Mexico May Become More Open to Foreign Buyers

July 10, 2013

Mexican lawmakers are considering lifting restrictions on foreign ownership of property along the country's coasts and borders, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move could boost residential real estate development in Mexico’s vacation-home market, housing experts note. 

Currently, Mexico prohibits ownership of land within 31 miles of its coast or international borders. The century-old restrictions were put in place in 1917 out of fears of U.S. expansion. 

In order to buy currently in restricted zones -- which include many popular beach resorts -- foreigners must undergo what’s often considered a complicated process of applying for special land trusts, which encompass partnering with banks to gain property rights for 50-year terms that can be renewed. 

Mexican legislators are now considering a proposed constitutional amendment to remove prohibition of foreigners buying residential properties along the coast and its borders. 

"It's no time to be concerned about an invasion by the shorelines," says Miguel Angel Lemus, president of Lemmus Inver Mexico Real Estate, a development and marketing firm. "It's time to make money by the shorelines. We're going to have a boom with that."

The country has long been attractive to foreigners -- particularly those from the United States and Canada -- to purchase vacation or second homes due to the weaker Mexican peso compared with the U.S. dollar, notes Salvador Romero Dominguez, a commercial director for Fonatur, a government agency that constructs a lot of the nation’s resort infrastructures. 

Source: “Mexico Weighs Opening Up Wider to Foreign Property Buyers,” The Wall Street Journal (July 9, 2013)

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