A sprawling complex outside of Santo Domingo
$ 2.5 million
This 12.5 acre property extends over the top of a vast mountain range in rural Pedro Brand, a northwest suburb of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
The complex, known as Compostela del Camino, includes a main five-bedroom, seven-bath house, a separate three-bedroom house for employees, and approximately two acres of gardens with fruit trees.
The 10,932-square-foot home was custom built in 2010 for the current owners using coral stone (located in the Dominican Republic), concrete, marble, fine wood, and ceramic roof tiles. It surrounds a sloping, landscaped courtyard that provides clear lines of sight through the interiors to the pool deck and the green mountains beyond.
The design, which maximizes the soft natural light from the north, aims to make indoor and outdoor living easier and preserve the natural surroundings, said Cesar J. Herrera G., the owner of Provaltur International who has the listing.
“When you go through the main door and go out onto the terrace you think, ‘Where am I?” Herrera said Compostela del Camino looks less like a typical Pedro Brand building and more like what is typically built in the Dominican Republic resort communities. “Being in a huge house like this in the middle of the mountains is not normal.”
From the front gate, a 200 yard stone wall and manicured tropical vegetation bend off with the driveway before reaching the covered parking lot. On the left is the two-story staff house with a tiled roof and coral stone, followed by the inner courtyard, which is visible through a slatted sliding door.
The main house unfolds in tiered sections. The open-air foyer with an overhang of concrete block and steel beams and walls made of polished coral stone leads straight to the minimalist courtyard and to the right to a discreet staircase that connects to the guest rooms on the second floor and bathroom.
A cascading shy pond and small lawn flank the courtyard steps and landing, leading to the great room with marble floors and 20-foot ceilings. Large glass and wooden sliding doors open to an outdoor lounge, hot tub, and infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the verdant mountains.
The dining room is to the left of the great room and has a lower ceiling and built-in shelves. It connects to a large kitchen with access to a hallway and stairs to the second floor where the master bedroom takes up much of the space. It includes a walk-in closet, en-suite marble bathroom and private terrace. Also on this level is a large, natural daylight gym and another guest room.
To the right of the great room is a study with bookcases on each wall. Both rooms have access to the outside deck.
A hiking trail follows the curve of the house and pool, then descends the slope and leads to a range of staples for country living: a greenhouse, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, horse stables, and dog house.
Unlike many nearby properties, Compostela del Camino was designed as a permanent residence, Ms. Herrera said. It’s close to the Autopista Duarte motorway, which takes drivers to Santo Domingo on the island’s south coast in around 30 minutes. Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo is an additional 30 minutes away. Punta Cana, one of the country’s most popular beach destinations, is 135 miles east.
Over the past five years, an expanding tourism industry, stable economy, and friendly tax laws have brought a wave of international buyers to this Caribbean nation of approximately 11 million people. According to local agents, the coronavirus pandemic did little to slow this dynamic, even if travel bans hampered businesses.
(As of February 22, the Dominican Republic had reported 235,882 Covid-19 cases and 3,048 deaths, according to the New York Times’ coronavirus map.)
Agents also reported an increase in the number of Dominican nationals looking for single-family homes with backyards and gardens outside of downtown Santo Domingo and Santiago. Sales to local residents increased dramatically in the summer, and when the country’s borders reopened in July, international interest quickly returned.
“Investors and people who could afford second homes here were buying like crazy,” said Melquis Segura, an agent at ApartamentosRD in Santo Domingo. “Despite all these activities, prices have stabilized. I haven’t seen growth of more than 7 to 10 percent. “
Typically, the Dominican Republic’s busiest buying season is December through March, but pent-up demand and renewed interest in vacation homes have accelerated the market by three months. Foreign buyers flocked in by September, said Sergio Llach, the managing director of Dominothek Sotheby’s International Realty.
Mr. Llach At least 15 percent of its customers virtually toured deals and bought invisible attractions in 2020, while others who could travel visited as soon as possible (the country has three international airports). Many were regular visitors. “People who shop in the Dominican Republic have been here at least ten times,” he said. “They are confident of what they want.”
At Casa de Campo, a luxury residential complex in the town of La Romana, about an hour east of Santo Domingo, the number of villas sold last year rose 23 percent about 2019 to Casa de Campo Real Estate. Villa prices range from $ 350,000 to over $ 6 million, depending on size, age, and proximity to the ocean. (The Dominican Republic uses the Dominican Peso, but real estate transactions are often conducted in US dollars.)
Inventories below $ 1 million have dwindled due to initial activity and the potential sellers who took their homes off the market. Mr Llach said that prior to the pandemic, there was usually an excess of lower-priced homes that would take two to three years to sell. The sale now lasts six months. “My personal opinion is that this year only the majority of the major high-end properties will be sold as everything under $ 1 million has been claimed,” he said. “There will be fewer sales in 2021, but at a higher value overall.”
In other beach destinations such as Sosúa, Las Terranas and Punta Cana, rising interest from foreign investors has led to a hurricane in residential construction. Cheryl Henderson, regional operations manager for Keller Williams Punta Cana, said there are at least 90 projects underway in the area, ranging from oceanfront villas in resort communities to condominiums to single-family homes next to golf courses. In the past five months, it has seen a growing trend: the region is moving beyond the condo and retirement markets and is becoming a more desirable family destination.
“You are not here to make international investments,” she said. “Instead, they pay $ 350,000 to $ 600,000 for a big house with a nice yard.”
Who buys in the Dominican Republic
North Americans have long been the most active overseas buyers in the Dominican Republic, thanks to its proximity and easy travel to and from the island. There are currently 13 non-stop flights from the USA (mostly from New York and Miami) and Canada to Santo Domingo.
“About 30 percent of our customers are US citizens,” said Llach. He also noted a recent surge in Puerto Rican and French investors: “France was off the charts this year.”
Dominicans, who live mainly in the US and Europe but buy second homes in their home country, also make up a significant portion of the market, said Alberto Bogaert, sales rep at Mudate and president of the Asociación de Agentes y Empresas Inmobiliarías. “Many of them might buy in Santiago or Santo Domingo where they have families,” he said, “or they might buy more inland in Punta Cana.”
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in the Dominican Republic.
It is common for international buyers to hire a local lawyer to facilitate the purchase. Mr Herrera said the fee for a property like Compostela del Camino could be around $ 12,000.
Sellers also hire lawyers to handle closings and pay the estate agent’s commission.
The closing costs include a transfer tax of 3 percent to the seller as well as a notary fee (up to 1 percent) and a stamp duty of 1.3 percent.
Domestic mortgage loans are available, but most overseas buyers pay in cash or get financial assistance from outside lenders, as interest rates from banks in the Dominican Republic are much higher than the US, Segura said.
Languages and currency
Spanish and English; Dominican Peso (1 Peso = $ 0.02)
Taxes and Fees
The annual property tax on this home is 1 percent of its value ($ 2,495).
Cesar J. Herrera G., Provaltur, 1-809-697-5117; provaltur.com
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