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ABSOLUTE gUIDE sERIES to Investment Property

Mexico


A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

Date of Publication: November 2008 © Obelisk 2


ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Contents 5. Welcome to Mexico

Dedicated to providing impartial information.

6. Economic Growth & Stability

Mexico is the strongest economy in Latin America.

14 - 15. Secondary Market Mexico is a top retirement destination for North Americans.

7. Currency & Banking

Mexico’s financial system operates through the Central Bank.

16. Mortgage Market

Mexico’s mortgage market is developing.

8. Foreign Investment

North American investors rate Mexico as the 10 most th

favourable destination for FDI.

9. Political Situation & Stability

17. Market Risks

Mexico presents some issues for foreign investors.

18. Purchase Process

Buyers in coastal areas may only purchase through a

A democratic republic, Mexico is politically stable.

Mexican Property Trust.

10. Tourism

19. Investment Costs

The World Tourism Organisation ranks Mexico 8th among the world’s top destinations.

11. Infrastructure

The National Programme for Infrastructure has a budget of US$240 billion between 2007 and 2012.

12 - 13. Property Market

Holiday home prices increased by 8.7% annually from 2002 to 2007.

Capital gains tax is levied at the flat rate of 28%.

20. Summary

The Mexican property market is thriving.

21. Verdict

Mexico has potential, but is perhaps not the best option in the area for property investment.

22. Obelisk Advantage Obelisk approaches its projects purely from an investment perspective.

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

Cuidad Juarez Guaymas/ San Carlos

Chihuahua

Loreto Los Cabo

Monterrey La Paz Mazatlan Guadalajara

Merida

Mexico City Zihuatanejo Acapulco

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Veracruz Oaxaca

Cancun


ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Mexico forms part of the Obelisk Absolute Guide Series, dedicated to providing impartial information to numerous property investment destinations worldwide.

Welcome

to Mexico

As the market leader for overseas investment property,

with in-depth, clear-cut knowledge on the most important

we are committed to providing cutting edge information

factors influencing your property investment decision in

for property investors, one aspect that has earned us the

Mexico.

award of International Property Specialist 2008 by Business Britain magazine.

In this guide you will find recent economic performance and predicted growth, a profile of the current property

We are therefore pleased to present our latest Property

market and its future potential, along with tourism trends

Investment Guide to Mexico, an essential tool for the

and infrastructure improvements. The guide also includes

investor planning to buy property in this country. This guide forms part of the Obelisk Absolute Guide Series,

information about Mexico’s mortgage market, the buying process and buying costs.

dedicated to providing impartial information about numerous investment destinations worldwide.

Obelisk’s Absolute Guide to Mexico offers investors objective and authoritative information to facilitate an

At Obelisk, we are only too aware of the importance of

informed decision about investing in Mexico. We trust

extensive research into an investment destination and, as

that you, as an investor, will find this guide indispensable.

part of our policy to offer investors the definitive service, this guide has been rigorously researched to provide you

Here’s to Successful Investing!

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

GDP Growth (forecast 2008): 2.3% GDP Per Capita (2007): US$12,381 Inflation (forecast 2008): 7.1% Unemployment (Sept 2008): 4.25%

Economic Growth

& Stability The Mexican economy has seen impressive growth over

forecasting a year-end inflation level of 7.1% for 2008,

the last few years and is currently the strongest economy

with a lower rate of 5% for 2009. The unemployment

in Latin America. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers

rate, on the other hand, is low at 4.25% in September

‘The World in 2050’, Mexico forms part of the

2008, slightly higher than a year earlier when unem-

‘Emerging 7 (E7)’ economies, which are forecast by

ployment registered 3.9%.

2050 to be around 50% larger than the current G7 countries.

Mexico has investment grade status with a rating of BBB+ by Standard & Poor’s, indicating the country as

Mexico is hugely dependent on the US economy, which

a medium class borrower, which is satisfactory at the

is the recipient of 80% of Mexican exports. The recent

moment.

downturn in the US economy has led to a decrease in Mexican GDP growth. The Economist predicts 2.3% growth during 2008, but a decrease to 1.6% in 2009 before the economy recovers to 3% growth in 2010.

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ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Currency

& Banking Mexico’s currency is the peso (MXN), which is generally strong, although in 2008, the peso weakened considerably against the US dollar and euro. Mexico’s financial system operates through the Central Bank, Banco de México, an independent entity that supervises all banking activity in the country. The Mexican banking system is privately owned and managed, although foreign investment is permitted and US banks have a large presence in Mexico. The Savings Protection Law (Ley de Protección al Ahorro Bancario) was introduced in 2008 to reduce the risk of a banking crisis. Interest rates in Mexico are currently 8.25%.

