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Sizing Up Your Options On Properties In Las Terrenas, DR

Las Terrenas: Upscale Caribbean Living At Reasonable Prices

If you dream of owning a Caribbean home featuring a spectacular water view close to sandy beaches for strolling and lounging and with breezy trade winds to cool your afternoons, look no farther than Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic. 

Thin palm tree trunks on a white sand beach in Las terrenas
A typical day on Playa Las Ballenas

The Dominican Republic is an independent country, although it shares its western border with Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola. The community of Las Terrenas is located on the north shore of the Samaná Peninsula—about 90 minutes from the capital, Santo Domingo, by a smooth, modern, and scenic highway. 

Customers buy pastries from a local french pastry shop in Las Terrenas
The French have contributed more than their language as seen inside the Boulangerie Française bakery

In the past few decades, Las Terrenas (population 39,221) has become the vacation destination for many Europeans, especially the French. The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but, while walking around the whimsical town of Las Terrenas, French is the predominant language you’ll hear.

Most North Americans focus on Punta Cana or Puerto Plata for all-inclusive beach resorts or choose Santo Domingo for historical and cultural experiences. If superb beach living is your goal, I’m with the Europeans—the best location in the DR is Las Terrenas. 

I recently wrote about the beaches on the Samaná Peninsula. While I focused on Playa Bonita, because my group of friends and I rented an apartment on that beach, other notable nearby beaches include Playa Cosón and Playa Ballenas (as shown in the first photo above). In fact, I was so impressed with the seaside living in this eclectic location, I made arrangements to view several properties to learn more about the real estate market and emerging trends.

I dealt with two real estate agencies, both offering French- and English-speaking agents. The first was Immomexx where I met with Tony, originally from Amsterdam, and Jeremie, a native Frenchman. The second agents were were Robert (a British citizen) and Arnoud (also from France originally) from Home Gestion. The latter company also provides property management services should you need someone to maintain your property in your absence. Between the two agencies, I was able to view several types of properties.

Although Las Terrenas is a small community, there are many real estate options available. I viewed hillside vacant lots, beachfront apartments, a private casita (thatched roof house), and an apartment complex on the mountainside. All had stupendous ocean views—except the casita, which was in a gated community with beach access approximately 100 yards from the home.

people buying fresh fish being sodl out of coolers on the beach in las terrenas
Right on the beach, the freshest fish you’ll find

At the time of this writing, the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Dominican peso is 1 U.S. dollar to 47.33 pesos. Not surprisingly, most real estate agents show listings in both pesos and dollars. 

I found vacant lots starting at US$25,000 for 1,003 square meters of land, while individual houses were priced from US$75,000 for 863 square meters and up to US$3,000,000 for a 1,000-square-meter mansion. Apartments ranged from US$60,000 for a 40-square-meter, one-bed unit with kitchenette… up to US$700,000 for a 243-square-meter beachfront penthouse. There are many two-bed apartments available for less than US$200,000. However, most will not be oceanfront, although some may have an ocean view.

Here’s more detail on the properties I viewed in person:

  • Los Nomadas: This is a 200-square-meter private casita on 767 square meters of land. It’s 1-year-old and features three bedrooms, three baths, and a private pool. It comes partially furnished. As a bonus, there’s enough room on the property to add a small bungalow that could be rented separately from the main house. This home is in a gated community with HOA fees of US$128 per month. The estimated rental return on the property is 8% to 10%. List price: US$360,000, and the owners are asking for 60% down with the remaining 40% negotiable.
  • Colinas del Mar: This 2-year-old, four-bed, four-bath, two-story mountainside penthouse boasts a rooftop Jacuzzi and separate spa bath. All appliances are included. Separate air-conditioning units cool only the rooms you want in this 407-square-meter space. The current owner is the architect of the gated community, so you could be the first to actually live in the home. The association dues are US$400 per month and the estimated rental return is 4% to 5%. List price: US$415,000 with 50% down and the remaining amount paid within two years.
  • Playa Bonita Beach Residences: Still under construction, this 168-square-meter apartment is set for delivery in 2018. The four-bed, four-bath unit includes all appliances and air conditioning. This building will have an elevator while other buildings in the same community are walk-ups. This apartment is directly on Playa Bonita with an unobstructed view of the most beautiful beach in the area. HOA fees will be US$420 per month and the expected rate of return is 8% to 10%. List price: US$430,000 and the development company is open to discussing financing of the purchase price.
condos with palm trees and landscaped lawns near Playa Bonita
The gorgeous Playa Bonita. The new construction is just to the right of these units
  • AUM vacant lot with construction package for single-family homes: A foreign investor purchased hillside acreage with sweeping, elevated ocean views. (Here’s a video I took while standing on the building lots.) He is currently building his own home just uphill from the five parcels of land available for sale. There are three building plans to choose from that will all be complimentary to the owner’s home and each other. The three floor plans include:
    • Three-bed, two-and-a-half-bath, two-level, 385-square-meter home with private pool and interior gardens for US$480,000.
    • Three-bed, three-bath, three-level home, with 397 square meters, which also has a private pool and gardens, is listed at US$455,000.
    • Three-bed plus studio, three-bath, three-level home with 471 square meters, also with private pool and gardens for US$545,000.
  • These prices include the lot, construction of the home, and all finishes. There are five lots available and financing is negotiable. The agent even suggested a possible deal for the purchaser of the first lot.

As stated earlier, there are many properties on the market that cost much less than the ones I’ve included here. Island living usually comes at a premium, but the Las Terrenas area has competitive prices compared to other Caribbean islands

If you have any interest in a relatively undiscovered yet developing Caribbean investment, you need to take a look at Las Terrenas. I suggest you go sooner rather than later. 

Wendy Howarter
Latin America Correspondent