Mexico's Next Big Thing |
Dec. 18, 2008
Panama City, Panama
- The Tourists Keep Coming...And The Investment Dollars, Too...
- Health Care In Goa...
- The Allure Of Decaying Grandeur...
The Dates Are Firm For The Most Important Live and Invest Overseas Event Of
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Dear Overseas Opportunity Letter Reader,
"The market in
Mexico's Riviera Nayarit is stronger than
ever right now," writes Aaron Fisher of Developer Direct. "We continue to
see record-breaking sales for development, investment, and second homes.
"Mexico is the seventh most visited tourist destination in the world," Aaron
continues. "And it is estimated that, by 2013, Mexico will be the world's
second-fastest-growing tourist market.
"Still, it's an emerging destination. It's been only in the past decade that
banks have come in to offer loans to foreigner buyers. Historically, Mexico
has been stringent with its lending policies and has never catered to a
sub-prime borrower. The result is a low public sector deficit with increased
lending to foreigners looking to purchase in this country.
"Because Mexico was, until recently, a cash-and-carry market, this new
lending stimulus has launched an influx of foreign investment from a new
demographic in the U.S. and Canada.
"Of course, I'm a developer. You may find it hard to accept my position as
unbiased. Nevertheless, the truth is, there has never been a better time to
live and invest in Mexico than right now.
"All the rules of buying in a developing market and in this part of the
world apply. Be sure you're buying titled property and invest in title
insurance (we work with First American Title, the biggest title company in
"Government in this country has never been more reform-minded, and we have
seen the passing of the torch from Vicente Fox to fellow Harvard classmate
Felipe Calderon. That's two U.S.-educated presidents in a row.
"Not to mention that Mexico has stepped up to agreements signed with NAFTA
and is making big headway toward meeting international standards for
infrastructure and government policy.
"We have five new state-of-the-art hospitals offering cutting-edge medical
and emergency response care at a fraction the price you pay in the U.S.
Prescription medicines are cheaper, too, and you can get a well-rounded
health insurance program for as little as US$300 per year.
"After10 years living on the Riviera Nayarit, however, I'd say that the
biggest reason for thinking about joining me down here is the lifestyle. For
me, this means easy access, good weather, a low cost of living, and
"The Riviera Nayarit is easy to get to with more direct flights to major U.S
and Canadian cities than almost any other part of Mexico.
"The climate isn't extreme. We enjoy an average winter
temperature of 25 to 26 degrees Celsius (that's 77 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit)
and more than 330 days of uninterrupted sunshine. Plus, water temperatures
rarely fall below 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Regarding the low cost of living, let's face it: Mexico
is cheap. Maybe not cheap the way it was a decade or more ago, but still
your money goes a long way. Services cost far less than in the States, for
example, allowing you luxuries normally reserved in North America for the
wealthy, like a housekeeper, a cook, and a gardener.
"As far as opportunity goes, Mexico is a developing
nation with a strong appreciating market. The 'World Investment Prospects to
2011' report from the Economist and the Columbia Program on
International Investment predicts that direct foreign investment from 2007
to 2011 in Mexico will average US$22.7 billion annually, the 5th greatest
rate among developing countries and the 17th greatest in the world.
"Infrastructure is a key consideration when choosing a
market for investment. A new highway has been built stretching from Puerto
Vallarta up to phase one of the Riviera Nayarit, and our airport has tripled
in size over the last two years.
"Another important consideration is the local market. Is
there one? This can go a long way toward helping you ride out global ups and
downs. In this part of Mexico, Mexicans themselves account for more than 50%
of the tourist income; the other 50% is covered by North Americans and
"Furthermore, Mexico has one of the fastest-growing
middle-income demographics in the world. The minimum wage in the Riviera
Nayarit is the highest in Mexico, meaning our area is sought-after for
employment. Laborers from all over the country migrate here, allowing
developers and builders to select the most skilled workers from a big pool.
"I mentioned already the importance of verifying the
title to any piece of real estate you consider purchasing in this country.
