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Santo Domingo: the ideal moment to invest in real estate in Ecuador

This time, we interviewed Azucena Guartan Vintimilla, Manager of Real Estate Guartan, who will talk about the investment opportunities in forestry projects, taking advantage of the incentives offered by the government. She also talks about the investment in Quito in urbanized land for shopping centers and supermarkets, due to the high population growth as well as real estate in Ecuador, in general.

HalloCasa: “Good afternoon, Mrs. Guartan. Welcome to HalloCasa. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview.”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “Good afternoon, thank you for giving me this opportunity to promote my hometown, Santo Domingo, and communicate the investment possibilities in my country to your audience.”

HalloCasa: “Could you please introduce yourself to our audience and briefly describe your real estate business in Santo Domingo, Ecuador?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “My name is Azucena Guartan, I was born in Santo Domingo de los Colorados. I lived in Spain for almost ten years, from where I returned to my beloved country six years ago. This experience gave me a new perspective on life and knowledge of another culture that I apply also in real estate.

In Inmobiliaria Guartan our main objective is the satisfaction of the client, by first conducting a proper needs assessment and then based on this determining the best solution for each individual client. We are focused on the sale of our own urban projects in the city, projects of urbanized lots, aimed at covering the great deficit of housing which this city faces. We are also in the business of buying and selling, apartment houses, apartments, land, farms, forestry, shrimp businesses, and mining concessions.”

HalloCasa: “Does your work take place in Santo Domingo solely or does it also cover the capital and other main Ecuadorian cities?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “Apart from Santo Domingo, we are also centered in Quito, the capital of the country. Thanks to the proximity between both cities which is 120 kms, we have buildable land, houses, apartments and buildings for sale. Various investors regard this location as ideal because of its location for potential shopping centers, large supermarkets, or car dealerships.

The foreign chains of large supermarkets have not yet arrived to the country, which exists for example in countries like Peru or Colombia. This is a large market to exploit, also due to the great population growth in the capital and the lack of competition in this sector.
At the level of other provinces of Ecuador, especially in the coastal region, we are focused on the sale of large farms, agriculture, lotes for reforestation with
commercial purposes with species such as Teca, Melina, Balsa, Pachaco, Neem, etc.”

HalloCasa: “Could you please give us a brief overview of your city, where you currently live and work?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “The city of Santo Domingo belongs to one of the cantons of the Province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas. This name refers to an indigenous tribe which belonged to the first settlers of the place. Along the passage of time, the Tsachilas became was isolated into small communes which are now only a vestige of those times when they occupied the whole province.”

HalloCasa: “Thank you very much. Now, we would like you to tell us about real estate investment in Ecuador, specifically in Santo Domingo, also known as Santo Domingo de los Colorados, the fourth most populous city in Ecuador. What are the main trends?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “As you say, Santo Domingo is the fourth most populous city in Ecuador and one of the fastest growing cities due to the privileged location in the center of the country, a strategic place between the coast and the mountains and therefore logistics center for the transfer of goods between the two regions. This large population growth has generated a large housing deficit in the city (estimated at 30 thousand houses), especially in the popular housing segment, with more affordable prices for the population. In Inmobiliaria Guartan we work with an urban city project called “Bosque del Paraíso”. During the first phase, we focus on the the sale of urbanized lots and later we will explore more the the construction of low-cost housing.”

HalloCasa: “Please share with our readers at least 5 reasons to invest in Ecuador”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “In the first place I would highlight the strategic location of the country in the center of the world. The three large ports which the country has in the Pacific (Guayaquil, Manta, Esmeraldas and soon the new deepwater port of Posorja) will be used for the entry and exit of good. Furthermore, the coming Manta-Manaus axis (Brazil) will facilitate the departure of goods to the Atlantic Ocean.

The second element is the major infrastructure regeneration. At the road level, the entire road network was renewed during the last years. Additionally, new constructions of highways are under its way.

The third point concerns the energy: with the creation of eight hydroelectric plants capable of supplying almost 100% of the electric need of the country, the country is preparing itself to become energy efficient within the coming years. This is a right step towards the future.

The fourth reason is the country’s currency. Since we are using the US dollar, we have a very stable inflation rate and there is no risk of devaluation nor FX-rate exposure when renting out. So the return on investment is always in US Dollars.

The last point regards the political and economic stability. There are various incentives to investors, which translates into tax reductions (income tax, outflow of currencies…) and additional benefits.”

HalloCasa: “Ms. Guartan, please tell our HalloCasa readers about the incentive programs with which the Ecuadorian Government benefits investors in forestry projects.”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “One of the investment opportunities in Ecuador are the commercial reforestation projects. The geographical location of the country allows that wood grows very fast.

This is linked to the incentives offered by the government (non-reimbursable loan), for the natural or juridical person who initiates this type of reforestation projects with certain timber species (Teak, Melina, Balsa, Pine, Eucalyptus, Neem, among others).

According to information from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MaGaP), Ecuador has 2,616,546 hectares available for forestry production for commercial purposes, however, only 167,000 hectares are destined for this activity at the moment.”

HalloCasa: “Does this benefit program cover foreign investors?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla “This program is aimed at both national and foreign investors, communes and productive associations.”

HalloCasa: “What do these programs consist of?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “The incentive program contemplates that 75% of plantation costs and crop maintenance costs for the next four years will be reimbursed by the Government to foreign investors and 100% to communes and productive associations.

This program has legal investment security. As of December 2014, the National Assembly approved the bill “Reformulation of the Forestry Law”, which states that the incentive program has a duration of 30 years with the purpose of encouraging the establishment of at least 30 thousand hectares per year and with the projection of reaching 1 million hectares reforested by 2035.”

HalloCasa: “What are the areas you would recommend to choose when investing?”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “Depending on the type of wood species to be planted, the area with the most appropriate climate and type of soil should be chosen.

To plant Teca, I recommend the province of Manabi, however, rather towards the inland areas. The coastal region is too dry for that. The provinces of Los Rios and the north of the province of Guayas are good areas.

For Melina, the province of Santo Domingo, Esmeraldas and the north of the province of Los Rios are good regions.

For Balsa, Province of Santo Domingo, Los Rios, North province of Guayas are adequate choices.

For Neem, the province of Santa Elena is the best one.”

HalloCasa: “Mrs. Guartan, we know that your time is limited. We would like to thank you for this informative and in-depth interview. Would it be possible for interested readers to contact you if they have any follow-up questions? Thank you very much for the interview.”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “Yes of course. Investors can contact me through HalloCasa or contact me directly to the cell phone number +593 992413558 or to the email: azucenaguartan@hotmail.es Thank you.”

HalloCasa: “Thank you so much for being with us. Always welcome to HalloCasa.”

Azucena Guartan Vintimilla: “Thank you very much.”

About HalloCasa:

HalloCasa, the marketplace for international real estate properties. HalloCasa´s mission is to build trust for vendors and investors with respect to cross-border real estate transactions. In case you are interested in more interviews, you can read them here.