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RickS

Cost of Real Estate

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(Since this is not about Real Estate Lakeside, hopefully this Post will be allowed to stay for a while)

Whenever the cost of real estate comes up someone invariably suggests that it is surely less here than in San Miguel... "by a lot" is often added. I have spent some time there, as here and more here than there, and I just didn't seem to come up with the same general view. Maybe in the overall sense it is but surely not in many specific cases.

Below is a Post to the Civil_SMA Board, where such Posts ARE allowed. It kinda makes my point... at least in this one specific case. I have seen many other similar Posts (as well as property while on the ground there) so this is not just a fluke.  Other than information, I have no ulterior  purpose for Posting this:

Hi

FOR SALE BY OWNER

True Tranquility
Water Views, Mountain Views and Animals Grazing, Country Living less than 5 minutes from Comer, Contemporary  Style, 2 Floors one can be used for B&B or friends if needed. 4 fireplaces, 2 big patios one down and one up, 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, 2, laundry areas, 1dining room and 1 eating area, organic garden, Kohler toilets and bidet, tons of light, bright tranquil home, all that for only 
$270,000 USD

Edited by RickS
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Prices in San Miguel depend entirely on location...that is, proximity to the center of town. We bought a brand new house with a view  up on a steep hill in a Mexican barrio for about a third or maybe a fourth of what the price would have been in the center.  When we sold several years later, there was no profit, but that was in 2008...a poor market.  Because of the high elevation, it's colder in the winter and just as hot in the other times of year. According to a friend who still lives there, the traffic is terrible and it's very crowded now. (Somebody must have praised it on Facebook.)

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Must be in Los Frailes if it's only 5 minutes from La Comer... and that is still on the outskirts of town.

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We rented a three bedroom, two bath place not far from the center of town for 750 dollars/month.  Not bad...but that was 25 years ago.  I bet that place would be 2000/month now.  Main difference I found between the two places was the level of perceived sophistication and the resulting snobbish and unfriendly behavior of the gringos.  Locals were OK.  I don't hear much from folks today to change my opinion.   Alan

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4 minutes ago, barrbower said:

We rented a three bedroom, two bath place not far from the center of town for 750 dollars/month.  Not bad...but that was 25 years ago.  I bet that place would be 2000/month now.  Main difference I found between the two places was the level of perceived sophistication and the resulting snobbish and unfriendly behavior of the gringos.  Locals were OK.  I don't hear much from folks today to change my opinion.   Alan

That was one of the reasons we left.  Big attitude problem with the expats.  The locals (nearly all our neighbors) were fine folks, friendly and warm.  The "sophistication" level was a bad joke: too many of them were trying to "reinvent" themselves as artists or writers without having the goods to show for it.  We do have a bit of that here, but way less of it. Mexico does have a way of grinding that patina down and leaving only reality showing.😉

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Weather...  Ajijic has 2 months of hotter weather, mid April to mid June with some installing A/C. SMA has 2 months of cooler weather closer to the temperatures of Guadalajara when a heat source is really appreciated. It is easy to go to a weather channel and confirm this. We also have been to Ajijic in late December and January and it can be cool but not as cool as SMA. In both places some expats head to the coast at the coldest times. The election difference is about 1000 feet.

Expats: Ajijic has a higher density of expats vs SMA. The total population in SMA is ~190,000 and max. 8% are expats. On many weekends there is a huge influx of visitors. The expat community in SMA is much younger than in the past. Some have children of all ages and I have clients with as many as 4 children. Almost weekly we meet new families with children and also several single women unlike before. 

Real estate: centro is SMA is up significantly in price but as you go out further a major drop in price. But in seeing some prices in Ajijic it too can be expensive. This house is 13 minutes from centro and 3 from new hospital, movie theatres, banks, Soriano, Liverpool and schools. It is $230,000.

The number of expats coming to SMA dropped after the US election for a year. The numbers are up some but many of the expats moving here speak Spanish and are from Central and South America and Spain. 

The large SMA growth in population is nearly all Mexicans and the city is booming with at least 20,000 homes under construction and approved. 

