3 Mexican Expat Havens; 3 Different Investment Strategies

Flick open my passport and you’ll find stamps from countries all over the world. Look a bit closer and there’s one country stamp that’s in there more than any other…and that’s Mexico.

I’ve spent a lot of time scouting real estate in Mexico because of the real estate opportunities it offers. Here are three different destinations in Mexico that are on my radar right now.

The Glamorous Getaway on the Cusp of a Major Transformation

Miles of sun-drenched beaches. Brilliant blue sea. An untamed frontier landscape full of adventure and possibility. Starlit skies and wide desert horizons…

It’s no wonder that old-school Hollywood movie stars came to Los Cabos, on the country’s Pacific coast, to get away from it all. In the early days, the biggest names in the movie industry flew in on private planes—Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, and Henry Fonda. They came to spend their days deep-sea fishing, drinking cocktails poolside, and sunbathing on deserted beaches, and relaxing poolside of their five-star hotels with fancy cocktails.

They put Los Cabos on the map as a luxury jet-set destination. It was Los Cabos’ first transformational moment.

Now, it’s on the cusp of another one: one that could spell big profit for smart real estate investors.

You’ll see this transformation at play the moment you step off the plane. The area is awash with investment. Around $4 billion is slated for new projects. That money is going to build new resorts and hotels, new infrastructure, and new golf courses. Major hotel groups are targeting an explosion in tourist numbers. The number of hotel rooms is doubling now. In two years, that number is set to double again.

But while that’s happening, almost no one is thinking about the boom that’s coming down the track: the population boom that these major projects are creating.

All of these hotels need workers—an average of 800 per new resort. Cabo’s housing crisis is creating a once-in-a-generation buying moment for us. The housing shortage is set to get worse. And the buying moment is now.

There’s a lot of competition in the $5 million homes market. And condos from $500,000 to $2 million. But almost no one is catering to the regular upper-mid market (sub $500,000)—and that’s where big profit potential lies.

The Caribbean Coast That Keeps on Impressing

The Caribbean beauty of the Riviera Maya is stunning. I visit whenever I can. Palm trees sway in the breeze…the azure sea laps white-sand shores…and colorful birds and butterflies flit overhead. It’s a place where you can unwind and reset your batteries.

And I’ve come back to the Riviera Maya—the name given to the stretch of coast that runs from just after Cancún all the way to Tulúm—more times than I can count by now.

That’s because it’s a place where I’ve seen opportunity to profit again and again.

A Path of Progress is racing down Mexico’s Riviera Maya and it’s bringing real estate opportunity with it. Its first stop was Cancún. Investors who got in on Cancún in the 1970s and 1980s made a killing as it was transformed.

Then the Path of Progress rolled toward the fishing village of Playa del Carmen…same result. That village is now a world-class, livable city with real estate prices to match. Now this unstoppable juggernaut is racing toward the hippy-chic town of Tulúm.

This transformation of the Riviera has created opportunity at different places at different points in time. Now, it’s the turn of the stretch of coast between Playa del Carmen and Tulúm. I call this stretch the “golden zone”—and it’s set to become the hotspot in the final surge of this mega Path of Progress event.

Soon to Be Big? The Arty, Colonial City

Late last year, I arrived in the Mexican highland city of San Miguel de Allende. It was the first time in a decade I’d been to scout it.

And it was as cool a place as I remembered—arty, eclectic, and colorful with a well-preserved colonial center. There are cobblestone streets to explore and painted churches and homes. A lot of North Americans come to vacation and live in San Miguel.

Originally, the North Americans who came here gave it a beatnik vibe. After World War II, G.I.s came to study art and set up their own studios. But over time, it became more gentrified. Expats and vacationers with bigger pockets followed. San Miguel went from beatnik paradise to a high-end destination.

That pushed real estate prices up. A decade ago, million-dollar homes were a dime a dozen in San Miguel. But then, in 2008, the North American economic crisis happened. It hurt real estate sales. Motivated sellers dropped their asking prices by as much as half. And sales to North Americans died.

But at the same time, as real estate prices fell, San Miguel was fast gaining popularity with Mexicans. It’s now become a high-end wedding and weekend destination for wealthy Mexicans. It’s close to Mexico City. They can drive here in four hours. It’s in big demand.

These days, San Miguel is a place where you’ll pay top dollar to rent a high-end condo or hotel. The play here is to buy condos for under $200,000 that will rent to this market. Right now, nothing like this is available but I see opportunity coming.

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