10 Years of Blog Archive

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ecuadorian Taxi Driver Says, "Don’t Pay more than $250 to $300 For Rent" - UPDATED 2016

Update January 2016 - This article was first published July 28, 2011. As you know we strive to keep our articles updated for you.  Please note, all new updates are in red text.

The taxi driver who told us not to rent for more than $300 has a budget for rent and it is $250 to $300!  It's what the prices used to be in 2011. Here's something to think about. Taxi drivers before meters made more money and now with the meters since 2014 taxi drivers make less but housing has gone up twofold. 

Update 2016 - There are no more houses in the $300 price range anymore, unless they are old, too far out, don't have a yard and or, are in need of repair. Gringos won't rent those.  

NOTE August 2013: This was said to us by a taxi driver over two years ago...more foreigners here now renting at unreasonable prices, causing the rental market to shoot up. You can still find $300 three and four bedroom home rentals but they are more rare, unfortunately. :-( 

Update 2016- again, no more (nicer with yards) house rentals (maybe apartments) in the $250 to $300. Punch in on OLX Ecuador, then add 4 bedroom homes to the left side column and all that pops up is $420 homes and up and there's just a few at the lower $420 price range, mostly you see $500 to $600, which once were $250 to $300!!
Sitting in San Blas Park in El Centro - Cuenca Ecuador
As the taxi pulled up in front of the house that we rent here in Cuenca Ecuador, the driver asked us, “How much do you pay for rent”? After we told him $250 a month he went on to tell us that paying anything over $300 month for a 3 or 4 bedroom house or apartment is paying too much. He then said, shaking his head and with a tone of disapproval that some Gringos are paying $500-$600, which hikes the prices up, making it hard for local families to find decent homes for themselves. We didn't say this, he did.

We do have to put things into perspective, however. Paying more than $300 for a 3 bedroom means that there might be a 24 hour security guard, or there may be a great view of the city, or that the home or condo is huge with many bedrooms, or perhaps the condo is furnished. Still, it is smart to do your research and not jump in emotionally and overpay, because most gringos that come here and rent are paying too much! Don't be another gringo target and be taken advantage of. When in Ecuador live as the Ecuadorians.

The Cuencanos like us Gringos to come here and spend money in their markets, shops, restaurants, and hotels, BECAUSE WE'RE TOURISTS, but they don’t like us to come here and pay exorbitant (to them) prices on housing because it makes it harder for them to find decent housing for themselves....except for the RE agents and landlords of course..... "sigh".... "sigh" again.

The average wage in Cuenca is about $350 to $400 month, give or take. With Minimum wage at $2.50 to $3.00 how can they rent a 3 or 4 bedroom for their family for $500 or $600 a month? They can’t!! If this isn’t reason enough to help keep rents stable, then I don’t know what would be reason enough.

The people of Ecuador do not have a $2000 dollar retirement check coming in the mail or a $2800 social security check each month. If you want to come here and live then live as they do and say no to being scammed for more rent than the local Cuencano’s would pay! In the end you will be doing the locals a big favor.

Update 2016 -  too late....referring to the statement above.

Cuenca Ecuador the best Retirement City

When we first started researching Ecuador two years ago, Internet real estate prices were about 20% lower than they are now. So what happened in the last two years? 

Well, Cuenca Ecuador has been named the best retirement city in 2009 and 2010 (still waiting to find out about the year 2011) and more and more Gringos are coming here renting at ridiculous prices and buying property at super ridiculous prices. 

International Living magazine loves to exploit new cities for people who want to have a better life with their resources than they have in the states and in Europe. It happened with Costa Rica and Panama. 

We believe Ecuador is the next tourist boom country. Cuenca has the highest rents and property prices out of all the cities in Ecuador and the most Gringos’. Go figure. 

Update 2016 - Cuenca Ecuador has been named in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 best place to retire, not sure about 2014 and 2015

Gringo’s come Here and Buy Property at Internet Prices

Gringos are selling their homes in California, Portland and North Carolina and then buying property here at Internet prices. Many of these house/condo seekers don’t speak very much Spanish so they get a Gringo real-estate company to help them find a property or rental. The Internet prices seems so good to them they just say, ok to the listed price. 

Update 2016 - Don't think there are that many foreigners buying without doing their due diligence first.

The problem is the prices are going up way too fast. Don’t misunderstand me, there are luxury furnished condos that perhaps should rent for the $600 to $700 price range, but we need to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. When we see the same amount of housing for two totally different price tags, it makes us wonder. Someone is not negotiating, or walking away. 

Update 2016 - And what is considered "luxury" here is just nice or ok to U.S standards. Just saying...it's reality.

in June 2011, our family moved into a brand new 170M 3/3, office and sun room all on one level, with a back yard for $250 a month (see the pictures here). So, why are some people paying $500 to $600 a month for a 3 bedroom apartment or house when others are only paying $250? It’s called negotiation. If they won’t lower the price, go somewhere else. There are numerous houses and apartments for rent in Cuenca for less than $300 monthly.  Sadly, not anymore...

Update 2016 - We still pay $250 for rent and if we were to try and find the same amount of house today in Cuenca, it would cost around $500 to $600 depending on the area

The best way to get a good price on rent is to NOT go to realtor's that obviously target foreigners. Scan the local papers for deals (use google translate if you need to) and if the price seems out of line, walk away. Meet local Cuencano’s and make friends with them. They will gladly tell you where some houses or apartments are for good value on your rent. There are so few good deals for houses anymore, they should save what's out there for the local people.

Update 2016 - We put much of the blame on the greedy, greedier, greediest real estate agents and home owners who obviously are targeting foreigners. More and more ads say, "rent to foreigners". It's a tourist game.

Ecuadorians want you To Negotiate over Rent

The truth is Ecuadorians like for you to haggle with them over everything you buy, unless you are shopping at the grocery store (Supermaxi) where the prices are fixed. I’ve been told that haggling and bargaining is accepted practice in Ecuador and if you don’t try and haggle over the price they don’t respect you as much. They want you to bargain with them!! 

Update 2016 - It depends on who you are talking with if they will bargain or not. If they have a stake in it, they are less likely to negotiate with the gringos. This is what's happening to Cuenca Ecuador...its changing...just giving a heads up on what's happening here. 

We hope you enjoyed this 2016 update. Talk to us and let us know in the comments if there is anything you would like for us to cover in an up-coming post. We will do our best to offer you the latest information, updates and changes that are happening in Cuenca Ecuador and to share our experiences of living abroad in a Latin America country.

Until we write again.

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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!


  1. I AM SORY, i am not american, i am not a retirment men but i want to move in Ecuador, how can i find a room for me , about 50 dolars/monts?

  2. Thank you ... interesting update. I've got to believe that there are plenty of $300 places around Cuenca for your cab driver to rent ... plus, the majority of expats are not going to be competing for the same rental as the cabbie. Also, I can't believe that the developers of all the newer condos are selling them at cap rates justified by $300/month rentals - nor are the local cuencano buyers going into it expecting only $300 .... and, if the cuencano buyers are procuring these units thinking that they will find an endless supply of expats to rent all of them at inflated rates - they are badly mistaken.


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