We will build a house starting in January with amazing views of the presa and centro. The land was 3000 p a sq meter wth all underground services, concrete roads and sidewalks. I doubt Ajijic would be less. Our architects are from Cuernavaca and very reasonable. A contemporary home with extensive glass, 10 solar electric panels, water softener, dual pane aluminum windows, solar hot water, extensive marble, heat pump and 6 mini-splits, dropped ceilings with hidden led lighting, 2 meter high walls, landscaping, plus many upgrades is $82 US / sq meter. The architects who will manage the construction, teach architecture and they have projects in many parts of central Mexico. I believe that cost is as good as anywhere at lakeside. Three developers have stated, when built, thanks to views and location re-sale price will be double. 

In summary not easy to compare lakeside to SMA. They are very different communities and where one has pluses, one has minuses. For anyone with a business, SMA has been very good to a lot of people including expats. And, it's central location to QRO, MXCity, Leon, Guanajuato, Celaya is making to extremely attractive to Mexicans. 

Comparing anything to 25 years ago is senseless or even 10 years ago when someone may have lived in SMA or Ajijic. 

I meet more expats than most anyone and a comment I ofter hear is the friendliness, the broad range of entertainment, the proximity to several large centers within a short distance and the inexpensive fruits and vegetables at local markets. There are several hot springs, 3 hospitals and some very good private schools. 

Throughout most of Mexico the variable is accommodations. Utilities, gasoline, produce, transportation all vary little. Out CFE bill for example is 300 pesos every two months and our property taxes with January discount is 900 pesos for the year. These factors all are important when considering real estate. 

 

 

 

 

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Sounds good, Sonia, but my friend who lives there (in the upper area near the stores) likes her place but says downtown is a traffic nightmare these days and the weekend crowds over-fill the downtown area.  Anyone thinking of moving there would be well advised to rent for a month at high season.  If I were contemplating a move there at this point, it would be to that upper area where my friend lives.  Good bus service to downtown.

Your new building plan sounds like you'll have a fine place. Enjoy!

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They are different but I loved the nine years that we lived in SMA. If I was looking at it today for the first time, it would still be magical.

Very nice and well put together description Sonia. Thanks. Now, if you could mention what the internet speed is in various locations, it may excite a lot of people.

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SMA was the first non-border city we visited in MX in 2006 and we house-hunted there, but didn't find what we wanted.  As time went on we traveled to other parts of MX and liked Ajijic better based on our top requirements: weather, walkability, proximity to a large airport and the added bonus of living near a large body of water.  We continued to visit SMA annually after buying a home in Ajijic.  We had to return to the US in late 2012 for parental eldercare issues.  When we were able to return to Mexico in 2016 we again briefly considered SMA but the same top issues brought us back to Ajijic.  We still visit SMA annually.  What's that old saying, "It's a nice place to visit, but ......"

One exception I take to Sonia's post is about the expat density.  While I do not question her stats, whenever we are in SMA's plaza the ratio of expats to nationals is the same as it is in Ajijic's plaza in the evenings.  And when shopping at the old SMA Mega market (name changed a few years ago) it usually has the same or higher ratio of expats:nationals compared to shopping at Chapala's Soriana.  At SMA's Bonanza market in SMA which carries a number of US imports, the ratio of expats:nationals is the same as what I see at Super Lake here.  In the most popular eateries in Centro SMA I find the expat:national ratio the same as Ajijic's.  

Yes there is a large weekend influx of nationals from CDMX to SMA but that is true at Lakeside with respect to weekend Tapatio visitors and the ratio is about the same given the population differences between Lakeside and SMA.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Ferret said:

They are different but I loved the nine years that we lived in SMA. If I was looking at it today for the first time, it would still be magical.

Very nice and well put together description Sonia. Thanks. Now, if you could mention what the internet speed is in various locations, it may excite a lot of people.

