The increase in foreign capital because of the archipelago’s promotion as a tax haven, the proliferation of short-term rentals, the scarce construction of low-income housing in the past decade, as well as the labor flexibility that COVID-19 prompted, created the perfect storm for the average property sales price to jump 63% between 2012 and 2021, Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) investigation found.
The combination of all these circumstances has caused a shortage of available homes, for purchase or rent, for the island’s working class and for the most vulnerable in areas where work activity and citizen services are available or where Puerto Rico’s natural attractions are enjoyed, experts interviewed said. The Government pegs Puerto Rico’s current housing deficit at 20,000 units.
This is coupled with an unprecedented increase in cash property sales in the past decade, which has triggered a speculative market, according to the CPI’s investigation in which more than 97,000 property sales were analyzed and more than a dozen real estate industry experts were interviewed.
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A Nightmare for Puerto Ricans to Find a Home, While Others Accumulate Properties
December 19, 2022
“Searching for a house in Puerto Rico is mission impossible.” That is how pediatrician Cynthia Miguel summed up her experience trying to find a property to live with her three children in San Juan. “I saw about 10 properties in San Juan, seven or eight walk ups and apartments. I ran into waiting lists of up to 15 people to see them. I had realtors who told me they would call me to let me know when they could show me the property. I never got any calls back,” she recounted.
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