December 16, 2015

UPDATE Dec. 2015 - Can You Still Find the $250 a month Rental in Cuenca?

To see part 1 of this article click here.

We like to keep our readers updated on what's really happening with Cuenca Ecuador. It's been almost four years since the original posting of this article on February 14, 2012.

The BIG question that many people may want to know is if it is still possible to find rents in the $250 price range... and the Ecuadorians are saying, yes! That was then and this is now. 

Look at our update in 2013 below.

UPDATE August 2013: It is rare to find the same amount of house in the same condition as ours in the $250 price range. We have not yet found a $250 rental as nice and as big as our home rental. We do not want to be discouraging but it just is what it is. However, in the $350 price range and even in the $300 price range you can still find nice 3 and 4 bedroom homes. And we're here to help you find a nice rental in the local price market.

When we moved to Cuenca we already knew that it was possible to rent for $250 or lower.  We're renting in that price range now. But until one sees it and hears it for themselves it may be difficult to believe. 

UPDATE December 2015: Not only is it rare to find a $300 4 bedroom 3 bath home in Cuenca, it is non-existent. That price range was gone a long time ago in 2014.  We can only presume and hope that the Ecuadorians have their own underground market so they are not priced out of their homes. We see a lot of Ecuadorian families "searching" for homes in the $200 to $250 price range. See more new updates at the end of this article. 

We've read on blogs and forums of how people say, "yeah you can rent at $200 to $250 a month in Cuenca but you'll be living in squalor". Uh? Who would say such a thing? Those who have a vested interest in the rental market in Cuenca Ecuador!!

This is a great article written by Karen and sums up her experience talking with the Ecuadorians about rentals here in Cuenca. To see the slide show photos that she attached with her article click here and go to Karen's Blog.

Below is the article on Karen's website. 

What You Get for $250 – Cuenca, Ecuador

In one of my earliest posts, I said that it was possible to live in Cuenca and only pay $250 in rent per month.  A kind commenter, who currently lives in Cuenca, then replied that really the monthly rates are more in the range of $300-$500. So, delaying further discussion, I decided to see for myself.

After a week in Cuenca, talking to everyone from taxi drivers, to friends, to shop keepers and bank officers, I can say that the commenter was WRONG!!  You can absolutely live in a nice place in Cuenca for $250 or under and $250-$300 is considered the higher-end by the average Cuencano.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is a fact.

Sure if you want to live the high life/expat life, with the other expats, paying higher rental fees to live in condo buildings that are essentially occupied by other retired expats from North America (ex Mexico)….then go ahead and pay more. [There's also that really fabulous, fully furnished house for $600 that I really want.]  
However, if you are moving to Ecuador to make friends AND save money, well then you are in luck, because there are lots of options, you just need to have patience, a little flexibility and some time.

Okay, so why the serious difference in rental rates (perceived or real) between me and the commenter?  Language skills, living standards, other stuff ….take your pick.  All the conversations I had with people regarding living expenses were in Spanish.  While I did contact one of the expat real estate agents, it was on the last day I was in town and we really did not have a chance to speak.  For $250 and below (and it should be below), you can get a two bedroom newly renovated, apartment and the further you are from El Centro, the cheaper it gets. 

I took a tour of a small, 2nd floor, 2-bedroom apartment that had just been renovated and the asking price was $250, which to me means that for a year lease you can get it for $200.  It is a 10 minute walk from downtown and in a decent/typical area.  I also spoke to the owner of a 2 bedroom, new construction apartment that had just rented it for $180.  It is walking distance to a Coral Supermarket (one of the supermarkets that we all would be happy with), a $2 taxi ride or a $0.25 bus ride to downtown and it is a block off a major road and right on the bus lines.

If you are looking for a place, there are tons of rentals, signs are posted on the homes (“se arrienda”) and foreigners are very welcome.  Just bring along some Spanish or a Spanish speaking friend, and negotiate heavily.

Update 2015: Rarely do you see "se arriendas" anymore. Those too have vanished because the real estate companies have them.

The big prize, however, is the home that originally got me excited about living in Ecuador.  I actually got to see the house in person, had dinner on the beautiful handmade/homemade furniture, and it is now the type of house I aspire to have…at the exact same price or less! [Side Note - Frank, Angie and their boys have created some really incredible furniture pieces, my personal favorite is the dining table and its seating.]

To supplement the pictures of the house, below are pictures of the neighborhood. The house is about a 10 minute, $2, taxi-drive from downtown area, or a $0.25 bus ride.

