Construction in Costa Rica grew by 64% in 2006 compared to the year before, boosted largely by the growing popularity, and desirability, of beach areas in the central-southern Pacific coast province of Puntarenas, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste and around the Caribbean port city of Limón.
“Prices remain lower here than they are in more developed countries, and that’s driving the continued growth in construction,” said Jaime Molina, president of the Costa Rican Construction Chamber, in a press conference last week.
The overwhelming majority of new construction – 70% in 2006 – continues to be residential, as opposed to office buildings and commercial centers. Of these, 40% are single-family homes and 31% are apartments or multi-family homes or condominiums.
This distinction was evident in construction chamber statistics, which suggest the trend has continued of home development moving away from San José toward suburbs like Santa Ana, Escazú and beach areas.
Puntarenas led the construction boom among provinces, with 137% growth in square meters of construction compared to the year before, thanks in part to its relative proximity to the Central Valley and airport, and also to the development of the canton of Garabito. Limón, which has become the focal point of government efforts to increase tourism, placed second with 122% growth, and the ever-popular beach and surf-destination Guanacaste was close on its heels with 107% growth.
In total, nearly 6 million square meters were developed in Costa Rica in 2006, a shockingly large number that is as exciting for the booming construction industry as it is alarming to those who value Costa Rica’s expansive vistas, open space and undeveloped beaches.
“The construction boom is nothing new, but we need to look at the good and the bad. Primarily, Costa Rica needs to benefit,” Molina cautioned.