Why We Love Cuenca (And You Should, Too!)
The continuing growth in popularity that Cuenca, Ecuador is enjoying comes as no surprise to expats and investors who have made the decision to become part of this thriving Andean Highlands town. The combination of a great climate, an established expat presence, and property values that are still reasonable are all reasons many prospective expats love Cuenca and why it promises to be a magnet for relocation, retirement, and investment potential for years to come.
Keeping a balance between having the amenities of a major metropolitan community while maintaining the rich, cultural heritage of the region, is an important value-added element to Cuenca’s real estate market. Taking a look at properties, both in the city center and the outlying area, is a good way to get an understanding of what Cuenca may hold for your long-term living and investment plans.
So Many Reasons to Love Cuenca
There are many reasons to love Cuenca. Discovering and experiencing them firsthand will only add to the allure that has made this vibrant Ecuadorian destination figure so prominently in the future plans of those seeking to live and invest in Latin America.
When most people hear the word “tropical,” the first impression concerning the climate is, generally, hot and humid. Cuenca’s weather is a far cry from that stereotypical image. The moderate daytime temperatures average in the high 60s to low 70s, while the nights offer great sleeping weather in the 40s and low 50s. It’s a good idea to have a sweatshirt or jacket available for those evening strolls and early morning walks.
This Andean highlands climate translates into savings on electricity (not needing the air conditioner as often) which in turn makes life more affordable, an important feature for retirees on fixed incomes. Additionally the lower humidity and lower dew points of the region are much more tolerable than humid, tropical locations for those with chronic sinus issues.
A Symbiotic Blend of History and Modern Amenities
Another reason that investors and expats love Cuenca is the unique blend of a historical and cultural setting that comes complete with modern amenities. The clean streets, functioning utilities, access to cable television and high speed internet service mesh perfectly with the colonial buildings, (the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) the vibrant atmosphere of a college town (there are several institutions in Cuenca), and a growing artistic scene.
What makes all of this even more special is the fact that Cuenca is a distance away from the major commercial centers of Guayaquil and Quito. As a result, the area is not burdened with the frenetic pace of a major urban center yet still has all of the infrastructure advantages of those larger communities.
A True Sense of Community
Of all the reasons to love Cuenca, one of the most important is having a true sense of belonging to the community. Cuenca is very English-friendly which greatly reduces the trepidation potential expats may have about moving to a country where English is, generally, not the principal language.
The ever-increasing numbers of expats who live there make transitioning to life in Cuenca much easier than other locations. Being able to have contact with those who have already “learned the ropes” is a great way to become part of a significant population group.
An important aspect of the number of foreigners living and investing in Cuenca has been the increasing amount of expat-friendly businesses that cater to these new transplants to highlands life. A new arrival can easily find merchants, restaurants, and entertainment venues where English is spoken as frequently as Spanish.
Great Real Estate Investment Potential
Cuenca’s growing expat community is one of the major financial engines driving the strong return on investment dollars. Here are some prime examples of what is on the market:
- Farm 39 acres / 16 Hectares. For investment and development potential, this 39.5 acre farm located just 13 miles from the heart of Cuenca is a perfect location for residential development. The pasture area, which has good interior roads, ready-to-use building pads, access to electricity, and other basic infrastructure elements is roughly 11 acres in area. The remaining 28 acres is highlands forest; being able to have the natural beauty of the region as a backdrop for homes, and close to the city, makes this an opportunity meriting serious consideration for an incredible price of $160,000.
- Beautiful house in Balzay, Cuenca. Located within walking distance of the Old Cathedral, in the heart of Cuenca, this unique property actually is comprised of two buildings. With 6+ bedrooms and bathrooms total, there is more than sufficient space for a large family. The separate suite, complete with its own kitchen, bedroom, dressing room, and bathroom, is independent from the rest of the house and can only be accessed through the garage. This arrangement makes for a great rental potential even while the property is being used as a retirement or expat home with an unbeatable asking price of $368,000.
- 4 Bed / 3 Bath / Office / 3 story House. Being offered for $380,000, this unique property has ample room for everyone. In addition to the four bedrooms an three bathrooms, this home has two livings rooms, a large entertainment room and both a formal and informal dining room. For those who value security, the home is secured (enclosed) with a 12′ concrete privacy wall in the back courtyard and nicely constructed 12′ iron fenced wall in the front. With s an updated security system and ts no less than 7 guard stations (24/7) in the neighborhood, you can feel comfortable that your investment is secure and safe.
Along with modern construction, there are also possibilities of finding colonial era properties that can be restored, as well as undeveloped lots that can be customized or retained as investments as property prices continue to rise. Exploring the real estate market helps both the investor and the expat find the perfect location to fulfill their tropical dreams.
Is Cuenca Worth It? YES!!
For investors, retirees on fixed incomes, and expats seeking a new start, the big question is whether the cost of living in Cuenca will translate into a value added scenario. The answer is an unqualified YES!!
With rental prices averaging between $300-$1500 per month (depending on location, size, amenities, etc.), and basic utilities costing less than $100 per month, life in Cuenca is definitely affordable. When compared to all that Cuenca has to offer, the value (both intrinsic and actual) returned on investment far exceeds that of most U.S. cities of comparable size.
The cultural richness, moderate climate, vibrant entertainment and educational venues, and the serenity of the highlands lifestyle make the idea of investing or living here an almost irresistible proposition. Visiting this Ecuadorian gem is the best way to learn whether the Cuenca “big picture” features you in a starring role.