Pictures of the home I visited, before it was furnished, are at following link – Frank and Angie’s Blog.
 
So when someone says it is not possible and you can’t, just repeat these words, “Yes you can!”
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Update December 2015 - As previously stated in our 2015 update above, no more is the $250 or $300 house. The price range now for the same value and standard of home is $450 to $600, and that's unfurnished. We're talking about a house not an apartment. If it has a nice sized yard, it could cost up to $1,500 per month or maybe more. Houses with yards, on one level are a demand from gringos and is why you see they are higher priced.

Rarely you might be able to find a 3 or 4 bedroom for $350 or $400 and the reason it is $350 is because it is on the eastside, or it's a tri-level (gringo's don't like stairs) or it is really old and needs some work, or doesn't have a green space for the dog, or just too far from Supermaxi. 

Apartment rentals in Cuenca have gone up too, but it is easier to find 3/2 apartments in the $400 to $500 range (yes with elevator) and totally furnished for $500 to $750.  However, with that said, apartment buildings with many gringos living there have risen the most and are way over-priced where you will seldom find a 3/2 NOT furnished for under $600. 

Remember the article we just wrote a few days ago about how rents rise so quickly? Here it is again, just in case you missed it. Does Cuenca Have Neighborhoods to Avoid from High Priced Rents? 

Okay then, that is our end of the year (2015) update for rentals in Cuenca Ecuador. Did you like this article? Then you might like these articles too! 

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

8 comments:

  1. March 1st I arrive and will be putting this to the test, although convenience will take precedence over cost for the first 3 months or so. What I need to decide is whether I am going to qualify for an investment visa by purchasing a property or by making a CD purchase in the bank. What I will be interested in seeing is what I can buy a nice 1-bedroom condo for, not necessarily to live in, but to use as qualification for the investment visa, and then rent out. Have you seen any pricing information on 1-bedroom condos? Thanks.

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  2. Well if you really want to spend $42-$50k we've seen signs around, although we're not personally in the market. But you know, if you take your time you can find one furnished for rent for around $200-$250. Or, if you read the English Gringo literature, more like $400-$450.

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  3. Okay, Thanks. I definitely want to rent like you, but since I am not on a pension, I will need to invest $25,000 in either a bank CD or in property to qualify for a long-term visa. My preference is to own real property since I don't really trust the banks, but I will have to see what is available when i get there.

    P.S.
    I read Spanish so I am won't be reading Gringo literature.

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  4. Thank you for your posts.

    I've been doing a bunch of reading, and appreciate your view "from ground level" so to speak.

    I have a small income that will double in two and a half years and still be small. But I should be able to manage. Like many others I can't afford to live in the U.S. any more an am old enough that I can't really expect to make a living any more, even if I could find a job.

    That said, I've been studying Spanish for a year, and shedding myself of possessions, and am willing to be totally flexible and just see what kind of my new life I can create.

    Right now I'm trying to make first contact with someone, recommended by many others, who facilitates resettlement, so I may be in the neighborhood within a couple of months.

    Until then, I'm appreciating your level-headed perspective.

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  5. It looks like I'm a day late and a dollar short in finding all this. I did searches in English and Spanish and found NOTHING ANYWHERE close to those prices - houses for sale were easily 100-350,000 dollars, and the renting average seemed to be $7-800...have things changed that much? Did I miss the boat?

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  6. This is what scares me, the post above. I can afford $7-$800 a month for an apartment for MYSELF. I was almost ready now I am getting cold feet. GEEEEE

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  7. What a big difference two years makes when a place is heavily promoted to gringos.

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  8. There are plenty of good places to live in Ecuador that have not yet been gentrified (?) and over-priced by in-migration ( gringo and otherwise ), though I am partial to Cuenca's attractions too--mild climate, friendly locals, a core group of English-speakers ( but also good Spanish school programs! ) wonderful colonial architecture, and easy access to Andean culture.
    Set up a base--Cuenca is good choice--and explore the city along with the many other less-publicized choices.
    You can "go local" without making major sacrifices in a number of beautiful places: Cotacathchi, Bahia de Caraquez, Vilcabamba, and Loja all have a cadre of ex-pats, while Riobamba, Puerto Lopez, Canoa, Alausi, and many similar towns and cities offer varied climates and singular charms with lesser degrees of "convenience" for the more adventurous among us who will need a smaller "hive" of gringos to enjoy themselves.
    Please! Do not settle on any location without spending some serious ( i.e. day-to-day, not vacation ) time living there!

    Ecuador has lots of choices (budgets, too!)--make the most of them!

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