Mexico – A Giant In The Making
Mexico has been the home to as much history on a large scale as any country on the earth. Home to the great civilizations of the Mayans, Olmecs, Toltecs and the Aztecs before the country was conquered by the Spanish of the new world between 1519-1521. Spain brought Mexico under the wing of her Empire for 300 years, until the Mexicans (A mixture of indigenous people and Spanish settlers revolted and won their independence in 1821. Today Mexico (or correctly named The United Mexican States) is a federation with a government that is representative, democratic and republican, with a population of more than 112 million and a landmass of almost 2 million square kilometers.
Mexico has the 13th largest GDP and slowly the level of the population in poverty is decreasing and the middle classes are growing. Goldman Sachs have stated that according to their calculated predictions, Mexico will have the 5th largest economy by 2050, so although they have had their fair share of teething problems and still have issues to contend with as a country, it is widely accepted that Mexico is a good bet for future investments. Mexico has several major economic pillars including oil production and car production, but tourism is also a factor due to its quiet rise from a nation in poverty and the reputation of being the USA’s sick cousin, to an emerging global player.
Mexico is 23rd highest on the list for tourist spending in the world and number 1 in Latin America. Most holiday makers are from the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia, with just a small percentage coming from the other Latin American countries.
Some of the major destinations most visited by Mexico’s tourists are:
Mexico City – A sprawling great metropolis with the world’s third largest urban area, stretching 2240m above sea level. This is a city that beckons anyone who enjoys the intensity of weird, wonderful and magical street life, combined with architecture that spreads across civilizations. This is a fast paced city with a real edge to it, but the sheer diversity of music, art and food mixed with the warmth of the city dwellers makes it an intoxicating mix, and one of the must see cities in the world. Some of the major sites include, The National Museum of Anthropology, Palacio de Bellas Artes which is the cities historic marble building that house’s the top performances and also acts as an art museum and the National Palace which was once home to Herna Cortes, the first of Mexico’s Spanish overlords. Just outside of the city, some 25 miles northeast is a UNESCO world heritage site of the Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacán containing some of the largest Pyramids in the Americas, dating back to 100 BC. A true wonder to behold and one of Mexico’s most popular archaeological sites.
Guadalajara, Jalisco – This is Mexico’s second most populated city and is known and loved for its extremely ‘Mexican’ feel. A city built on tradition from Mariachi music, real Mexican cowboys, wonderful food and of course Tequila. Guadalajara is a very popular city with visitors, offering a home grown atmosphere with a cocktail of old and modern architecture, many museums, art galleries, theatres and restaurants. A must visit location.
Cancun – For those looking for the buzz of great nightlife coupled with fantastic beaches in the day time, Cancun is the place where everything is laid on. A firm favorite with North Americans looking to escape for a few weeks at a good price. Here you can find year round sun shining down on a world class resort, with everything you would expect from water sports, jungle tours, ancient Mayan ruins, spas, golf, shopping and not to mention great cuisine with everything available from traditional Mexican food to modern international restaurants.
Acapulco – Offers the best of both worlds. A city, a seaport and a stunning beach that stretches round its semi-circular bay. Made famous more than 50 years ago as the place to go for the rich and famous, the name of Acapulco still conjures up the idea of fun in the sun. Always known as one of the most famous party towns in the world, it is still just that and it continues to be possible to party 24 hours a day here 365 days a year.
Cabo San Lucas – Otherwise known as Cabo may hold a more modern appeal and has been a huge hit with those looking to relocate to Mexico. This city sits at the southern tip of Baja California in the Mexican State of Baja California Sur. With a small population of just seventy thousand, this city offers up a more relaxed approach. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, world class scuba diving and abundant marine life. Cabo is also a first class spa destination, so it is no surprise that this has become such a hit with holiday makers and those looking to buy and live in Mexico long term.
There are many wonderful places to holiday and buy property in Mexico, but as anywhere location is of paramount importance. It is well documented that Mexico is not without its problems, but it is a big country and as such there are plenty of places where the dream of a wonderful life in the sun, with laid back stunning surroundings and warm and generous people, can be realized. So make sure that you have fully researched your chosen location before you start looking for real estate in Mexico.
Property prices vary greatly dependent on area and security of area, but generally prices are competitive when compared with prices in the USA and Europe. Again, make sure you know where you are buying and endeavor to enlist the help of a known and trusted property agent before making offers.
Here are some tips for buying property in Mexico.
1. It is permissible for foreigners to buy property in Mexico. However, there is a restricted region which prohibits direct ownership of property within 100Km of the frontier and 50Km of the coastline. Having said that, there are many foreigners that achieve this by a standard work around being that the law does allow foreigners to hold property on lease from a Mexican bank trust. This is known as a fideicomiso and will require the buyer to set up a company that may act on their behalf.
2. It is imperative that the buyer find good people to work with in Mexico. This includes a trusted local real estate agent and property lawyer, preferably locals that can speak both Mexican and English. If in doubt whilst looking for a realtor, you can refer to Mexico’s professional body, ‘The Mexican Association Of Professional Realtors’ for guidance, known in Spanish as the AMPI.
3. As property taxes in Mexico are fairly bureaucratic (it is expected that as such harmonization with North American laws will follow through in the coming years) it is wise to refer to your chosen legal property expert on the relevant laws pertaining to any one particular purchase. Acquisition tax is a state tax that will roughly come in at 2% of the value of the sale. No VAT is payable on residential property, however, commercial property can expect to pay VAT charges. One should also take into consideration an appraisal tax.
4. There is a registry fee of 1.3% of the value of the purchase, that is to be paid by the buyer. There is also a capital gains tax for non residents which can be up to 25% of the total value of the transaction.