Over the years, terms like construction, development and real estate have failed to take into consideration the words sustainability and environmental well-being. In fact, so much so that infrastructural development tends to take place at the cost of natural resource depletion. Fast forward to 2012 and sustainable, eco-friendly development is at the forefront of modern day progression. Blame it on increased awareness of climate change or on the fact that humans have found this new appreciation for nature but biofuel production is the newest craze to hit Costa Rica!
Renewable Energy Farms are by no means a new concept, what is new however, is their rapid growth in some of the world’s most naturally abundant locations. Based upon the ideals of the above concept, Multi-purpose Real Estate is the latest project to incorporate environmental productivity with economical benefit. The company offers a potential buyer a chance to not only be owners of a self-sufficient piece of property but also offers them an opportunity in making their contribution to reducing green-house gas emissions. With added bonuses of providing local farmers with further work and helping promote a healthier lifestyle choice, property owners would own a share in a global movement. Ultimately, the question that needs answering is, what has given rise to this sudden demand for this industry? Based on EU regulations of ensuring 10% of all fuel at European pumps being biodiesel by 2020, governments in other countries are becoming increasingly open to the idea!
Central America is the ideal location for projects of this nature as there is a demand for emerging markets particularly in connection to the environment. Costa Rica, perhaps agriculturally the most prosperous of Central and South American countries has become the focal point of the bio fuel market. Combining the factors of real estate, low cost labour, biofuel markets and high yielding crop production gives way to the perfect formula for a successful business venture. UBA, formally known as United Biofuels of America have seized the opportunity and are based in Costa Rica permanently. Having joined forces with real estate developers, we have seen the birth of Multi-Purpose Real Estate.
Michael Klein, Chief Development Officer for UBA was quoted stating that “Multi Purpose Real Estate is one of the newest and most promising programs that we have launched in this initiative. Essentially we offer investors that are already in or will be entering land banking market in Central America, the ability to turn land that would be otherwise sitting unused into a Bio-oil Field that generates income while their land continues appreciating.” Summarizing the project to a tee, the concept has a USP (unique selling point) that would capture the imagination of many prospective buyers.
For the estimated price of $35,000, property owners would see returns of 30% or more each year! During the span of a 5 year contract, a prospective buyer could potentially make over $100,000 yielding almost three times their investment. The properties being located in ‘hot zones’ around Costa Rica have also meant that when it comes to re-sale, the land value would be much higher than the original purchase price.
One could potentially argue the ‘what’s the catch’ aspect of the project but the reality of it is that there isn’t one! Buyers are entitled to opting out at any time by selling their land on and following a 5 year agreement will be permitted to build on the property.
Now is the time to invest in the biofuel market for analysts predict a doubling of biofuel prices in as little as 5 years time! From an investment point of view, the current attraction is the substantial amount of return the buyer receives in the long term. With fuel resources estimated to run out during our lifetime, biofuel is the biggest investment out there. With fossil fuels fast depleting, biofuel production takes the lead. Costa Rica provides the biggest asset of the all, the crops themselves. Jatropha Curcas is a native crop originating in a town called Tempate. Exported in the 1700s, this plant has many extra uses pertaining to medicine, cosmetic surgery, latex and glycerin based products. Additionally, Costa Rica’s close proximity to major U.S cities, a stable government and currency and less stringent bureaucracy laws have made Costa Rica the perfect host to the perfect concept.
Foreign buyers’ share the same rights as local citizens, making the actual process of buying fairly hassle free. That aside, having outlined all the successes of this project, it would only seem fair to consider the potential risks involved. Though few and improbable, it is important to understand that almost every element of life carries risk. With regards to failures of the project, the two biggest issues MPRE (Multi-Purpose Real Estate) is faced with are that of natural disasters and the incompletion/ suspension of the new international airport construction. If the new international airport creation was to be deferred or cancelled then land value around the area would not appreciate as much. Similarly, if for reasons of natural disaster, a hurricane was to destroy the crops, then land will be damaged and productivity would come to a standstill leading to property value loss.
The purpose of this article is to make the public aware of such projects by highlighting their benefits and discussing their potential risks. If this article has provoked an urge to know more about such initiatives then logging on to www.costaricainvest.ie and reviewing some of the information about Renewable Energy farms will provide you with more of the answers you are looking for.
Photos from JatrophaWorld.orgBy Jaz Chopra for the Costa Rica News