By: Donald Murray | InternationalLiving.com
Mexico’s exquisite Caribbean Coast from Cancun south to Tulum is known as the Riviera Maya. It’s here that lush jungles provide homes to small monkeys, dragonish iguanas, and millions of colorful tropical birds.
Add to that a rich Mayan influence complete with plentiful ruins, warm tropical waters, crystal-clear underground rivers and lakes, sugar-sand beaches, modern hotels and resorts, and temperatures usually in the 80s F with plentiful sunshine…and it’s easy to understand why this area is the Caribbean’s number one destination and a magnet for savvy investors.
Toss in a strong, viable infrastructure, low crime numbers, and modern hospitals along with a world-class international airport, and this area’s phenomenal success on every front is a foregone conclusion.
The tropical heartbeat of this area is the flourishing city of Playa del Carmen, about an hour south of Cancun International Airport. According to Mexico’s Association of Hotels and Trusts, last year broke all records for the number of visitors to the region with average occupancy rates over 85% and peak periods seeing over 95% occupancy.
Renting properties to vacationers for short-term stays is where solid investment opportunities can be found. Such units typically rent from $150 to $450 per night or more, depending upon the size and location of the property.
One example of a nice condo with excellent rental potential is this splendid two-bedroom, two-bathroom property a short walk from the beach. With access to the community pool and in-building facilities, the monthly maintenance fee of $150 is a real bargain as cable, water, and trash service is included. And all for only $225,000. This 1,100-square-foot condo has “rent me” written all over it. The furnishings and decor are modern and upgraded with a kitchen to match. And, it would be a perfect second home.
With a population now estimated to exceed 100,000 and an annual growth rate of 26% for the past several years, Playa del Carmen has understandably become an investors’ playing field. The local economy is fueled by a steady increase in tourism and Playa (as it is known to the locals) is said to be the fastest growing community in Mexico.
In fact, many believe it may well be the fastest growing city in all of Latin America as those seeking career opportunities move to become a part of this expansive economy. Modern infrastructure including paved roads, good hospitals, a stable power grid, a plentiful and safe supply of water, as well as fast internet connections combine to support the burgeoning growth in the construction and real estate markets.
Here, you can find a modern single-family, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home offered for only $135,000—an opportunity that is not often found. Sitting alongside a well-established development, this beautiful furnished home offers 1,935 square feet of living space. This property would make an excellent second home and could be rented during those times when you are not there, as it is close to the beach and shopping while providing the privacy only available in a single-family home.
Playa del Carmen is a “low-rise” community with building codes limiting construction heights to three stories plus a roof deck. And while you do see some buildings go higher, those developers have paid significant fines and other fees for variances which limits the rampant growth in the area.
Only an hour’s drive separates the communities of Cancun from Playa del Carmen. The cities essentially share the same beach and tropical waters, yet there is a notable difference in the vibe and culture of each. Playa exhibits a quieter, less Disneyesque, and more sophisticated feel when compared to flashier Cancun.
Dozens of artsy sidewalk cafés, cool little bistros, and upscale clothing boutiques and fashionable jewelry stores blend with street performers and galleries to create a unique ambiance. The aroma of fresh-roasted coffee and fresh-from-the-oven croissants ride the offshore breezes drawing pedestrians closer to the source; all of that stretched along a fashionable length of Fifth Avenue which has been closed to vehicle traffic.
You can also find a very nice two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in the desirable Playacar development for only $175,000. This unit is absolutely perfect for an investment with its proximity to beaches and the famous Fifth Avenue strip. This is a first-floor unit in a gated community. All furnishings are included. This one is so nice, you may want to keep it for your personal retirement home when the time comes.
There’s no denying that Playa del Carmen is a serious beach town but don’t mistake it for other Mexican beach towns. Playa is special. These days, it’s an upscale community and it appears that image is only growing.