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New York Times Features “House Hunting in Mexico”

02 September, 2014

International buyers are snatching up property in Merida and other areas of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula,which is also home to popular vacation destinations such as Cancun,Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The affordability,safety and natural beauty of the region has consistently attracted increasing numbers of foreign buyers,as reported by the New York Times.

“Americans are the largest group of foreign buyers in Merida,followed by Canadians,” reports the New York Times. “An increasing number of European buyers have arrived over the past few years,primarily French and Italians and lately,Germans.” 

Historic Homes

The featured home in the New York Times article represents what Merida is all about for some buyers: Restoring historic homes in the city’s downtown,or Centro Historico area,which boasts a colorful array of restaurants,historic residences and a stunning cathedral that was built upon ancient Mayan ruins in the 17th century. Here,the Plaza Grande also offers an eclectic array of street vendors selling food,art and local handicrafts.

As with many of Merida’s historic homes,the one featured by the New York Times is arranged in a traditional quadrangle shape,which incorporates a lush,open garden space in the center. An outdoor gallery connects the rooms and runs around the perimeter of the quadrangle,which is accessible to visitors through an ornate ironwork gate that also protects the main entrance to the home’s interior spaces. 

The rooms are all on one level and,as is often the case with real estate in Mexico,the home’s contents are offered for sale with the home. The popularity of Merida’s Centro Historico district has prompted many buyers to renovate and modernize the area’s historic homes in recent years,so chances are good that a property here could feature updated wiring and plumbing,but be sure to check before making a purchase. Many of the buildings are made from stucco,featuring exterior walls that are up to two feet thick and ceilings reaching 20 feet high. Local limestone is a common choice for flooring,and exposed beams are often crafted from zapote wood.

Market Overview

Progresso,which is the nearest beach,is about 40 minutes from Merida,but there is a modern international airport located in town,which makes it easy to stay connected with friends and family back home – wherever that might be!

“Wealthy Mexican buyers are also drawn to Merida because of its safety,” writes the New York Times.

The attitude toward foreign buyers is very friendly throughout the Yucatan Peninsula,which also includes the Riviera Maya. In fact,local officials have reported a rise in the number of expats who are buying real estate in Mexico in recent years,many of whom also live here either full or part time. 

Although foreign buyers are still required to hold property through a bank trust known as a fideicomiso,there is currently legislation in the works to remove this requirement,which will help to even farther increase the popularity of Mexico real estate. The bank trusts are completely legal,but they do cause some buyers to feel concern,which is one reason why the cost of property is still such a bargain in Mexico,compared to other coastal areas that offer similar amenities. 

“Some Mexican nationals choose to buy homes through trusts as well because it simplifies the process,” writes the New York Times. “The government wants foreigners to buy here.”

In fact,areas throughout the Yucatan Peninsula are quickly emerging as the new frontier for real estate investors worldwide. For example,the town of Tulum – which just a few years ago was little more than a small fishing village about an hour and a half south of Cancun – is now growing at a rapid pace and the numbers don’t lie. Since 2008 the employment sector of Tulum has more than doubled,and its population has tripled since 2000 – a trend we’ve already seen happen in Cancun and Playa del Carmen over the last 15 years.

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