The relaxing of property ownership and construction regulations are seen as an attempt to get capital flowing, according to Burnett. "During the past two months the state has reduced paperwork, stocked construction stores, legalized private contractors and begun offering homeowners subsidies and credits."
And residents are jumping on the opportunity to renovate and invest in properties. One result, according to Burnett, is that "Many sellers plan to downsize, so they can live better or leave.
"Victoria Pérez, a retired doctor, put her spacious house and two-bedroom annex on sale last month for $80,000. She hopes to buy something smaller and put aside about $20,000 to live on and visit her daughter in the United States. 'To earn $20,000 would take 20 years,' she said. 'This opens up a whole world of opportunities.'"