Everything You Need to Know About Buying Property in Mexico
Almost everyone has had the fantasy of buying property in México, of walking barefoot with their significant other along a picturesque beach, of sipping margaritas and enjoying infinity pool views of the Pacific Ocean or Sea of Cortés, of living their best lives in a place where the weather is always warm and the people are too.
And unlike other fantasies–being crowned as royalty, say, or inventing a time travel machine–this one isn’t all that difficult to make a reality.
But first, it’s necessary to separate fact from fiction, to bypass the myths and misconceptions that deter so many people from following their dreams in order to learn the truth about the laws and customs of what may just turn out to be your adopted (or at least second) home.
With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about buying a house in México.
Can Americans Own Property in México?
In terms of the questions we’re most often asked, only the wording changes…never the topic. Can U.S. citizens buy property in México? Can Americans buy property in México? Can a U.S. citizen own property in México?
No matter how you phrase it, the answer is yes.
Understand at the outset, however, that the laws for buying real estate in México are different than those in the U.S. Not better and not worse, mind you. Just different. So it’s important to be informed on what these differences are, and what they mean in terms of real estate.
The fideicomiso system, for instance. A history of how the fideicomiso system came to be would require a book-length explication, but the key thing to know is that foreigners can own property in México, and they can even own the most valuable kind of property there is, meaning beachfront.
But for reasons that originally arose from issues of national security, all land within approximately 3o miles of the coast–in what’s referred to as the “restricted zone”–can only be purchased by Americans or Canadians through a fideicomiso, or bank trust.
The trust has a small annual fee and is generally renewable at either 50 or 100 years, but it’s not a lease. Rather, it’s equivalent to simple fee ownership. Once you buy the property, it’s yours. You can remodel it, sell it at a later date if you choose, and even will it to your heirs.
Is It a Good Time to Buy Property in México?
The answer to this question is also an emphatic yes.
For starters, consider that stunning beachfront properties with spectacular ocean views in México are still priced well below those of similar size and vantage in the U.S.
Then consider that property taxes are much lower in México than the U.S. Los Cabos properties, for instance, are taxed at only 0.1% of the purchase price annually. Compare that with Hawaii (0.27%) or California (0.79%) or Texas (1.86%), and it’s evident that the purchase price itself isn’t the only value in terms of savings.
The cost of living too is lower in México than the U.S., and the former offers high-quality health care at a fraction of the cost of its northern neighbor.
These factors are all to the good, of course, and they also help to boost the investment potential of your property; because over time the value of coastal land is only going to increase…most likely dramatically due to its scarcity.
So yes, now is a very good time to consider buying a home in México. As a matter of fact, there may never be a better time, because prices are only going to rise in the coming years.
Yes, financing is available. And remember, owning a home has very tangible benefits. It builds equity, diversifies your financial portfolio, acts as a hedge against inflation, and can be used to generate steady income as a rental property in the event you’ll only be in residence part-time.
What Are the Best Places in México to Buy Property?
México is by far the most popular international vacation destination for U.S. travelers, with the favored spots being coastal resort areas like Los Cabos, Cancún and Puerto Vallarta.
And why not? All of these places are gorgeous, with year-round sunshine, palm trees and powder-fine beaches.
So if these places are the best to visit, doesn’t it stand to reason they’re also the best places to buy property in México? We certainly think so.
Los Cabos real estate is currently the most coveted of these desirable coastal options and for several reasons.
First, this municipality–which includes Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo–has a thriving community of American and Canadian citizens, which makes adapting to a new social environment there quite easy.
Second, it boasts over 100 miles of magnificent coastline, meaning prospective homebuyers can find properties that meet a number of very specific criteria, from surfing or fishing conditions to proximity to bilingual schools.
Third, it’s a short flight from Southern California and Texas, where many owners have their primary homes, or extended family they wish to visit regularly.
Fourth, the amenities are absolutely world-class. Not only does Los Cabos offer nearly 20 championship-level golf courses (including four ranked in the top 100 in the world), it also showcases a host of boutique shopping, spa and dining opportunities, not to mention many of the planet’s most breathtakingly beautiful beaches.
In 2020, the most exciting Los Cabos real estate for sale can be found at El Encanto de la Laguna, a gated beachfront luxury community located just outside San José del Cabo.
What Types of Properties Are Available?
Virtually every kind you can imagine, from beachfront mansions and cliffside luxury villas to spacious family homes and ocean view condos.