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American developers in Baja

By ROBERT DONNELL, Baja Resort Advisors LLC
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
One of the changes in the Baja real estate market is the growing understanding of the wants and needs of the U.S. homebuyer. This subtle cultural shift is producing better and more appealing homes, a significant emphasis on attaining standards of excellence in construction and finishes, meeting the needs of even the most discriminating purchasers. This shift is drawing to the Baja peninsula U.S. developers that are building projects with a level of quality and attention to detail that you would expect in Newport Beach -- at a fraction of the price.
One of the companies excelling at bringing this transformation to market is Waterfront Villages. Their first Baja village: The nearly sold-out (75 percent) Las Ventanas is located in Puerto Nuevo south of Rosarito Beach.
"You can do business in Mexico if you follow the rules and understand the culture," said Stephan Erkelens of Waterfront Villages. "We have a great opportunity to blend the best that Mexico has to offer with the quality construction and finishes that Americans have come to expect."
As more and more Americans recognize the extraordinary values and appreciation potential of Baja real estate, demand continues to increase and the amount of available ocean front land for development continues to decrease. "Our customers buying at Las Ventanas today are purchasing homes for less than our cost to replace them," said Mike Shepard of Waterfront Villages. This is true for many high-end properties along the Gold Coast of Northern Baja, an area that encompasses the coastal corridor between Rosarito Beach and Ensenada.
The American dream of buying a beachfront home in a year-round outdoors climate just relocated to Baja. The driving factors behind the explosive growth in this market are the availability of U.S. financing with 30-year fixed rate loans and 80 percent loan-to-value, the introduction of U.S. title insurance offered by companies like Stewart Title and First American Title, and the sheer number of people who have discovered that they can own a home in Baja, among others. Of note is the fact that 97 percent of Americans do not know that it is possible to own real estate in Mexico. Buyers who have done their homework fully comprehend that Americans can own land in Mexico safely using a bank trust. U.S. nationals in growing numbers are leveraging this knowledge and applying it toward wise purchases in one of the hottest real estate markets around.
"We continue to invest in Northern Baja," said Erkelens. "Our company is in the planning and design stages of its next series of signature villages targeting the American buyer. We are confident in Mexico and are very enthusiastic about developing destinations Americans can drive to. There are over 20 million people within driving distance of the Waterfront Villages developments, which make this is a central part of our marketing strategy.
"Baby-boomers are looking for vacation properties that are closer to home, they want the freedom to just hop in their cars and escape to their private sanctuary, and we want to make sure we are at the forefront of developing the opportunities for them."
Published Saturday, March 3, 2007 9:54 AM by Kanoa Biondolillo

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