If you are considering owning a home near the beach, a Playa del Carmen home is certainly one of your top choices! Within the area of beachfront stretching south of Cancun past Playa del Carmen almost to Tulum, there are a number of home options. Here is an overview of some of the main ones.
While there are not many home options appealing to the expat community directly downtown (high-quality condos are much more common), it is worth mentioning the area, especially since there are a hand full of homes next to the north entrance of Playacar (a gated golf community) which are within walking distance, in addition to a few homes which have been well designed and built by local Mexicans. A home in this area is within easy walking distance to just about everything (supermarkets, little shops, restaurants, and a very happening tourist street – Fifth Avenue.) See "Fixer-Uppers" for another option.
Gated Golf Community
Like Playacar, most gated golf communities have wide, easy access roads, streets beautified by trees and plants, and very pleasant places to ride a bike or go for a walk. The beach is usually a short walk away. While they usually lack larger stores, they often include little conveniences within walking distance, such as convenience stores and maybe a pizza shop. These communities are clean, safe, quiet and pleasant.
Moving outside of town, around Puerto Morelos towards Cancun or around Akumal towards Tulum, there are small communities of beachfront homes available; some are available in Playacar Phase 1 as well, next to downtown. While they are definitely pricy, these Playa del Carmen homes provide beachfront lifestyle at its best; also a home with 3 or 4 bedrooms right on the beach (or even a short walk away) has huge potential for vacation rental, so you can earn an income to cover expenses or even more if you're not using the property all the time.
Homes that have a good base design and were well constructed, but have been somewhat neglected, are often sold for well below market value and can be brought up to normal resale value (or more) with a moderate investment, time often being more of a factor than money. Some are available in the downtown area (see above for the benefits of this location) and some buyers are turning to the traditionally working-class neighborhoods just north of downtown, which are still a short walk from the beach, and show promise of gentrifying as new hotel and condo developments appear along the beachfront in that area.
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