A Guide to Real Estate in Campeche, Mexico
From the outskirts of town, it's hard to believe that Campeche is
anything other than yet another Mexican industrial center and state capital. Driving in, the low-lying undergrowth
of the Yucatan countryside gives way to the usual gas stations and auto dealerships of urban sprawl.
But approach downtown and suddenly there they are massive
18th-century stone walls and bulwarks that enclose 40 square blocks of pure colonial charm. Within those walls lie
street after street of gaily painted facades, austere churches and cathedrals, and a graceful town square-complete
with gazebo - just begging for a stroll.
In December 1999 UNESCO granted Campeche World Heritage status for
its cultural and historic significance. The state government wants to turn Campeche, city and state, into a mecca
for high-end cultural and eco-tourism.
|Mexico offers some of the best beachfront properties in its vacation
(Image by Pixabay.com)
Campeche property development
Ten years ago, locals say, they couldn't even give away their big,
rambling properties in Campeche's city center and historic barrios. Now that these properties are World Heritage,
however, the story is different. There are no more bargain-basement deals, and many owners are holding onto
Campeche properties, waiting for prices to rise. As a result, there are never many colonial properties on the
market at any one time. That said, there are still good deals to be had, particularly compared to U.S. and European
Playas Palmeras was the pioneer beach development in Campeche, and is the only one that's actually up and
running. It lies 40 kilometers from Champotón, farther south than the other two development projects. The
British-backed group owns 13 kilometers of coastline, all of it white sand
beach. Playas Palmeras sold its first beach lots in 2003; the first houses were built in 2005. Company
officials say there are still about 25 phase one lots available. About 60 phase two lots will be released for
sale by year end.
Lots at Playas
Palmeras are priced by the square meter, at $100 a square meter.
Lot sizes range from roughly 800 to 2,000 square meters. All lots have at least 20 meters of beach frontage.
Housing construction costs range from about $100,000 to $400,000, depending on the size, complexity, and amenities
of the house.
Beachfront development in Campeche
The biggest noise in Campeche properties beachfront development is
this ambitious, $450 million resort backed by Spain's Grupo
Mall, Santillana. As currently planned, the resort will
include over 3,000 condominium units; a marina with slips for 150 boats; an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course; a
500-room five-star hotel; numerous pools; a beach; and an entire shopping center for everything from groceries to
the latest designer beach wear.
The American-backed Santillana project lies one kilometer from
the Grupo Mall project. As envisioned, Santillana will be a gated residential
community in two parts: a "del Mar" area with two rows of beachfront lots, and, across the highway and farther from
the beach, a "Sea Ranch" of larger lots.
Only first-row beachfront lots will be right on the water. However,
all lots will have access to beach areas via footpaths. And the Sea Ranch lots, which run 2,000 to 3,000 square
meters apiece, are big enough for private pools. Prices for beach lots are $125,000 for first-row lots and $100,000
for second-row. There are 15 first-row lots and 14 second-row, all ranging in size from about 1,000 to about 1,500
square meters. Sea Ranch lots go for $75,000. These are all pre-development prices,
says Santillana's management, and will hold through the end of December 2007.
Fideicomiso property trust
Remember: Mexico's constitution does not allow foreigners to hold direct title to property within 50
kilometers of the coast. Campeche properties in the city, as well as the beachfront developments, fall within the
50 kilometer limit. So what do foreigners do? There are two options:
The Fideicomiso is a trust that is set up to hold
title to the property, with you as the trust's beneficiary. A Mexican bank sets up the trust and holds the deed,
charging an annual fee for this service (currently about $600). Fideicomisos are flexible; you can do just about
anything under a fideicomiso that you could do if you held the title yourself. The downside: You'll pay an annual
fee to the bank (usually $500 to $600) as long as you have the property. If you plan to live full-time on the
property, you'll be advised to buy through a fideicomiso.
If you plan to use the property for investment-say, renting it out
most of the year-you can choose to set up a Mexican corporation that holds the title. You'll avoid the annual
fideicomiso fees, but there will be other guidelines you'll have to follow.
Editor, Mexico Insider