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Nicaragua In the News

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Property market reviving in Nicaragua as worries over political regime subside

Property investors from the US are no longer buying in Nicaragua because of the economic downturn and concerns over the political regime, it is claimed.

But European investors are stepping into the breach and the country's property market is starting to recover from a spartan period.

'You have to be somewhat of a contrarian to buy real estate in Nicaragua right now,' said developer and advisor Jeff Cassel. 'Two years ago this Nicaragua was right up there in the property-buying popularity polls. Hordes of buyers, especially soon-to-be American and Canadian retirees, couldn't get enough of it,' he explained.

'Pristine properties in Nicaragua were plentiful - beachfront, mountaintop, lakeside, and everything in between and best of all, they were very inexpensive. This was the fabulous frontier, waiting to be explored and settled.'

But the US buyers dried up due to the election of Daniel Ortega as president of Nicaragua and then the economic crisis.

Now Ortega is taking steps to encourage foreign investors and is openly talking about new regulations to encourage overseas investment.

'It's not for the timid or for those who are worried about the country's political uncertainties. But contrarians may win big here, as the potential for gain is great if nearby Costa Rica and Panama are any example,' said Cassel.

Others agree. According to Robin Donaldson, a real estate agent, things are picking up gradually. 'As Ortega refrains from pursuing an aggressive policy foreign investors and the markets are coming back to life, Nicaragua has plenty of models in Latin America for growth in the real estate sector,' she said.

Charles Southwell of RE/MAX Granada said there is potential. 'Nicaragua is turning into quite a tourist mecca, and it has huge investment possibilities,' he said. He compares it to Costa Rica which has succeeded in becoming a popular tourist destination, an inexpensive place to do business and attracted global players such as Microsoft and GE.

'The countries that build the middle class are the countries that have long-term success, and that's what's happening here,' Finch said.

And some Americans are also taking the risk. 'We've been getting lots of inquiries from Americans posted in Afghanistan,' said Cassel.