 

Please please, Too much excitement will cause heart failure for a significant number of Ajijic residents 

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I do not understand why people are so off re number of expats in SMA. For International Writer's Conference, International Tango festival etc yes more expats visiting but I am talking about those living here. And the large "organic" market on weekends is popular with expats and nationals. On weekends maybe 3% of the people you see in the jardine are expats. As to traffic on special weekends yes crowded but we are in centro almost daily including weekends as we take our daughter to math tutor and most of the time doable except when a parade. There are many routes in to centro. When in Ajijic I do find major traffic problems and faulty traffic signals. We have no traffic lights. :-)

http://www.soniadiaz.mx/san-miguel-de-allende.html

http://www.webcamsdemexico.com/webcam-san-miguel-de-allende

Internet speeds are all over the map. Many blocks around centro has new fibre optics and in the jardine and surrounding area free internet. Livetelecom for instance goes up to 20 mbps. 

The city has changed dramatically in 5 years. At one time for example many of the artists were mediocre producing what I call "tourist" art and now world class artists selling internationally. There is a link to some on my web site. People such as Michael Tolleson, Cathy Taylor and Marilo Carrilo plus many others are very talented and successful. Fabrica Aurrora has about 40 galleries, studios etc and there is a waiting list of many wanting to rent. 

La Luciernaga Mall (Soriano, Liverpool, etc) for years had several empty stores and only busy on Sundays. Now every space is occupied.

There are now many places where even on a Monday evening you see 18 to 30 year olds with friends having a beer, wings, burger. There has been a huge shift in those while not wealthy having affordable incomes. Rarely do we see people looking for work but rather offices, restaurants and construction sites often have help wanted signs.

I stress both areas are very different and each need to be explored. It is not a matter of one being better than the other but rather simply different with pluses and minuses. SMA has been very good to our family. My web site last month had 40070 views. I process more visas, INAPAM cards, Seguro Popular policies, driver's licenses than anyone here and I have learned much from my many clients. 

if you visit SMA pls let me know. I would enjoy meeting you.

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One of the things that Sonia didn't mention that I find a huge plus is.... entertainment!  There is often, not just a few times a year, world class entertainment at the theater and other venues. And the pricing/value is very reasonable for what one gets to see. And it is not just during 'high season'. If I lived there I would be dropping a lot of pesos going to see very good entertainment.

Sonia spoke of 'no traffic lights'. There are a few but wjat blew me away first time there several years ago was the fact that everyone at intersections downtown, even without stop signs on them, stopped to let the 'other senior/senora's car enter. And even taxis would stop and let one cross at intersecitons.... both in a car AND on foot. When I marveled about this to a 'young' business woman a few years ago she said to me, with sincerity and pride "it is our culture"!!  Don't get me wrong, there is a traffic problem there and it is not just downtown, and weekends are not for the faint of heart. And on any day one could lose their car and life at the traffic circle on the south end of town near La Comer (formerly Mega). Timid drivers will never get through that intersection!  But at the end of the day I don't find vehicle travel to be much more difficult than at Lakeside these days.

And with respect to good restaurants.... there is no contest. A little higher priced to be sure but.....

But on the other hand, air travel with hands down better at Lakeside due to the proximity to GDL.... both routes and pricing. The Queretaro airport 'near' SMA is getting better and Leon is good but both are farther away and more pricey and don't have near the connections that GDL has.

OK... I'm through.

 

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Sorry RickS and Sonia, it appears that I've run through my quota of "Likes" for the day. Kudos to both of you.

When RickS talks about entertainment, he's not kidding. From the great jazz that used to be performed at El Pueblo Viejo (still?) to the Chamber Music Festival to the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato to the excellent performances that take place at the Teatro Angela Peralta. Fabulous!

And, OMG, there's taxis at night!

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There are a number of good things about SMA, all of which are being mentioned.  However, for me with lung problems, staying was just not an option.  Staying alive and healthy is good.😉

One difference mentioned was the good restaurants there.  Yes, they are, but definitely higher priced. Unless that has changed,  accommodations such as hotels and B&B's are more expensive too.

Magic?  As with most things, YMMV.

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13 hours ago, Sonia said:

 

 

Pretty house. Nice video. Is this your own home for sale or a coincidence that it's "Casa de Campo Sonia"?

 

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