It's official, 2010 saw more visitors and more sales on our Costa Rica property tours than any year in the past. We ran a total of 42 Discovery tours during the year and sales topped expectations and estimates on real estate sales at our developments in Costa Rica. Buyers came mainly from North America but sales were reported from a buyer from Australia, who bought 3 pieces of property in our developments. Housing starts rebounded after a slight downturn in 2008 and 2009. We expect to build 45 new homes in the coming year. Our rental market has been great and demand for rentals exceeds supply now for much of the year.
During the International Living event held in San Jose in August, we also sold the most valuable piece of property in the history of our company at $750,000. We are finding that more clients are coming from the west coast of the US than in past years and we also had an uptick in Canadian buyers. Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins of International Living visited our guest house this year and Ronan McMahon and Margaret Summerfield also toured with us.
2010 also brought a record number of sales of property in Costa Rica to people using IRA's and other self directed retirement accounts. We have partnered with Guidant Financial to act as qualified intermediary for our customers wishing to purchase using retirement funds. Our biggest tour of the year totaled over 20 people, necessitating the use of a local hotel for those who did not fit in the guest house.
The record rains of November and flooding temporarily slowed down sales as four tours were canceled due to road and accessibility issues in November. The Costa Rican department of transportation (MOPT) did an amazing job at repairing the damage and nearly all of the trouble spots have now been repaired. The Caldera highway still has some issues but the opening of that new road in 2010 has contributed greatly to our increased number of visitors. The recent completion of the Costanera between Quepos and Dominical has also been a great help.
We have already scheduled 14 tours in the first 4 months of 2011 and 2 tours are already sold out. For more infomation on upcoming tours visit www.PacificLots.com/visit or visit our website at www.PacificLots.com
We ended the year with the completion of some major improvements in our 8,000 square foot guest house to meet this increase in demand. Mica, our chef at the guest house, now has a new 6 burner professional stove to handle the larger groups coming through the guest house. Anyone who has taken our tours will attest to the skill she has at exceeding everyone's expectations by preparing incredible food throughout the tour. She adapts her skill to meet the most stringent dietary requirements of our groups whether they be vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, allergies, aversions or other special needs.