Local media don’t mention expats very often, but today’s Sipse reports that while tourism is down, foreign ownership on the Peninsula has increased 60 percent this year.
In just the last six months, half the houses sold in the historic center of Mérida and the Yucatán coast were bought by people originating from other countries, especially the United States and Canada. The historic center is under 3.5 square miles and contains about 20,000 properties with historical value, of which between 3,000-4,000 are ruins. Of those, 34 percent are beyond repair, according to Sipse. The coast offers new construction.
Meanwhile, a 2 percent decrease in air passengers reflects both a decline in the tourist economy and lengthier stays by people arriving by plane.
The economic crisis in the United States may have been a catalyst for people looking for retirement options that took them outside their home country. But the area’s natural beauties and a general sense of hospitality are what makes the region in particular so attractive, experts quoted in the article say.
Conventioneers are also taking notes. One source in the article mentioned that the organizers of Petroleum Geologists Annual Convention of the Gulf Coast, based in Texas, scheduled in November to bring 550 attendees from various cities in the United States, canceled its conference in Veracruz and chose more tranquil Mérida instead.
An article on Sipse.com in 2009 took on a different tone, noting that more and more foreign buyers in historic center are flipping properties.
“If the situation continues there will come a time when the meridians walk between neighboring United States, France, Hungary, Germany, Canada and other countries,” wrote the author (I’m using Google translate).
“According to reports from people who are dedicated to buying and selling homes in the center, the Americans are predominant in the purchase of houses. They are followed by French, Canadian, Spanish and Hungarian, who buy in areas such as rescued Ermita de Santa Isabel.
“This trade is simple, said respondents, it is expected an avalanche of home buyers as soon as you finish the rescue work, since that is what most attracts foreign buyers.
“If viewed from this point will require that homeowners and local businesses pay more attention to the case of foreign buyers and also do their part to save the center.
“At the time, the former leader of Trustees for the Recovery of Historical Center, Jorge Perez Manzanilla said that according to the indicators foreigners prefer spaces and rescued, as are the neighborhoods of San Juan, San Sebastian and Chembech.
“He said hopefully, and property owners and local businessmen, interested in the center and does not occur as in San Miguel de Allende or Guanajuato, where 80 percent of that heritage belongs to foreigners.