Cheap Housing on North Coast

Ken

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Jan 1, 2002
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If you are looking for cheap housing on the north coast, you may want to take a look at the large apartment complex in Union, near the POP airport. I didn't realize until this morning when I met a European who has been living there with his Dominican wife for 14 years that a large number of foreigners live there. The attraction is the price. He said you can buy an apartment for US$10-15,000, spend a few thousand more to tile the floor, if it needs it, buy a water tank (tinaka) to mount on the roof and an inverter. Your investment would be less than US$20,000.

He told me that he has his own 400 gal water tank and that when there is water, the pressure is strong enough to push the water up to the roof and fill the tank. When there isn't, he has his 400 gallons. The invereter provides his basic electrical needs when there is no power. He said it is usually pretty good at night, so the refrigerator gets cold enough to keep the food from spoiling during the day. Public transport is plentiful and is always passing by on the highway in front of the complex. Easy to get to Sosua or Puerto Plata for about RD$10/one way.

It is not luxury living in Union, but it appears that you would not be the only foreigner if you lived there. One neighbor in his building is a European and another is an American.

He recommended that if you look there you should take your time, but that there are almost always apartments available.
 

BushBaby

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The LOVELY thing about La Union is that you are treated as ROYALTY!! There is a "flypast" every few moments as the airplanes take off from PoP airport!! I think anyone looking to buy there should build in another US $1,000 for DOUBLE GLAZING, US $500 for soundproofing and US $1,000 for the necessary A/c to keep such a place cool!!
Not too many problems though if you want a lift to the airport!!! - Grahame.
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Actually the planes ffly parallel to the site

While there will be a roar at take-off, the planes don't fly overhead.

Over half a century ago I lived very close to Mitchell Field on Long Island and that was then the NATO chief airbase for the North Atttlantic. We had B-29s, and B-25s all the time practicing over our heads. You get used to it and at those prices it must be a real bargain for someone on a limited budget.

What's a little noise for all the bachata music from the colmados and billares there, anyway??

Hey, Ken, good info, like always. Thanks,

HB
 

Ken

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BushBaby said:
The LOVELY thing about La Union is that you are treated as ROYALTY!! There is a "flypast" every few moments as the airplanes take off from PoP airport!!

Grahame, I know an exageration when I see one. I've spent enough time at the POP airport to know that it is not that busy. And the planes I've seen landing and taking off when passing La Union in the publico have all been approaching the runway parallel to the sea, some distance away, and not passing over the apartment complex.
 

Ken

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Saw my contact at gym again today so was able to get more info about El Union. It isn't for me, but since we are getting posts on this board from people who want to move here but don't have the money for one of the more luxurious projects, I feel it is worth providing information about this more affordable alternative.

1. Airplane noise is not a big problem. There aren't that many flights during the day and even less at night. My contact tells me that when he is in his bedroom, he is not bothered by airplane noise.

2. Regarding general noise, he said it is a predominantly Domininican development so there is noise on occasion, such as around major holidays. But he said most of the people living there must get up early to go to work and/or have children going to school so sleeping is usually not a problem.

3. No monthly maintenance fees. They presently pay RD$78/month for water and electricity is based on what you use.

4. Cable TV and internet service are available.

Apparently apartments are appreciating. For a ground-floor apartment he bought for the equivalent of US$10,000 he turned down an offer for US$20,000. (He now owns 5 apartments. Lives in one and rents the others.)

He strongly suggested that anyone thinking of buying there rent first to see if they feel at home and to get a sense of where in the complex they might like to live. That is good advice and what is generally recommended on this board for anyone thinking of buying anywhere in the DR.
 

Chris_NJ

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Dec 17, 2003
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Ken said:
Apparently apartments are appreciating. For a ground-floor apartment he bought for the equivalent of US$10,000 he turned down an offer for US$20,000. (He now owns 5 apartments. Lives in one and rents the others.)

Ken - do you think the single level houses towards the back of the complex would in general be worth a little more than the apartments? (if in similar condition).
 

A.J.

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Jan 2, 2002
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The flight pattern goes over costambar/cofresi and Puerto Plata. The union is parallel to the flights only time you go over is when you are in a waiting pattern and even then you circle sosua out to the ocean past costambar then back around the mountains - repeat as necessary when it is 4 pm on a saturday during the high season.
 

Ken

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Chris, I'll see what I can find out and post the info when I have it.
 

BushBaby

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scid said:
Hello all!

I have been monitoring DR1 for 9 months and have now joined so I can reply to this thread!

I am a Brit, living /working in NYC for 20 years, married to a Dominican and moving down to POP in September, finally! My sister-in-law owns a ground floor apartment in La Union and is wants to sell it (she lives in the Bronx). I have been there many times to visit the mother-in-law and no, it's not my cup of tea at all, but then I am a spoilt brat! But for someone who is looking for inexpensive place to live and wants to be in the DR and all its beauty (despite the apagones), then it is an ideal place to live but just get used to the merengue/bachata all day and part of the night - its the way of life!!

Which brings up an interesting point, ......... Are these properties at La Union PERMITTED to be owned by "Ex-Pats"??? My understanding of the legal requirements (going back 10 years agreed) to buying one of these properties was that the owner HAD to be Dominican. If the Ex-Pat has a Dominican spouse, then no problem as the property would be in their name, BUT, has the law been relaxed so that Ex-Pats can now own these properties in La Union? More importantly, if the Government (who originally built these buildings for the poorer Dominicans buy) decided to re-instate the DOMINICAN ownership only policy, could the sales contracts be declared illegal??

I have NOTHING against La Union & (as Ken quickly recognised earlier) my comments about "flypast's" every few moments were in jest & highly exaggerated - it serves the purpose it was designed for, a low cost housing project for Dominicans. The ONLY fault I see with Ex-Pat ownership there is that prices will increase (as they are now beginning to do) & making it too costly for the Dominican poor to own housing/apartments there! - Grahame.
 

Ken

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Chris_NJ said:
Ken - do you think the single level houses towards the back of the complex would in general be worth a little more than the apartments? (if in similar condition).

Chris, our once-a-week cleaning woman is here today. She lives in La Union. I gather that what she calls the casitas located behind the apartments are generally worth more because they have their own lot and are usually better fixed up. The street is in better condition and there are trees. But still a good price.

She tells me that the apartments and casitas have 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. A friend of hers and her German husband just bought one of the apartments in very good condition for RD$530,000. She said the is white ceramic tile on the floor and mahagony cabinets.

Many of the apartments are for rent and they have mostly not been fixed up. Concrete floor, etc. But when people buy these apartments to live in, then fix them up, tile the floor, etc.

As you have no doubt noticed, there are some very big houses there also; a huge one on the hill visible from the highway is under construction. But it could be better called a mansion than a casita. I undestand that it is owned by a Dominican general. Our cleaning lady says there are a number of other very expensive houses there, also.

La Union is a very mixed area, obviously. The apartments were originally built, I'm told, to provide housing for poor people. But most sold their homes, which is why now there are many owners who are not impoverished.
 

Chris_NJ

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Dec 17, 2003
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Thanks Ken for the info. My g/f and family live in Las Casitas (3 bedroom, 1 bath but no mahagony cabinets yet). They bought in '93 for 60,000 pesos so despite all the inflation it is nice to see there is a little appreciation.