list more houses. Buyers have more options, this will cause sellers to realize they have to lower their prices if they want to sell. Sellers overpricing their house has always been a problem here, so we think it will be difficult for some people. Something helpful for sellers to do is think like the buyer when pricing. Lets say your land is worth $75,000 and you paid $125,000 to build, your cost is $200,000, so a buyer should be willing to pay you $300,000 but not $500,0000-$600,000. At that point, rightfully, they will just build it themselves. To make matters worse for sellers, the recent protests shut everything down right as high season was starting, so we are going to be off to a rough start. But, with beautiful views and weather, we will always live in a great place connected to nature, so helping people find a house is always going to be fun here!
TBB: Fun in Bocas is a safe bet, indeed! Well, as always very insightful on the real estate outlook. I can definitely see where those back-to-back-to back awards came from. Thank you for the update. We wish you and your clients the best in this 2024 market.
Learn more about what United Country has to offer when it comes to buying and selling real estate in Bocas del Toro and Medellin!