San Miguel de Allende, located about a three-hour drive from Mexico City at 6,135 feet above sea level in the state of Guanajuato, is a top destination for American retirees. COVID has only increased this gem of a city’s desirability. These expats travel for a mild climate, five-star restaurants, accessible art and culture, baroque / neoclassical colonial architecture, and a reasonable cost of living. History and culture are deeply rooted in San Miguel de Allende. Part of the old colonial town is recognized by UNESCO as a prestigious World Heritage Site.
After a four-month lull, when many offices and businesses in the San Miguel de Allende area closed due to COVID, residential sales resumed in September. “We started to see buyers rewrite offers starting in September with closings in October and November,” says Ann Dolan, specialist in luxury real estate in CDR San Miguel, the leader in luxury real estate brokerage in San Miguel de Allende.
The region, which has a population of nearly 170,000, attracts residents from all over the world, adding the sophistication of large cities and a united community. “We have 63 nationalities living in San Miguel de Allende. People come here for the five Cs, including culture, community, climate, cost of living and low crime rate, ”says Dolan.
“Now we are very busy because the valued properties on the market are selling quickly because the buyers have come back. We expect this to be the best year ever for sales, ”observes Dolan.
Jim Dolan, broker and co-owner of CDR San Miguel, explains that sales are usually made in cash because there are no mortgages available to foreigners. Sometimes sellers can take out short-term financing. The result: Trades go to close in about 30 to 45 days. Buyers are required to deposit 10 percent in cash into an escrow account, with the remainder due three to five days before closing.
The good news for buyers is that the San Miguel de Allende market does not operate at a breakneck pace like California, where multiple bids and bidding wars have become the norm. There is a mix of unique properties, from Centro Haciendas to large ranches, wineries and equestrian estates located just minutes from San Miguel de Allende.
Jim Dolan, who spent his career in the military before entering real estate, succinctly describes the current market: “Our luxury industry starts around $ 750,000. While the median home price is $ 500,000. The sweet spot is around $ 1 to $ 1.5 million. Most homes are sold with the furniture included. First-time buyers want Centro, the historic center of San Miguel de Allende, so they can walk to the city’s main square. Then, after a few years, they often decide to buy a ranch, horse, or wine property. “
The region also has a strong community of polo and show jumping players. For some buyers, a home in San Miguel de Allende may be their third or fourth property.
The Dolans have made San Miguel de Allende their home since 1996, selling luxury properties to Americans, Europeans and Mexican nationals. American buyers, especially Californians, are finding out how far their US dollars go in San Miguel de Allende. Consider the current buyer demographics, where 60% of buyers are foreigners and half are US citizens. With non-stop flights to two international airports from major US hubs such as Dallas, Los Angles, San Francisco, and Atlanta, it’s no surprise that buyers come from these US cities. Houston and Chicago airports also offer direct flights to the area.
Tom and Tina White of Asheville, NC recently purchased a beautiful courtyard style home in the San Miguel de Allende neighborhood of Allende for $ 625,000.
“It was a huge surprise that we bought a house. We have been visiting there for several years and enjoy everything about San Miguel de Allende. Last winter we decided that I would look at houses. We ended up buying the first house I saw after looking. with many, ”says White, who is retired.
For now, the couple plan to “bounce back” between Ashville and San Miguel de Allende. “We plan to rent it maybe ten weeks a year to people we know. This will cover our annual expenses, ”notes White.
Along with a reasonable cost of living, property taxes in San Miguel de Allende are much lower than you might find in the United States. For example, a house sold for $ 3 million in San Miguel de Allende would have an annual property tax of $ 2,500 – virtually pennies on the dollar compared to California and other states with high property taxes.
For $ 2.6 million (the price of a teardown from Los Angeles) is Casa Barranca. Located on one of Centro’s most desirable streets, this large 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom house features extensive gardens, a swimming pool and panoramic city views.
There is a good inventory for well under a million in many of the nicer areas of San Miguel de Allende. For $ 589,000 is Casa Enclave, located in a private enclave of three residences. Owners enjoy a swimming pool and rooftop terrace with city views in this two bedroom, two bathroom house with covered loggia, enjoying the indoor-outdoor lifestyle of San Miguel de Allende.
Look for sustained business activity to continue as Americans redefine their retirement in San Miguel de Allende.
CDR San Miguel is an exclusive member of Global Forbes Properties, a consumer market and a network of elite brokerage members selling the world’s most luxurious homes.