Amenities Evolution: Crystal Lagoons® technology Set to Dominate SFR Rentals

In the real estate market, the build-to-rent (BTR) sector emerges as one of the major winners of 2023. BTR involves longer tenancy agreements managed by operators, financial groups, and developers that prioritize long-term viability, distinctive amenities, and a strong sense of community integration.

As tenants yearn for a lifestyle that transcends the ordinary, Crystal Lagoons delivers precisely that – an amenity featuring beach life, water sports, event esplanades, amphitheaters, and clubhouses that transform every day into a magical vacation-like experience.

This boom is evidenced by a new trend in the tenant profile, as tenants now prefer single-family rental homes and communities instead of buying. This shift in the market structure has made tenants less sensitive to rental prices, as potential homeowners are taking their chances and firmly believe that the Federal Reserve’s interest rates at 5.25% and home prices should go down in the near future creating new opportunities for purchasing houses at a discounted rate. The market last saw these rates in July 2006, when the US GDP was 3.2% and inflation 4.4%.

What does this mean for the market and developers targeting that specific segment? 


Renters, by choice, are demanding superior quality homes. Studies have shown they highly value interior finishes, better amenities, and connectivity. As a result of these new demands in the shifting market, firms that meet the new standard can attain higher cash flows. And it has been seen on most of the projects with a crystalline lagoon with Crystal Lagoons technology on it, where sales have improved over a year (Sunterra sold nearly 800 units last year, being among the highest-selling communities in the country) and occupancy rates are at their highest. 

Higher rates have affected the whole real estate market in terms of financing and development; this is because total existing home sales fell 2.4% from February to March and are also down 22% compared to last year, scaring investors off. If we compare the first two months of home purchases in the SFR firms segment between 2022 and 2023, purchases have fallen by 90% in 2023.

Despite this, larger-single family rental (SFR) firms are better off due to the positive impact on their balance sheets with increasing rent, and we must consider that single-family housing inventory is at its lowest point in the last 40 years. Larger investors are closely eyeballing these firms and can help projects with broader financing options for their specific needs. 

Due to the current market condition, many analysts say that this will be the year of operational efficiency, not just efficiency when it comes to maintaining the property but specifically in the project as a whole, highlighting the use of technology in common spaces such as lagoons, concierge/reception, events, golf courses, and underutilized land. Incorporating technology that makes these projects more cost-efficient will be highly valued by investors because they are the same points set aside by developers and can improve earnings and drive sustainable growth in the long run.¯

The Way South


Investors are increasingly interested in the Sun Belt, a region spanning the Southeast and Southwest of the United States, comprising 18 states and 75% of the country’s population growth. Dallas and Tampa rank among the top ten US cities with the most real estate potential, where notably Crystal Lagoons has nine operational projects, several among the top-selling in the nation. While single-family developments remain important, multifamily communities are emerging as a major driving force in this region.

Traditionally attracting older couples for retirement, the Sub Belt has now become a sought-after destination for millennials due to its lower taxes and more affordable housing options. This demographic’s preference for suburban areas is fueling a substantial pace of suburban growth, with Generation Z expected to further contribute to this trend.


Adding an artificial lagoon powered by Crystal Lagoons® technology adds substantial value to existing and future developments in the area, leading to increased occupancy rates and higher rental prices. A crystalline lagoon is an amenity that holds greater appeal and interest for the discerning new generation of renters. Moreover, it serves as a low-cost development and maintenance project, generating added value for the community. Notably, a crystalline lagoon consumes only 2% of the energy and 100 fewer chemicals compared to a typical swimming pool of the same size. 

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Throughout this year, Crystal Lagoons has achieved several milestones. Among them are the inaugurations and filling of lagoons on different continents, Real Estate, and Public Access Lagoons™ projects, also known as PAL™ developments. Many of these complexes stand out for their successful sales performance and also for the impressive size and spectacular nature of their crystalline lagoon.


In the United States, the main market for Crystal Lagoons worldwide with 260 projects in different stages of development, the multinational company achieves two significant milestones, both in the state of Florida, where it experiences great dynamism with 51 projects.

The first one is marked by the inauguration of Mirada Lagoon in Tampa, the largest crystalline lagoon in the United States, covering an area of 6 hectares. This is the fourth project in association with Metro Development Group.

On the other hand, in Orlando, the filling of an iconic new crystalline lagoon has been completed, the city’s first. It is situated within the Evermore Orlando Resort tourist complex, located near the renowned Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort theme parks, and will host the first Conrad Hotel in the area. The crystalline lagoon in this project offers the opportunity to enjoy the idyllic beach life experience in the country’s most visited destination.

Latin America leads in openings. Two projects stand out in Paraguay, both in partnership with Raíces Real Estate: Costa del Lago, in Hernandarias, a few minutes from Ciudad del Este, and Aquaterra, in Luque, on the outskirts of Asunción. Once the lagoon of the exclusive residential and hotel complex “The Beach Punta Cana City Place” completes its filling, the Dominican Republic will boast the largest artificial lagoon in the Caribbean, covering an area of 3 hectares.

