The Missing ‘High-end’ in Ecuador

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“What a dump.” My friend said.

While we looked at a middle-class condo for rent in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

But through my eyes, the place looked OK.

Typical for Ecuador, clean, safe, cheap ($300/month) and well located.

It would have worked for me, but not him.

You see, he was used to luxury, high-end, first-class, waterfront living in the USA.

So we kept looking for a different rental.

And we looked.  And we looked.

But as we visited the higher-end, luxury places for rent in Guayaquil, then Salinas, then Cuenca, he noticed one thing.

There isn’t much true “USA-standard high-end” to choose from.

And if you do find it, as he put it…

“Jeeze, this ‘luxury’ place is even more expensive than the same place would be in the US.”

It’s true, the current lack of supply and growing local demand for high-end places- particularly in the big cities of Ecuador like Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil-  causes the high-end, luxury properties in Ecuador to be very expensive, in fact, often more expensive than a similar-style property would be in the US these days after the recession knocked down prices.

But for cheaper middle-class and lower-class stuff, there’s a ton to choose from.

Now, if you’re willing to scale down your lifestyle to a middle-class Ecuadorian style, and trust me, for most it is a bit of a drop-off in “standard of living” from a middle-class American lifestyle…

…you can save A LOT of money and live very cheaply.

But don’t see it like a “drop-off” just merely a “different” style of living.

A life-style I prefer over that of the US (that’s why I’m here).

Now while luxury places are few and far between, decent middle-class 2 bedroom apartments in decent areas of cities in Ecuador rent for $250-450 a month and are plentiful and easy to find.

In the country-side it can be much cheaper.

And it’s true about electric bills that often run less than $10/month for a 2 bedroom apartment.

Heck, my water bill is often around $5.

And I don’t have a car (cause I really don’t need one!) with so many cheap taxis and buses around that will take me where I need to go for often under $2.

That means no car payments, insurance, parking or maintenance costs.

And I don’t pay any other insurances.

With health care costs so cheap, I just pay out of pocket if I need to.

So yeah, if you can handle the “scale-down” from US middle-class living to Ecuador middle-class living, you can actually stretch your pension much further down here.

But if you’re used to a luxury lifestyle in the US and would like to maintain that in Ecuador, at least your rental cost will likely go up.

Now, you could look at this one of two ways.

From the standpoint of a consumer with few true luxury options.

Or from the standpoint of an entrepreneur.

Or someone that sees a need and fills it.
That’s right.

I wouldn’t build anything in Ecuador unless it was US-standard luxury.

Why?

It’ll sell like hotcakes.

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