The city of Merida, Mexico located on the Yucatan Peninsula, is gaining a reputation as a hot spot for international real estate investors. (For more information on investing in Mexico, see The Myth of Mexican Property Ownership.) With a culturally rich historic district just ten minutes away from the modern north side of the city, there is something for every investor’s palate.
In Merida, neighborhoods within and bordering on the historic district are gaining attention because of their low prices and colonial architecture.
“Merida’s historic downtown area, which is the second-largest in the country after Mexico City’s, [has] several neighborhoods…where you would see a lot of old colonial properties with features like old high beam ceilings, original Spanish tile floors, pure rock construction, arches, long corridors, interior courtyards, backyards, etc.,” Gabriela Isaac, co-owner and founder of Real Estate Yucatan, said in an e-mail interview.
The cost of restoring a colonial home is relatively low in Merida Mexico real estate. The cost of buying and restoring a colonial home in Merida is fairly low compared to simply buying a single-family home in many American markets. “You can still purchase an old colonial under $100,000 and have it redone for pennies on the dollar,” Jim Mann of Mayan Living Real Estate Company said.
The price point on these properties makes them attractive to many investors, and renovating colonial properties in Merida is catching on.
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“These are the properties that our clients (mainly non-Mexicans) are looking for all the time,” Isaac said. “This is also the reason why you [can] see a lot of beautiful old colonial properties being renovated or already restored.”
For investors who aren’t looking to remodel, there are modern homes on the north side of Merida, which includes big box stores such as Office Depot, Sears and Saks Fifth Avenue, and is popular with European, American and Canadian investors, according to Isaac.
“The north side is very different from downtown,” Isaac said. It “is a much newer area where you…see modern homes with different styles…[and] bars and restaurants with a more international image.”
Additionally, there are a number of homes, condos and other developments available to foreign investors.
“Housing in Centro, beach condos and golf [and/or] tennis developments would be excellent investments and attainable from $1,000,000 [U.S.] to $200,000 [U.S.],” Ben Fitznar of Real Estate Investment and Development in Merida said in an e-mail interview.
However, investors may be best served by simply buying and holding land in the area.
“[Land is] also being overlooked by the foreign [investor], but not by the local investor,” Fitznar said. “The holding of prime land, which at present is inexpensive, [is] increasing at as high as 20 percent yearly and in some areas [has] doubled in the past two years.”
Industrial land in Merida can cost from 66 cents per square foot for land without infrastructure on the highway loop to $1.95 per square foot in a private industrial park with complete infrastructure, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
With so many choices for investors, it might be best to visit the area and speak with bilingual real estate agents well versed in investing before settling on any particular type of Merida, Mexico real estate investment.