In Argentina, the most important market for Crystal Lagoons in the region, Remeros Beach, with 3.5 hectares, was inaugurated in the northern area of the capital, Buenos Aires. Baia Kristal, in the top tourist city of Colombia, Cartagena de Indias, is also preparing for its upcoming opening.


In South Africa, the award-winning and top-selling Munyaka project, driven by Crystal Lagoons in partnership with the country’s main developer, Balwin Properties, achieved a new record by inaugurating the largest crystalline lagoon in the country. Recognized as “Johannesburg’s first beach” this stunning body of turquoise water covers an area equivalent to seven rugby fields.

With more than 31 projects, Egypt has positioned itself as Crystal Lagoons’ most solid market in the MENA region. In 2023, the filling of the lagoons at Swan Lake Stage 3, Fouka Bay, and Il Monte Galala will be completed, with the latter standing out as the world’s first crystal-clear lagoon in a mountainous area.

Crystal Lagoons enters the Latin American retail market as part of the largest shopping and entertainment center in the Colombian Caribbean. The central element of the project located in Cartagena de Indias, “Azul de Arenas,” will be a 3-hectare crystalline lagoon suitable for swimming and water sports.

These developments, to which anyone can enter by paying a ticket, also incorporate commerce, a 150-room hotel, offices, apartments, and health centers, among other spaces.

The 120-hectare development is located in this dynamically growing city and will be one of the most important commercial projects, with 110,000 m² of leasable area, highlighting its design and sustainable urbanism, characteristics of Crystal Lagoons® technology.

“Shopping centers today must reinvent themselves and introduce new functional and experiential offerings to the public. PAL™ projects provide an answer to this need, as they not only offer an idyllic beach life but also bring together restaurants, event centers, culture, shows, and attractive activities, factors that enhance public attraction. An example of this is Ary Laguna, one of the largest shopping centers in Pakistan, and the advanced conversations with major US retailer chains,” explains Miguel Ángel Cabañas, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of Crystal Lagoons.

A Long-Term Agreement

Azul de Arenas is part of one of the largest agreements signed by Crystal Lagoons in Latin America, in association with AED Constructores, one of the main real estate firms in the country. The mega-contract includes 13 projects with crystalline lagoons that, in addition to the Colombian Caribbean, will also enhance another tourist icon such as the “Eje Cafetero”.

The success of Baia Kristal, Crystal Lagoons’ first real estate complex in the country, also in partnership with AED Constructores, prompted this company to sign the master agreement to develop projects in Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Pereira, and Cartagena de Indias itself.

“The fact that one of Colombia’s leading developers, such as AED, partners with Crystal Lagoons to build numerous projects, including the largest shopping center in the Colombian Caribbean, shows how our concept and technology are a success in Colombia,” adds Cabañas.

The PAL™ model has piqued the interest of important players worldwide. Crystal Lagoons experienced a record global expansion with these projects. The company entered more than 15 new markets and closed mega-commercial agreements in countries such as Japan, Australia, the United States, India, Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and Central America, among others.

Learn more about our PAL™ projects here.

Crystal Lagoons already has a strong presence in Latin America, with 200 projects at different stages of development and negotiations in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, the Caribbean region, and other countries. 

The regional expansion is set to continue with the addition of Guyana and Suriname, two new markets with a limited geographical area, population, and tourism infrastructure. The company will develop Public Access Lagoons™ projects under a master agreement with Grupo Monarch, a local leading conglomerate of international franchises.

The agreement is centered on developing the real estate, financial and tourist potential that these crystalline lagoons offer, transforming urban lifestyle by introducing idyllic beaches in the middle of major cities.

Recreating urban developments hubs

In Guyana, the venture will seek to capitalize on an expanding economy that has seen a 60% growth in GDP due to the discovery of oil deposits in recent years. The first of several PAL™ projects will be developed in Guyana’s capital Georgetown, which has a coastline with water that is unattractive for bathing

The new resort will be called “Golf Club Houses & Eco Hotel,” and will feature a lagoon as the central attraction, surrounded by a hotel complex, a golf course, residential homes, and other related infrastructure typical of this public access model.

“The entry of Crystal Lagoons to Guyana and Suriname is proof of the added value of this type of amenity and its role as a catalyst in creating urban development hubs. For the price of an entrance fee, the general public will be able to enjoy the crystalline lagoons and white sandy beaches of the PAL™ complexes, a true tropical paradise in the middle of a city,” said Miguel Angel Cabañas, regional director of Crystal Lagoons for Latin America and the Caribbean.

These large bodies of crystalline water maximize the touristic potential of urban areas in different countries and cultures through the creation of environmentally friendly hotspots. PAL™ projects have received a number of international awards for their sustainable technology that has been certified by Bureau Veritas for its minimal use of water – which is 40% lower than a green area of equivalent size and 33 times less than an 18-hole golf course – and energy, which is only 2% of the power required by conventional swimming pool filtration systems.