Mexican Real Estate: Escape From U.S. Housing Woes

You can thank the swine flu for one thing: It dramatically brought down the housing prices in Mexico. Throw in the recession and a dose of drug-war crime waves, and the sales volume of Americans buying homes in Mexico has dropped a dramatic 70 percent for Coldwell Banker and 40 percent for some residential resort developments in Baja in the past 12 months.

These are crazy figures.

So why not take advantage of the crunch in the Mexican housing market and consider buying that retirement dream home in Mexico?
Some U.S. buyers imagine that buying property in Mexico means constantly facing off with drug lords, in the same way that opening letters a few years back would result in contracting anthrax. Fat chance: In reality, the likelihood of a narco-war happening in your front yard is about the same as experiencing a shootout between the Bloods and the Crips in California. High-crime areas generally are closer to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Indeed, today's reality is quite different from long-held American perceptions. Since 2002, the number of border patrol agents has been doubled to 20,000. These days, even turf wars in border cities have little impact on American residents. Meanwhile, drug-related arrests have gone up dramatically in Phoenix, where smugglers hole up in safe houses.

According to, northern Mexican resorts such as Rosarito, Rocky Point and San Felipe, have suffered the most in this real estate downturn.

There's gorgeous property to be had mere hours from Southern California and Arizona. Why be discouraged at buying that dream home when a three-bedroom, ocean-front condo can sell for less than $300,000? Here's a little comparison: In San Francisco that would get you roughly a cramped one-bedroom apartment in a questionable part of town.

Time to brush up on your Spanish!
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