Puerto Rico Real Estate
Popularly known as La Isla del Encanto or “The Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico continues to draw millions of visitors each year — all irresistibly captivated by the magical tapestry of spectacular beaches, eye-catching sceneries, fascinating history and unique cultural legacy that await them.
After five centuries as a colony of Spain, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States following the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since then, it has been a U.S. territory where locals are American citizens and where American travelers can enter without a passport.
In addition, the official languages spoken in Puerto Rico are Spanish and English, while the currency is the U.S. dollar.
Under three hours away by plane from Miami, Puerto Rico has long been a tropical hideaway of choice for many U.S. and international travelers because of its warm tropical climate, amazing coastline and beaches, magnificent nature reserves, assortment of culinary delights, and vivacious arts and culture scene, among other holiday attractions.
These days, however, Puerto Rico has also been a red-hot destination of choice for wealthy homebuyers and digital nomads because of favorable tax incentives available to those interested in purchasing a home or investing in real estate.
Puerto Rico’s revised income tax laws have made it extremely appealing for individuals and businesses to relocate here, especially those coming from the U.S. mainland.
A key piece of legislation that has contributed to the real estate boom is Act 60 or the Puerto Rico Investment Code, which was designed to promote investment in the local real estate market by providing attractive tax benefits and incentives to would-be home buyers.
Enacted in 2019, Act 60 consolidates all previous laws and incentive programs into a single code, thus simplifying the process in obtaining such incentives.
For qualifying Individual Resident Investors, benefits include 100% tax exemption on income derived from dividends, interest and capital gains taxes.
Meanwhile, under its Visitors Economy program, businesses dedicated to tourist activities — including guest houses and bed & breakfasts — are entitled to a 4% income tax rate, 75% property exemption, 50% municipal tax exemption, 100% tax exemption on dividends, and tax credit of 30% or 40% on eligible investment made in the tourism industry.
With all these tax reductions and exemptions, qualifying investors are able to maximize their income potential, allowing them to spend more on their dream property or fast-track the growth of their real estate investment portfolio.
If you wish to learn more about the investment benefits under Act 60 and how to qualify for the program, it would help to consult with a local real estate professional who is familiar with the regulations and can guide you through the process.
5 hottest places to buy property in Puerto Rico
There is a wide selection of residential properties for sale all over the island — from breathtaking oceanfront villas to modern condos, swanky apartments, and spacious family homes. In finding your dream property, one of the first steps is to determine which neighborhood reflects your ideal lifestyle.
Let’s take a look at five of the most in-demand areas for buying a home in Puerto Rico:
1. San Juan
As the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico, San Juan is usually the jump-off point for anyone visiting the country for the first time. An active harbor for over 500 years, it is the oldest city under U.S. jurisdiction, as can be gleaned from the vestiges found in its colonial architecture and historic sites that attract millions of visitors each year.
The other side of this historic city is the San Juan that comes alive with all the vibrant energy and sophisticated trappings of modern urban life — from luxury resorts to fashionable restaurants, high-end shopping, pulsating clubs, and a thriving art scene.
Most popular among fashionable home buyers is the luxurious oceanfront district of Condado, with its stunning beaches, elegant dining and nightlife, and high-end shopping on the renowned Ashford Street. Meanwhile, the historic neighborhood of Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan) is a busy tourist hub and is considered the most expensive area in the city.
Recent market reports indicate that the median listing home price in San Juan is at US $485,000. In the upscale neighborhoods of Condado and Viejo San Juan, home values can range from US $135,000 to US $8.9-million in the current market.
Up north, Dorado is the top pick for those looking for a slower paced lifestyle and greater housing options. Its premiere destination is Dorado Beach, an exclusive luxury resort community that boasts of championship golf courses, world-class water sports and recreational facilities, nature trails, and a five-acre spa sanctuary among other exciting features.
Aside from its resort facilities and accommodation, Dorado Beach also offers luxurious residential communities that cater to different lifestyles and preferences — from tranquil beachfront retreats to expansive living spaces with fairway and mountain views. Not surprisingly, property in this exclusive enclave demands some of the highest purchase prices in the local real estate market.
Rincón is located on the western coast of Puerto Rico and is fabled for three things — stunning beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and world-class surfing! With its laidback vibes and leisurely pace, Rincón is fast becoming a destination of choice for nature lovers who wish to relocate or buy a vacation home in a coastal town that is comparatively affordable — at least for now.
Market reports show that the current median price of active real estate in Rincón is pegged at US $579,000, with a wide variety of properties still available.
4. Palmas del Mar
Palmas del Mar is located in the southeast coast of Humacao and is widely considered the top vacation destination in Puerto Rico. It is also home to some of the best luxury real estate the country has to offer.
With more than six miles of sea frontage, two world-class 18-hole golf courses, a 20-court tennis facility, an equestrian center, an exclusive members-only beach club, and a 162 slip marina, Palmas del Mar is one of the largest master-planned, gated resort communities in the entire Caribbean region.
Comprised of 32 neighborhoods that include a wide array of residential real estate, the Palmas del Mar community also features an excellent English language private school, a bank, retail stores, restaurants and bars, and a wide range of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities for its residents and guests.
5. Río Grande
One of the bigger towns in the eastern region, Rio Grande is the gateway to the El Yunque tropical rainforest, known for its majestic waterfalls and long considered a sacred place in the Puerto Rican culture.
Aside from its panoramic mountain vistas and host of outdoor activities, Rio Grande is also known for its array of luxury resorts, world-class golf courses, exotic local restaurants, and cultural activities that guarantee an enjoyable tropical adventure while surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Recent market reports indicate that Rio Grande home prices are currently selling for a median price of US $559, 000 — reflecting a 49.1% increase as compared to last year.
Ready to buy?
Being a U.S. territory, foreigners can freely buy property in Puerto Rico in accordance with federal laws, just as they would on any state. However, prospective buyers also have to comply with local laws and policies, which can vary from those on the mainland.
For a more efficient transaction, it would be prudent to hire a real estate attorney who can guide you through the many rules, regulations and requirements that need to be satisfied throughout the buying process.
It is also highly recommended in any property transaction that you work with a local real estate agent — preferably one who speaks Spanish.
One way to find a reputable realtor in Puerto Rico is through the membership directory of the Puerto Rico Association of REALTORS® whose extensive network of over 1,000 members makes it a rich repository of trusted real estate professionals.
Its members also operate the Puerto Rico Realtors’ MLS which is your best source for accurate, current, and reliable property listings in Puerto Rico.
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