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Foreign Companies Investing in Mexico Airbus, Burton’s Food Ltd, Chrysler, EcoSecurities, General Motors, Nissan, Wal-Mart

Foreign Investment Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over 40

According to the AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index 2007,

countries and is the only country to cover 2 of the world’s

Mexico ranks in 19th place in the top 25 countries for

most important markets, North America and the EU. A

foreign investment. North American investors rate Mexico

founder member of the North American Free Trade

as the 10th most favourable destination for FDI. Among the

Agreement (NAFTA), the Mexican economy relies heavily

countries studied in the KPMG ‘Guide to International

on the US for its foreign trade.

Business Locations 2008: Comparative Alternatives’, Mexico represented the lowest-cost country for business and

More than 30,000 foreign companies are present in

is the first emerging industrialised country to be included in

Mexico where in 2007, foreign direct investment (FDI) was

the guide.

US$23.2 billion, a 20.8% increase on 2006 and the highest level since 2001. The manufacturing sector accounts for nearly half of FDI (48%) with financial services representing the 2nd largest sector (24.5%). One of Mexico’s largest industries is the automobile industry, which employs around 520,000 people directly and Mexico is the 11th largest car producer in the world.

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ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IE S - M EXI CO

NATFA Member: Since 1994 OECD Member: Since 1994 WTO Member: Since 1995 Political System: Democratic Republic Ruling Party: Partido Acci贸n Nacional (PAN) Next General Election: 2012

Political Situation

& Stability Mexico is a democratic republic and is generally politically stable. The political system was traditionally dominated by one party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which ruled between 1929 and 2000. The victory in 2000 of the current centre-right ruling party, the Partido Acci贸n Nacional (PAN), marked a milestone for pluralism in Mexican politics and the PAN introduced political and economic reforms, which although effective, have been slow to move forward. Mexico positively encourages foreign investment and both federal and state governments offer a number of incentives for companies planning to invest in the country. These include tax exemptions, training, and preferential property positions. A member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mexico is the only Latin American member of the OECD.

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Visitor Numbers: (Jan-July 2008): 11.5 million Tourism Contribution to GDP: 4.8% Tourism Contribution to Employment: 14.3%

Tourism Ranked 10th in the world in terms of absolute size for tourism by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Mexico’s Travel and Tourist Industry contributes 4.8% to the country’s GDP (2008), the equivalent of nearly MXN500 billion (US$36.9 billion), and provides employment for 1.43% of the working population. According to the WTTC, tourism in Mexico is expected to grow by 4.4% annually between 2009 and 2018. The World Tourism Organisation ranks Mexico in 8th place in the world’s top tourist destinations and in 2007, 21.4 million tourists visited Mexico. Figures are expected to be higher for 2008 and according to the government, visitor figures for the period January to July 2008 were 11.5 million, a 7% increase on the same period in the previous year. 23 million tourists are forecast to visit Mexico during 2008. In 2007, the Mexican government introduced the National Development Plan 2007-2012, which aims to attract US$20,000 million in private investment for the development of new tourist centres in Puerto Peñasco (in the north west), Cancún and the Riviera Maya, both on the Yucatán Peninsula.

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World Ranking: 10/176 (in terms of absolute size)


ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Infrastructure Total infrastructure investment of US$240 billion from 2007 to 2012 US$27 billion for road construction and improvement US$5.6 billion for 3 new airports and the expansion of 31 existing airports US$27 billion in telecommunication infrastructure With the aim of improving Mexico’s competitiveness as a

of US$27 billion and the government plans to build or

destination for FDI, the government has recently approved

upgrade over 17,500 km of main roads and rural roads

massive infrastructure investment. The National Programme

by 2012.

for Infrastructure (2007-2012) has allocated a total of US$240 billion and aims to convert Mexico into one of

An additional 1,418 km of railway line will be constructed

the world’s main logistical platforms as well as improve

and the first stage of the suburban railway will be

development in the centre, south and south east of the

completed in the metropolitan area of the Valley of Mexico

country.

