With the incredibly fine winter climate, proximity to the US and Canada, and the amenities offered, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has long been recognized as a great resort destination as well as retirement haven for North Americans.
Beginning early in the 21st century, Vallarta, as with many other resort destinations, began an explosive period of growth.
Developers from around the world flocked to Vallarta in order to cash in on the baby boomer retirement plans.
Within a short period of time, most of the finest beach front and hillside properties were snatched up and planning began in earnest.
Tower cranes were erected, dotting the skyline throughout the city, and construction workers from neighboring states rushed to the area for employment.
As soon as the above projects were announced, the developers threw up beautiful sales offices and prepared for the land rush. These nice, spacious, air conditioned offices typically had comfortable lounge areas with new furnishings, pretty magazines, sometimes piped in music and perhaps a few free margaritas. They were typically staffed with English speaking, well dressed, experienced, professional sales personnel. Most of these new offices had multiple sales cubicles with the capability of negotiating two or three contracts at a time; some even had counters where the buyers could get in line to wait their turn for such a unique opportunity to own a piece of Paradise. Granted, it never quite reached the point that it did in Florida, where they were holding lotteries and drawing lucky buyer numbers out of a hat!
During the first few years of the decade, the North Americans were grabbing up the new condos at such a torrid pace that many of the construction projects were 30%, or more, sold out before they even broke ground. Pre-construction pricing of 10-20% off their suggested list price was frequently offered to owners of condos previously built by the developer. After all, these privileged speculators had earned the right to have the first chance to scoop up the most desirable condos at what seemed to be reasonable prices; few could afford to pass up such a no-brainer investment opportunity!
Meanwhile, as the tower cranes started whirling around and the thousands of construction workers, looking like a huge colony of ants, began their construction, the beautiful buildings started coming to reality. Money was flying in every direction and it seemed as though everyone that came to town had an extra half a million dollars to spare for their retirement dream residence. Of course, during those years, re-financing and second mortgages on North American real estate with highly inflated values was commonplace; the herd had a feeling of easy money and never ending wealth!
With the herd of somewhat naive buyers in town, the question was never whether or not they should buy a condo; it was which condo they should buy. They were virtually knocking down every real estate office door in town (approximately 80 in the area at its peak!); it was definitely a seller’s market. The developers would usually negotiate 5-10% off list price in order to give the buyer a sense of satisfaction that they had received a good deal, still leaving the developer with a substantial profit margin; everyone was happy as the good times rolled on!
By the middle of the decade, the local real estate market was humming on all cylinders and new projects were being announced almost daily. The Mexican Tourism Board announced plans for developing a new 20 mile stretch of beaches north of Vallarta and planning was underway for another 20,000 new condos. Obviously, as long as the stampede continued, they would continue building and prices would continue to escalate, resulting in a tripling of real estate values during a short 7 year period of time, i.e. the old rule of supply and demand was in full force; keep coming and we’ll keep building!
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