Home Searching in Mexico: A Playa del Carmen Seaside Home for $750,000

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House Hunting in Mexico: A Playa del Carmen Beach House for $750,000

This four bedroom, four bathroom house is located in the Playacar gated resort in the town of Playa del Carmen on the east coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Built in 2000 and gradually modernized, the stone and cement house combines many local materials and architectural features, including palapa roof coverings made from dried palm fronds.

"This home is part of a prestigious community of approximately two dozen homes in the second phase of Playacar development that has its own pool and tennis courts," said Judi Shaw, the owner / broker of Living Riviera Maya Real Estate who is on the listing. "You also have your own path to the beach – it has a gate and only these homeowners have keys."

The price for the 3,657-square-foot home, which was a popular rental property, includes the furnishings, Ms. Shaw said.

The main entrance, protected by a palapa overhang, is at the front of the house across from a driveway with space for two cars. It opens into a small foyer with a wooden staircase to one side. Up a few steps is the main living area, an open, tiled space that combines the kitchen and living room. The kitchen counters and the breakfast bar are made of Ticul, a locally mined limestone.

Decorative stained glass windows used throughout the house add plenty of light and provide privacy from neighbors on either side. A hallway across from the main entrance leads to a large wooden deck with a palapa-decked dining area and built-in benches. Below the deck is a tiled terrace with a bar. Stairs from the deck lead to another covered terrace above. The decks overlook the communal pool.

Two bedrooms – one with two single beds and one with a queen-size bed – and two bathrooms flank the hallway.

The stairs in the main foyer lead up to the main suite, which has a striking vaulted ceiling that is modeled on the sky and is illuminated with uplight. Closets line one wall, with a built-in vanity in the middle. On the opposite wall, marble steps lead to a whirlpool tub framed by large stained glass windows. A separate shower room is right next to the bedroom.

Another bedroom on the second floor has an en suite bathroom and access to the outside via a spiral staircase.

The community of Playacar in the southern corner of Playa del Carmen also has a golf course and a number of private beach clubs and hotels on the Yucatan Caribbean coast. Fifth Avenue, which is pedestrian only, with its shops, restaurants, bars and cafes is within walking distance. Xcaret Park, a popular water-themed theme park and resort, is a few miles south of the city. Cancun International Airport is around 45 minutes' drive away.

Playa del Carmen in the municipality of Solidaridad in the state of Quintana Roo is one of the largest cities on the Mexican Riviera Maya coast with around 305,000 inhabitants. It is between the resorts of Cancun and Tulum.

Primarily a second home market, the city has seen a sharp surge in demand from buyers seeking refuge from pandemic lockdowns, agents said.

“We are traditionally a buyer's market because there is just a lot of inventory – I like to say that a candy store has a lot of candy,” said Ms. Shaw. “But suddenly we had bought up a lot of long-standing inventory last year and earlier this year. So that makes it more of a balanced market. "

Nationally, the average home sales price rose 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, to 1.2 million pesos ($ 59,000), according to Mexico's Federal Mortgage Society, which tracks home price with mortgage credit . (The country doesn't have a multiple listing service.) House prices in Quintana Roo rose 7.5 percent in 2020, the fifth largest increase among Mexico's 32 states.

In the first six months of this year, Ms. Shaw said her agency sold the same number of properties as it did in the first half of 2020, but the average sale price was higher at $ 435,500. (Many properties in Mexico, including this one, are marketed in US dollars.)

Ivan Castillo, a real estate attorney and general manager of Secure Title Riviera Maya, said his company's offices across Mexico had opened around 40 to 45 files per month at a time before the pandemic closed in early 2020. Now the average is closer to 100.

"We are seeing a strongly accelerated real estate market," said Mr. Castillo. "It's going crazy."

Prices in Playa del Carmen start at just under $ 200,000 for a two-bedroom apartment farther from the beach, said Jason Waller, owner of Playa Real Estate Group. Condos closer to the beach typically cost between $ 300,000 and $ 450,000, while beachfront homes now sell for over $ 1 million, he said.

"We have a lot of New York customers, and a lot of people are looking for homes on the beach so they can enjoy beach life when there's another lockdown instead of being stuck in a city apartment hating their family," said Mr. Waller.

Compared to Cancun, Playa del Carmen is cheaper and more accessible on foot, he said, adding that "almost every street leads to the beach".

Mr Castillo said he believes the purchase is more valuable in Playa del Carmen than in Tulum, 40 miles down the coast, where rampant development is growing "so disorderly" that services like water, electricity and internet access are becoming increasingly strained.

The US State Department is currently advising travelers to Quintana Roo to exercise caution over crime.

The majority of overseas buyers in Playa del Carmen are from the United States (particularly Texas and New York City) and Canada, agents said.

Mr Waller said he also sees more buyers from France and the UK this year.

“We've really noticed a boom from Europe this year,” he said. "We just hired a French-speaking agent."

Mr Castillo said the majority of his overseas clients are from Canada and because the country has been closed for so long, most properties are buying in the pre-build phase. "I'm sending you a power of attorney to sign so that I can represent you to take physical possession and, if necessary, take over the title on your behalf," he said.

Foreign buyers shopping within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of coastline or 100 kilometers (62 miles) of country borders must buy through a Mexican bank trust or company, Mr Castillo said. An attorney is required for the due diligence of the transaction. A state-appointed notary formalizes the transaction.

Mortgage finance is not available to foreigners in Mexico. Most business is done in cash, Ms. Shaw said.

The broker's commission is usually 6 to 7 percent, which is paid by the seller in the event of a resale.

Spanish; Mexican peso (1 peso = $ 0.049)

The transfer tax in Playa del Carmen is 3 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Castillo said. The total cost of closing, including the cost of setting up the trust, is typically between 4 and 7 percent.

Annual property tax on this home is $ 375, with monthly community fees of $ 140.

Judi Shaw, Living Riviera Maya Real Estate, 760-994-1716; judi@resorts-real-estate.com

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