(including Mexico City and suburbs). A budget of US$5.6 billion has been allocated for 3 new airports at Riviera

The National Programme has several objectives, which

Maya, Ensenada and Mar de Cortés (both in north west

include improving road, railway, airport and tourist

Mexico) and for the expansion of 31 existing airports.

infrastructure. Roads have been allocated an investment

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

18,000 second homes were sold in Mexico in 2007, a 50% increase on 2006 and a massive rise from the 1,000 units sold in 2002. Capital Growth (2007): 8.7% Average Annual Rental Yield: 6% to 8%

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ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Property

Market

Although Mexico is a relatively new arrival on the

reports that 18,000 second homes were sold in Mexico in

investment radar for European investors, the country has

2007, a 50% increase on 2006 and a massive rise from

long been a favourite among North American property

the 1,000 units sold in 2002. Sales are expected to rise to

buyers with Canadian and US investors exercising a virtual

63,000 units by 2015. Also according to Softec, holiday

monopoly on Mexico’s best locations and developments for

home prices increased by 8.7% annually from 2002 to

property investment.

2007.

Mexico’s tourism trust, Fonatur, promotes tourism and

In the Jones Lang LaSalle Real Estate Transparency Index

development along Mexico’s 9,000 km of coastline. Recent

2008, Mexico lies in 38th position within the ‘semi-

areas earmarked for new property development include the

transparent’ bracket, a ranking that has improved slightly

Pacific coast north of Acapulco around the resorts of Ixtapa

since the 2006 Transparency Index. According to the index,

and Zihuatanejo, the Riviera Maya and Cancún on the

Mexico has introduced measures to increase transparency

Yucatán Peninsula, and the Baja California Peninsula.

within its property market such as regulations to promote infrastructure and real estate investment funds known as

Mexico issues no official statistics regarding the private

FIBRAS, similar to the real estate investment trusts (REITs)

property market. However, several indications point to a

in the US.

thriving market. The property consultancy agency, Softec,

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

Secondary

Market

In recent years, Mexico has become an increasingly

magazine International Living rated Mexico as the best

popular destination with second home buyers from the

place in the world to retire.

US and Canada, and Mexico currently has a flourishing resale market. According to the foreign

A booming tourist industry has led to high demand for

exchange services provider, HiFX, 32% of clients

holiday accommodation and rentals are also required by

buying in Mexico are Canadian. Property analysts

many foreign retirees who prefer to rent rather than buy.

expect heightened interest from Canadian and US buyers

Annual rental yields vary depending on the region, but

in the Mexican market due to the recent weakening of the

an apartment in the Baja California Peninsula can expect

peso against the US dollar.

to achieve between 6% and almost 8% a year, while a property on the YucatĂĄn Peninsula earns in the region of

Mexico is hugely popular with US and Canadian retirees, giving a major boost to the country’s secondary market potential. It is estimated that of the 1 million US citizens who have retired abroad, 25% have made Mexico their home. In 2007, the online

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8% annually.


ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Mexico is hugely popular with US and Canadian retirees, giving a major boost to the country’s secondary market potential.

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Mortgage

Market Mexico’s housing loan sector has had a chequered history. During the early 1990’s, the banking industry was privatised, a move that led to a rapid growth in mortgage loans. However, the so-called ‘Tequila Crisis’ in 1994 saw the near collapse of the banking sector and, consequently, mortgages. Since 2001, the Mexican government has developed the framework for mortgages and the market has improved greatly. According to the Mexican Association of Professional Estate Agents (AMPI), the mortgage market represents MXN5 billion (US$369 million) a year and is experiencing annual growth of 40%. Despite recent improvements, the Mexican mortgage market remains relatively undeveloped and there is not the choice of mortgage products available in countries such as the UK and US. Mortgages are available for non-residents on a capital repayment basis only, although many foreign buyers take out a housing loan with a foreign bank. According to AMPI, 8 out of 10 mortgage loans taken out by foreigners in Mexico are issued by foreign banks or lenders.

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ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Property investment in Mexico presents some problems and should be approached with caution.

Market

Risks

Property investment into emerging markets may carry

in Mexico when a high number of murders occurred.

some degree of risk. However, the degree that market

Although attacks are not aimed at tourists or foreigners,

risk in a particular country affects a property investment

foreign residents and visitors have numbered among the

depends largely on thorough due diligence conducted

victims. Foreign embassies advise foreigners to avoid

prior and during the purchase process.

certain areas, for example, the US border states.

Property investment in Mexico presents some problems

Issues affecting foreign ownership also form part of

and should be approached with caution. Several areas

Mexico’s market risks and it is essential that you take

of Mexico are prone to natural disasters such as

expert legal advice. There are no requirements for estate

earthquakes and hurricanes. Most of the country is

agents to be licensed and there have been reports of

subject to earth tremors, with Oaxaca state being the

agents taking commission or payments for property and

most prone. The hurricane season affects the Atlantic and

then disappearing.

