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Can I Own Land on the Beachfront? & Other Questions on Mexico Law


Thomas Lloyd,  Broker By Thomas Lloyd
2011-03-28

Perhaps while browsing the internet, you've found confusing and conflicting information about Mexico laws concerning foreign ownership of property. A professional Mexico real estate blog and other resources will help you find accurate and helpful information.

One of the most common concerns that arises is concerning the question of who can or can't own proeprty on Mexico's beachfront. You may have read that Mexico's constitution prohibits foreign ownership of property within 50 km (about 35 miles) of any beachfront, or 100 km (70 miles) from any foreign border.

How can real estate agencies be advertising beachfront for sale for foreign buyers, then? And what about the thousands upon thousands of Americans, Canadians and Europeans who own condos, homes and lots in this area? Is this a big, widespread fraud?

The answer is no. While it is true that the constitution does not allow for direct ownership, recent governments have realized the economic benefit of allowing foreigners to buy, invest in and own real estate in these high-demand areas.

Instead of changing the constitution, which would have been a very lengthy, complicated and delicate process, they introduced a new concept allowing foreigners to own property through a bank trust.

Officially, the bank becomes the owner of the property, and the trust makes the foreign buyer the first beneficiary of the property. The trust also gives the first beneficiary (i.e. the foreign buyer) full ownership privileges. The beneficiary can build, tear down, modify, sell (to anyone) and make profit off the property, restricted only local laws that apply to foreigners and citizens alike, as is the case in direct ownership, even back home.

The same property can be inherited by the first beneficiary's heir; inheritance actually becomes easier through this system since the bank trust designates this heir, streamlining the process. Bank trusts are usually valid for 50 years, and are renewable indefinitely.

The bank's role is simply to hold the title, so that the foreign buyer can enjoy all the rights of direct ownership without contradicting the constitution. Most banks in Mexico are foreign corporations, such as Scotiabank from Canada, or BBVA Bancomer from Spain, offer excellent service and are very reputable.

So, yes, foreigners can own beachfront safely and securely in Mexico.

Buyers should be sure to find reliable sources to ask a real estate question and receive accurate information.

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Region:  Playa del Carmen real estate.

Thomas Lloyd graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Management with a degree in Management/Financial Option Investments. He has been living, investing, and working professionally in Mexico for over 15 years. A Mexican Certified Realtor he is the current president of TOPmexicorealestate, you can contact him at (512) 879-6546.

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