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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Mérida House Hunters: ‘Am I Being Priced Out of Centro?’

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The easy bargains are gone. For US property hunters, the dollar weakened while the Mexican currency became the “super peso.” Plus, demand is up for Mérida properties that 10 or 15 years ago might have been had for a song. So property hunters who lack deep pockets need to find a strategy. Some pro tips: 

“Make your experience positive by focusing on what you can afford and what works for you. Newbies need to realize how unimportant it is to live near the tourist zone of Centro, as Mérida has many affordable neighborhoods to consider.” —Nicholas Sanders, Yucatán Beach & City Property

“To find a good deal have an open mind. Mérida is a small enough city that no area is too far away. My first house here the broker didn’t want to show is was too far from the center. That house was on Calle 52 between 47 and 49 — certainly the center now. The next three houses I bought I found from driving all around. Right now the south of the city is my favorite for safe local family neighborhoods and interesting properties without INAH restrictions.” —Lisa Gaffney 

“My advice to clients wanting to make a lower-priced investment or just starting out is to be open to exploring other areas of downtown such as Miraflores, Lourdes, south and east of  San Cristóbal and Jesús Carranza. In addition to much more modest prices and wider opportunities, these areas offer more authenticity, a slower pace and sabor local that is disappearing from more central zones. Often, businesses catering to new residents will follow buyers into these zones, and areas will start ‘being put on the map’ as was the case with Cadadía in La Plancha, Cigno Hotel in San Sebastian and Pancho Maíz in Chem Bech. Often, newcomers will not be surprised by the number of long-term residents that have chosen to move further out in search of more land, ease of parking and the desire to be back in a more traditional neighborhood as the more known areas of Centro become even more gentrified.” —Ross Schiering, Mérida Centro Real Estate

“The era of purchasing the classic colonial in the traditional ‘gringo areas’ may be over. The best ones have been purchased and renovated, and the cost is now prohibitive. New and younger buyers are gravitating to the emerging or fringe neighborhoods that wouldn’t have been considered five years ago. They are finding more land for better prices, and the opportunity to build without the design restrictions of INAH allowing for a more contemporary architectural aesthetic.” —David N. McIlvaney, travel writer currently restoring two houses

“Good buys are available in Centro, but you’ll need to look further out. Try looking in Esperanza, Col. Industrial, and Chuminópolis to the east of Centro. To the southeast, look at Miraflores, Vicente Solis, and  San Cristóbal. To the south, check around Parque Pedro Infante or between Infante and La Ermita. To the west, check to the south of Parque Centenario and cross Itzaes into San Lorenzo, Mulsay, or Bojórquez. The north is more pricey, but there are some buys in Chuburná.” —Mitch Keenan, Mexico International

“Good deals are very rare to come by, but there are still some to be found in the most desirable areas in Centro. But I would definitely suggest branching out to other areas near Centro, like Jesús Carranza, Miguel Alemán and Colonia México if you’re looking for closeness to Paseo de Montejo and the north. If that’s not the priority, I would suggest Colonia Esperanza and Chuminópolis where some remodels are starting to pop up and lot sizes are a little bigger than your typical Centro find.” —Erik González, architect, González Estudio

“Mérida has experienced phenomenal growth in the last several years, and with that growth comes higher real estate prices. That being said, good values are still available in many areas, such as locations that are a little outside of Centro, offering exceptional value. Tip: Find a real estate agent you trust and work with them. Developing a relationship with a good agency and an agent will be a valuable asset during the process. Once you find a property you love, be prepared to act quickly with a good and fair offer. Properties that are good value will go under contract rapidly. —Elizabeth Rodriguez, Yucatán Beach & City Property

“There’s a lot of overpriced ruins right now because someone, somewhere sold their house, entirely finished to high specifications, for 6 million pesos. But there’s still some good deals if you look a little farther afield. You can find inexpensive houses just south west of San Cristóbal and there are still good deals down south in Pedro Infante and Dolores Otero, maybe Esperanza.” —Louis Navarrete, interior designer 

“A close relationship with an agent can yield the inside track on well-priced properties, but buyers must act decisively. An under-valued property won’t necessarily wait for a foreign house hunter to book a flight in two weeks to see a property up close. Lots of people are looking for the same thing, and they’ll snap it up quickly. You have to be ready to pull the trigger.” —Carlos Betancourt, Mérida Living

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