10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In Cuenca Ecuador Vacant Lots Cost More Than House on a Lot!

Our readers are writing in leaving comments on the blog about how real estate prices in Cuenca are the same as in the states. Well want to know what we think? In many instances they cost more than in the US!
One lady commented, “That’s insane, they must be for the gringos”.
Yep, the market is almost untouchable for the locals who live on a small means and want to buy a home or lot and build on for their family.
Actually, at the time of this writing, you’re going to get your real estate deals in the US, not Cuenca. We have been doing some research on the real estate market in Cuenca and surrounding areas and here is what we’re seeing. This is unbelievable but true. We have about ten different Spanish real estate companies that we browse on a weekly basis, plus the Spanish newspaper, El Mercurial.
Lots (240m2 – on up) are VERY expensive. It takes 4000m2 to make up an acre and a 450m2 lot here in Cuenca goes for $75,000 to 100k, or more! It is ridiculous. Here’s what’s really strange, but this is Ecuador, some things are just strange. Vacant lots cost more than a home on a lot!
In many cases you will see this when researching the real estate market here. The prices just for a small lot, right next to other homes is out of this world!
Here are some examples of lot prices in the city of Cuenca.
900m2 - $120K
442m2 – $175K – oh, and this one is negotiable. Ok, will they take 10k?
171m2 - $49K – Wow, this small lot is on a huge incline too – these prices in the city of Cuenca are out of this world. And most of them are this expensive!
Ad reads: TERRENO 171 MTRS PRECIO $ 49.000
If you want a small lot in Cuenca to build on you’re better off buying a home on a lot, then tear down, or use the existing bricks from the house, and rebuild. Seriously! This is no joke!
Here are some houses on (the same size lots) for a better price! We picked out homes that are nice! No dumps here. Now, compare the prices of these nice homes on a lot to just the vacant lots above.
There isn’t just a few with a better price, almost every single casa on a lot is better priced than if it were just a vacant lot. Go figure.
***Nice 4 bedroom casa on 1000m2 (1/4 acre) $118K
***Nice 4 bed casa on 176m2 lot for $108K
Ad reads: En urbanización 4 dor Estudio 3 baños 2 garajes Construcción: 230mts cuadrados. 
***4 bed with green space (ESPACIO VERDE) it says. 2 car garage asking $95K. This house looks huge!
We could go on and on here with the real estate market in Cuenca but we think you get the idea.
It appears Ecuadorians value vacant land more than a home on land.  It is unfortunate for those people who would like to get a half acre to build on.
Listed prices on land appear to be lower about 30 minutes or more outside of Cuenca and most people do not want to be out that far. Although you might find a home deal in Cuenca still, if you are patient and keep looking and have Ecuadorian connections.
Who’s buying these EXPENSIVE vacant lots?
We don’t know if gringos are the ones buying these vacant lots in the city, but we’ve seen more than one well off Ecuadorian who has been working in the US for years, sometimes 20 years or longer and now wants to retire in their home country; then they have an apartment complex built on it and they rent the units out for their retirement income.
We think this is what’s happening because we personally know of Ecuadorians that fit that scenario. Would gringos spend so much just on a lot? If they do, we have to wonder, what for? Dollars and cents wise would it not make more sense to buy a house on a lot and then work with what you got? If the house is not up to your standards labor costs are low.
We see numerous small apartment complexes of around 6 to 10 units, going up all over Cuenca on these small little lots.
These lots are highly valued by the Ecuadorians because they look at them as a good retirement investment, and in the long run they are. Building materials do not cost that much and once the complex is built they can start renting out the units.
Rentals go fast here and if it is in the right location and they furnish it, they know they can hike up the rents to the gringo expats. Funny thing is though, some Ecuadorians that have nice apartment complexes don’t gouge the gringos—these are the ones you’ll need to find if you want to move to Cuenca and live on a budget and do not want to pay US rates on rents. It’s up to you.


  1. Very informative read, thank you for sharing it.

  2. excellent post. I was just recently in Cuenca for vacation, (born and raised there), and found to my surprise so many Americans living there. For any one thinking of actually making the big move consider making an Ecuadorian friend in the states who may have family or friends out there who will help you find a good location and even negotiate it for you. We are always more then willing to help. As in living costs go, the more luxury you want the more it will cost you, keep in mind Ecuadorians love to haggle ( very important when food shopping at the "mercados", not the big store). English is becoming the second language in Ecuador, especially Cuenca, you will always find someone who speaks at least a little bit of English and is willing to help. Once you visit and experience the culture and the cheaper living costs you will be very happy of your decision.


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