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1) REAL ESTATE: The DR offers some of the best real estate opportunities in the Caribbean today. As a bonus, it is possible for foreigners to buy and own real estate or other property freehold… (free and clear titled property- with your name on the deed) without the need for residency. The 1X property transfer tax is well below the U.S. average and in most other Caribbean markets. The DR offers many incentives to foreign investors, like 10 or even 15 year property tax exemption on the first approximate $140,000 U.S. or 6.1 million pesos This is on the assessed value, which is currently around ½ to a little over 1/3 the asking price/ selling price/ appraised value, or market value (which with this strong economy, are all nearly the same here).

Properties in the DR are still very affordable and despite the real estate global fluctuations, these prices have either held firm, or have increased slightly since 2008 – a strong “appreciation factor for investors to consider when looking for a good deal that will continue to appreciate over time, especially as land on the beach is exhausted, and a walk to the beach is also nearly exhausted. Foreclosures or Short Sales are rare in Punta Cana because most properties are purchased with cash, or with minimal bank financing. Also as of 2016, the average property age in this highly sought after tourist area, is only 5.5 years new; meaning distressed properties on or near the beach are extremely rare. Overall, the Punta Cana real estate market provides a stronger and consistent long-term appreciation value.

2) THE BEACHES!  My husband Todd and I have seen numerous beaches all over the Caribbean, Central and South America and in our observations, Punta Cana has the most beautiful beaches due to numerous factors including; its soft-white sand, abundance of natural palm trees, no buildings taller than the tallest palm tree, the most vivid – glowing turquoise and blue ocean waters, a reef barrier that keeps the sharks, jelly fish and other sea critters away from the shoreline, and a constant breeze so you don’t overheat.

3) CLIMATE:  Almost always warm and sunny in Punta Cana.  It may rain a little at night or in the morning… or an occasional light mid-day sprinkle.  However these typically last no more than 15 or 20 minutes. Cold here is considered in the high 60’s F to low 70’s in the evening and average 75-82 degrees between Dec-February.  Typical temps from June- October average  82 – 92 degrees.  By day. Personally, the best time to visit is at the end of low season (Aug.- Oct.) when the temperatures are just right, tourist traffic is low, and prices are the best everywhere.

4) LOW HURRICANE / LOW FLOODING BELT: It is historically hurricanes do not really effect the Dominican Republic except for some flooding in low lying areas. The East Coast areas of Punta Cana and Bavaro have not been affected since “Hortense” on September10, 1996, when it skimmed across the East coast from Punta Cana to Samana at 130 kph. Prior to that, we’re not sure… but it would be before 1930.  The U.S South and East coast are more affected by hurricanes than the Dominican Republic.  We have learned this has to do with the fact that since we are sandwiched between Cuba and Puerto Rico, these Island typically take the brunt of the action. Because Punta Can is on the sharp Eastern tip of this 2nd largest Island, residual tropical storms, high winds, and flooding typically work themselves to either to the right of left (the North or South) of the Island and are pulled away from the East Coast via the natural jet streams from the air and sea.  The North and the South of the Dominican Republic are effected by the residual Tropical storms, and some flooding, but even the North and South parts of the DR are not affected by full-fledged hurricanes.  Of course, we all know Mother Nature is menopausing.

5) THE PEOPLE:  There are a mix of people that live and work in Punta Cana – a definite melting pot of many nationalities including Canadians, French, Italians, Spaniards, Germans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Americans, British, and of course Dominican and some Haitians (the primary hard labor-force here). The Dominicans are beautiful, humble and helpful people, full of life, with close family ties and moral values (97% claim to be Christian- Catholic), and the Haitians are modest, hard-working and happy the Dominican government can provide them employment.  Since coming here we have a multitude of friends from all over the world and have learned about many cultures along the way.

6) THE GOVERNMENT: Since many officials of the government have been educated in the U.S. or other top notch countries, offices, many understand and appreciate capitalization in the GOOD sense of the word.  Thus, over the past 30+ years, many democratic laws and policies that have worked in the U.S. and other countries, have been modeled by the Dominican Republic.   The Dominicans learned quickly by observing other countries policies, and appear to embrace those they belive will work for them, and quickly abolish or ignore those that don’t.  Therefore, the peaceful and observant nature of the Dominican Republic seems to demonstrate perhaps one of the most stable and economically strong countries in the Caribbean.