In addition, you want to make sure that the developer has all the required
permits in place to do what he represents he's going to do.
"You want to make sure the developer has the ability to
build and that funds are being set aside in escrow during construction. You
want to know that he has the available liquid cash flow to complete.
"And you want to make sure you are comparing apples to
apples, both among different developers and developments you might consider
in the country and between what you're looking at in Mexico and what you
know from back home."
P.S. I alerted you last week to Aaron's "Fly and
Buy" program. These getaway weekends amount to one of the best ways
I can imagine to get an introduction to this market.
You fly yourself down to Puerto Vallarta, then Aaron's
group covers all expenses for your three-day stay. You're put up in a
five-star hotel on the beach and are taken on a guided catamaran tour one of
the world's biggest natural bays.
Yes, you're here to learn about buying real estate in
Mexico, but there's no hard sell. The focus is on education. And you've got
time in between the crash courses in where, why, and how to buy property in
Mexico for dolphin and whale watching.
More details here.
The bad news is: You aren't likely to find a job on your own
But here's the good news: That doesn't mean you can't create
the income you need to live where and how you want.
You could launch a new life in Paradise 90 days from today.
I never feel more at home than when I'm surrounded by decaying grandeur. I'm
drawn to it the way some women are attracted by shoe sales.
One of the best examples anywhere of the vestiges of one-time colonial
grandeur is Casco Viejo, the old town on the little
peninsula off to the side of today's big-business Panama City.
I was introduced to this down-at-the-heels enclave about a dozen years ago.
It was love at first sight. These brick-paved streets, palm-fringed plazas,
open-air cafes, and crumbling three- and four-story French- and
Spanish-colonial architectural masterpieces are made-to-order romantic. By
day, grandmothers pass through the squares on their way to daily Mass...come
nightfall, you never know who or what might cross your path...
It's a cross between Old Havana and Old San Juan with a French twist.
It's the kind of place I could settle into happily, and someday I just may
do that. Meantime, I stop by to soak up the atmosphere as often as I can.
Last night, Lief and I sat with our young Marketing Manager Harry in Casco
Viejo's Plaza de Francia at a little round table out front of Las
Bovedas, the old Spanish fort and prison-cum-trendy bar and French
restaurant, sipping Abuelo rum and Coke and watching the sun set behind the
skyline of modern Panama City across the bay.
"This is what you come to Panama for," Harry remarked, as Lief called the
waiter over to order another round...
today's issue and Paul Terhorst's glowing piece on the beaches of
Goa got my attention. I have a friend who lives in Goa. He's sung
the praises of the place to me for years. I just haven't been able to get
"My mom and I are doing some serious searching for a place to visit for six
months to a year and, then, perhaps to spend more time in. India hadn't been
on our list until Paul's pieces emerged on your wonderful e-zine. Then the
Mumbai horror, and it was off the list again.
"Now, after reading today's piece on the beaches of Goa, mom said let's give
it a try. She's 84 and entitled to change her mind...
"The big question for us is: What about medical care? I know that
medications are much cheaper. I know that medical and dental office visits
are less expensive. What about hospitalizations? I've read on Indian
hospital websites that no one will be admitted without an up-front cash
payment or medical insurance. While hospital care is much less expensive, it
still could cost thousands of dollars to be hospitalized, couldn't it? Any
information you can provide will be appreciated."
-- Ellen S., United States
Intrepid Correspondent Paul Terhorst (now in Laos...watch for his reports
from the road starting soon) replies:
"I believe hospitalizations are much cheaper in India than
in the States. I'm not surprised hospitals require some kind of payment up
front, especially from a tourist or temporary resident.
"One further consideration: The best hospitals will be in the big cities,
and Goa is quite far from any of them.
"A friend wrote to say he just had a small stroke in Goa and got 'good' care
in the most expensive hospital there. Total cost was about US$400.
"I hope this helps. This is a complicated and personal topic, and each of us
has our own take on it."
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