In San Miguel de Allende, words like “breathtaking,” “charming,” and “picturesque,” are almost inadequate when describing the city. And once you go shopping for real estate in San Miguel de Allende, the only word that seems appropriate is “WOW!”
In this spellbinding city in the heart of Mexico, thousands of tourists have fallen in love and decided to stay. They have purchased homes in San Miguel, hired remodelers, frequented ever-nicer restaurants, and opened shops and galleries. There is no doubt that the changes in San Miguel de Allende have been astounding.
San Miguel de Allende is surely the best-maintained, most picture-perfect city in all of Mexico. It’s a place where the houses stay freshly-painted, city workers scamper to pick up any dropped garbage, and there are dozens of shops filled with hand-crafted items meant to make your home worthy of an Architectural Digest cover.
Depending on who you ask, there are somewhere between 6,000 and 14,000 foreigners living at least part of the year in San Miguel, so naturally this has driven up the price of real estate, especially in the historic center, but there is still good news for buyers of San Miguel real estate.
First, the bursting of the real estate bubble in the U.S. has meant an average price drop of around 15 to 20 percent in San Miguel from the frothy peak as well, especially at the high end. After all, most new buyers are coming from either the U.S. or Canada and many are not as flush as they were during the boom.
The bargains are even more plentiful outside the central core. With so many real estate communities and developments in San Miguel de Allende, there are plenty of options within minutes of historic Centro.
The other big positive about the San Miguel de Allende real estate market is that it is not dependent on market timing: all this foreigner-driven building and remodeling has kept the lauded Mexican artisan tradition alive and thriving.
In many homes for sale in San Miguel de Allende you will find custom-made furniture and solid wood kitchen cabinets with hand-carved designs on every door. With a staggering variety of tile to choose from and workers who can install it all to your specs for a good price, it’s easy to be creative without busting the budget—or to fix up a fixer-upper without getting your hands dirty.
San Miguel de Allende Real Estate Guidelines According to Luxury Latin America
As in any real estate market there are a few constraints in play besides your budget, but there are fewer constraints in San Miguel de Allende than in many other expat communities. You can own property free and clear here, there’s title insurance, and there’s an escrow system for deposits. Unlike in coastal regions of Mexico, there’s no land trust yearly fee or restrictions.
You generally do have to have enough liquidity to pay cash, which is the main reason the market pulled back so quickly once the housing market in the U.S. stalled. Some San Miguel de Allende real estate communities, such as the new Vista Antigua gated community development, offers financing that runs five years with a 9% interest rate, which is typical for the area.
In new housing developments outside the city, your dream home can go beyond just custom tile and cabinets. You can choose from a variety of floor plans at developments like Candelaria and Ventanas and be all-in for well under a million, or buy a lot, hire an architect, and roll out your entire wish list for less than the price of a routine McMansion in the U.S.
Historic Elegance in Centro, San Miguel
In the center of San Miguel de Allende, a key location in Mexico’s declaration of independence two centuries ago, architects are doing an amazing job of historic preservation while at the same time bringing in newer elements like high-end kitchen appliances, elevators, gas fireplaces and home theaters.
“You never know what you’ll find behind the walls,” is a common refrain in colonial Mexico. Homes are built flush to the sidewalks, with few adornments besides carved wooden doors, ironwork on the windows, or a colorful paint job. Once you step inside, however, the foyer may open up to a fountain and a boveda domed ceiling, or an elegant dining room for 12 with beamed 20-foot ceilings and hand-painted murals.
With real estate in Centro San Miguel you will certainly be struck by the craftsmanship found at every turn, the mix of indoor and outdoor spaces, and inviting rooms that refuse to ever be uninteresting or understated.
The Appeal of Living and Owning Real Estate in San Miguel de Allende
The selection of real estate in San Miguel de Allende is impressive and with prices higher than in most other non-coastal Mexican cities, why does San Miguel continue to attract waves of expats, retirees and international vacation home buyers?
Along with its world-famous aesthetic appeal, San Miguel de Allende boasts an incredible quality of life. The climate is simply unbeatable, spring-like all year long, and it is one of the easiest places in Mexico to get by on English as it spoken as commonly as Spanish. In addition, easy access from the US, an unrivaled cultural scene with a strong sense of community as well as affordable and quality healthcare all make San Miguel de Allende one of the greatest places in the world to live and own real estate.
There are more concrete factors that play in to the appeal of living and owning real estate in San Miguel de Allende as well. Property taxes are astoundingly low, often coming in at a few hundred dollars a year. Even with a properly assessed mansion and a regular staff of maids, gardeners, and maintenance men, upkeep on a house in central Mexico can be less than what one month of expenses will be in the U.S.
However, you won’t want to wait too long if you’re thinking of claiming your spot in this colonial paradise. Most real estate agents agree that even though there may not be a full recovery, the San Miguel de Allende real estate market is waking up again – and it’s an early riser.
Original article by Timothy Scott of Luxury Latin America