7)  INFRASTRUCTURE: I disagree with the statement that Punta Cana is a Third World country, but will agree it is still “Developing”.  This is the perfect climate for investors now as the economic conditions have kept prices from overinflating like they were prior to 2007. Since1999 the Dominican government has been pumping millions of dollars into the road and highway improvements.  The primary focus has been on the super CORAL HIGHWAY, connecting major cities and tourist destinations throughout the Dominican Republic together.  The progress and speed have been so impressive, it’s hard to even keep up living here.  For example In 2012 the Mega superhighway, called CORAL HIGHWAY, was completed between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana and Bavaro. So, heading South from Punta Cana, the driving time to Santo Domingo has been reduced from 5 hours, to less than 2 ½ hours… and Punta Cana to La Romana is now only 45 minutes.  In 2013 Coral Highway continued connecting Punta Cana to Macao and to Uvero Alto; By late 2014, Punta Cana now connects to Nisibon and from Bavaro the drive is only 24 minutes.  By early 2015 it is estimated the highway from Punta Cana to Miches will be completed!  So, heading north; Punta Cana to Macao is only 15 minutes, and once the highway is completed from Punta Cana to Miches, it is estimated the driving time between these 2 primary coastline locations will only be 45 minutes (from Bavaro) and just under 1 hour from Punta Cana.  Additionally, new high tech traffic lights throughout Punta Cana and Bavaro have greatly helped in better traffic control throughout Bavaro and Punta Cana… much needed for better organization and flow as Punta Cana and Bavaro continue to receive worldwide attention.

8) COST OF LIVING:Although some costs are higher (primarily cars and gasoline), there are so many other savings that make the DR extremely attractive Economically speaking. Professional services like Doctors, Dentists, Cosmetic surgeons, Veterinarians, Accountants, and other legal services can overall be less.  Services requiring manual labor like repairs or upgrades to your car, home, and yard.  Salons (hair, nails, massages, etc.) are extremely reasonable.  Health insurance is much lower still and covers you and your family with some of the best and most personal medical care, at newer hospitals. Other services like internet, phone service, and cable TV are very affordable.  Outside entertainment is much more economical as well (movies, clubs, dining, excursions). Food in the tourist zones can be higher, but the overall costs are still slightly lower than in the U.S. averages.  However, a 15 minute drive inland to the larger grocery stores is the solution to saving money in this area.   Electronics, Furniture and Brand clothing is more expensive due to the higher shipping import taxes and tariffs. But price on these have come down considerable since 2010.   Finally, real estate in the DR, when comparing to other Caribbean destinations, is very affordable, and offers some amazing newer architectural beauties that are spacious and made from some higher quality materials and finishing touches.

9) OPPORTUNITY: Since Punta Cana has only become a popular destination to the general public over the past 8-10 years, there are still so many opportunities for businesses that are limited or non-existent here at this time. Growth has been phenomenal, but often too many investors want the same thing “a tour company, or a bar or restaurant on or near the beach”. Yes, we could use some more American-type restaurants similar to “Fridays or Subway”, but for a savvy entrepreneur, there are so many other needed businesses we expats still need.  I encourage investors to contact us for more information and consultation / market research services, business ideas, and the best professional referrals who speak, read, and write excellent English, and whose expertize is mandatory for setting up a legal corporation and the accounting services needed for tax reporting and paying.   There is a retainer fee for these business / marketing services and professional referrals.

10) SAFETY/ LOW DRUGS:  Punta Cana has very low crime rates – there are some petty ”theft” crimes of opportunity (usually just before Christmas), but for the most part we feel safer here than in many U.S. cities, even those considered conservative for the most part.  Of course, driving here is a bit crazy – like it is in just about all Caribbean destinations. DRUGS ARE MINIMAL too.   It’s just rare to smell or see it here and penalties are severe to those who smuggle or sell it. 

11) THE TERRAIN:  The DR has various regions offering White water rafting in the mountains of Jarabacoa, Whale watching in Samana Bay, Kite Surfing on the North coast the best soft white beaches of the East Coast (Punta Cana) and even a couple dessert regions.  Santo Domingo is the oldest Caribbean city with endless history and can be compared in size and population to large U.S. cities. It’s really hard to take a bad picture in this country, and I highly advise folks get out of the resort so they can bring back a huge photo portfolio of this beautiful and amazing country.

12) TRANQUILITY YET LOTS TO DO: This may be reason #12, but is becoming a primary reason many Americans are buying here now. The economic and ecological stresses in the U.S., coupled with new laws and rules, has been convincing more and more Americans to consider Punta Cana for either a full or semi- retirement home, or as their preferred vacation home destination. Life slows down here; time to relax and reflect is the norm, rather than a rare opportunity. No worries, about being bored as the list of things to do, places to go, and people to meet are endless – if you can imagine it, the DR probably offers it (with the exception of snow sports – sorry). Check out our fun and short YouTube Beach-town Neighborhood videos to get a sample taste for yourself.