San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

ExpoCasa offers buyers a home in Costa Rica

At one end of the massive Centro de Eventos Pedregal in San Antonio de Belén in Heredia, visitors to ExpoCasa 2011 will be able to browse interior design materials, tiles, art displays, wood paneling, brick options and hundreds of shades of wallpaper. At the other end of the covered complex, which is the length of a city block, exhibits will showcase above-ground or in-ground pools, home and condominium models, floor plan varieties and even the smallest details, such as kitchen cabinet handles and showerheads.

For a ninth consecutive year, ExpoCasa is the premier housing event in the Central Valley. Beginning Wednesday, ExpoCasa will host more than 300 stands featuring national and international home furnishing companies, banks, real estate agencies, developers, architecture firms, landscapers and popular names in home décor. The event will also feature development ideas and plans for homes and businesses near the beach, in the mountains, in the Central Valley or anywhere throughout Costa Rica.

“ExpoCasa will be much like it was in previous years,” said Vanessa Trejos, an organizer for the event. “It will have a little bit of everything for anyone looking to buy, build, lease or improve their home.”

Central to ExpoCasa, and located in the middle of the giant layout, national banks, housing loan coordinators and insurance providers will be on hand for prospective homebuyers. Also attending the 5-day event are Banco Nacional, Banco Costa Rica, BAC San José, Banco Lafise, Grupo Mutual and Banco General, along with several other housing assistance organizations, such as the National Institute for Housing and Urban Development, and home insurance providers like the National Insurance Institute.

Historically at ExpoCasa, national banks offer discounts on home loan options, lowered interest rates in dollars and colones and consolidation packages to encourage homebuyers to take the leap at the event. While most banks are yet to announce what their financial incentives will be, in previous years banks have offered prime rates for home and apartment down payments and annual multi-year financing packages.

According to organizers, in nine years, ExpoCasa has raked in “hundreds of millions” of dollars and injected life into sometimes-unpredictable national housing and construction markets.

This year, ExpoCasa could be pivotal in determining the success of 2011’s housing market. After plummeting in 2009, the housing market perked back up in 2010 (see story, Page 9). According to the Costa Rican Construction Chamber, through the first six months of 2011, construction dipped around 5 percent in comparison to the same period in 2010. During the first six months of 2011, more than 3.6 million square meters of construction took place.

With the concern of an economic depression from the debt crisis in the U.S., economists feel that it might be construction that determines the direction of the Costa Rican economy during the short term. 

“Construction and housing is always a good indicator for the financial health of a country,” said José Luis Arce, an economist for Economic and Financial Advisors S.A.  “It will be very important for Costa Rica to maintain a steady level of construction during the next months. Construction is a huge provider of investment and employment.”

If all goes as planned this week, ExpoCasa could be a key contributor to revitalizing the national economy, as well as provide people with their ideal homes.

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