Pacific coasts, and runs from June to November. These problems can be avoided by investing in quality

Under-reporting of property values (i.e. stating a lower

construction, preferably built to withstand possible

price on the title deeds than the real price to avoid taxes)

damage.

is still relatively common. However, the Mexican government has introduced measures to curb this practice

In 2008, drug-related violence increased markedly

and penalties are high.

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

Purchase Process Mexican laws and legal processes may be very different from what you are used to and Obelisk strongly recommends that independent legal advice be taken during a property purchase.

Below is the standard purchase process in Mexico and issues that may affect a property purchase: Foreigners are permitted to buy property in Mexico, although ownership of property within 96km of an international border or 48km of the coastline is prohibited. Leasehold ownership is possible through a Mexican Property Trust (fideicomiso). This gives the buyer full rights of ownership for 50 years, renewable indefinitely. A permit is issued by the Mexican Foreign Office to a Mexican bank of your choice, which acts as the trustee for the Property Trust. The buyer’s legal representative obtains a certificate stating the property’s official number and a cadastral plan of the property from the Public Registry of Property. The Notary Public obtains a certificate stating the property is free of encumbrances. The purchase agreement is formalised in the presence of a Notary Public who issues new title deeds. The buyer and vendor pay their taxes to the notary who, in turn, pays them to the appropriate authorities. The new title deeds are registered at the state Public Registry of Property.

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ABSO LUTE GUID E SE R IES - M EXI CO

Investment Costs Mexican taxation is complex and subject to change. You are therefore recommended to take expert and up-to-date advice on taxation issues affecting the purchase and ownership of property in Mexico.

The costs of a standard property purchase in Mexico may include the following: Acquisition Tax (impuesto sobre adquisiones o transmisi贸n de dominio), paid on a sliding scale (based on a percentage plus fixed fee) depending on the price of the property. Tax averages are between 2% and 3% of the purchase price. Notary Fees are calculated according to a sliding scale based on a percentage of the property price. Notary fees vary from state to state. If buying in a restricted area, costs of setting up a bank trust, which can range from US$500 to US$1,500 and an annual payment of around US$300 to US$500. Rental income is taxed as income tax and at progressive rates up to 28%. Capital gains tax (CGT) is payable on profits made from the sale of a property and are adjusted for inflation (based on the number of years the asset had been held). CGT is levied at 28% and must be paid by the seller when the title deeds are formalised. Profits from a principal residence are exempt from CGT provided the seller has lived in the property for 2 years prior to the sale. There is no inheritance tax in Mexico.

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

Summary The following summary provides key highlights to consider when investing in Mexico’s property market: Hugely dependent on the US economy, Mexico’s

Mexico is an increasingly popular investment

GDP growth is predicted to be 2.3% in 2008.

destination with North Americans.

Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over

The Mexican mortgage market is developing

40 countries

and most foreign investors prefer to take out a loan with a foreign bank or lender.

Around 30,000 foreign companies are present in Mexico where FDI in 2007 was US$23.2

The mortgage market is limited and only 2% of

billion.

property purchases are made with a mortgage.

Mexico positively encourages foreign investment

Market risks include natural disasters, violence

and there are numerous incentives.

in certain areas, and issues regarding under-reporting of property prices.

Tourism is expected to grow by 4.4% annually between 2009 and 2018.

Property ownership in coastal areas is only permitted through a Mexican Property Trust.

The National Programme for Infrastructure (2007-2012) has an allocated budget of

Investment costs are high, particularly capital

US$240 billion and aims to convert Mexico into

gains tax.

one of the world’s main logistical platforms. Sales of second homes saw an increase of 50% during 2006 and prices have risen 8.7% annually since 2002.

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The Absolute Guide Series Rating

Based on our extensive research, Obelisk has introduced a 5 star rating system to summarise the investment potential of a country. The availability of finance, economic stability, political stability, the strength of the local market to provide an exit strategy and the potential to earn from investment are the key criteria that determine the investment grade of each country.

Verdict Mexico is a relatively unknown investment destination for European property investors. However, US and Canadian buyers are seasoned investors in the Mexican market. The existence of certain issues surrounding property ownership such as the leasehold-only option (fideicomiso) in coastal and border regions means that Mexico is a property investment destination to approach with caution. Mexican property attracts relatively high investment costs, particularly capital gains tax. This tax, levied at a flat rate of 28%, makes exit costs high and means that property investment in Mexico should be regarded as a long-term strategy (at least 5 years) to allow the investor time to recoup initial costs and allow for capital gains costs. Based on extensive research that we have carried out in Mexico, we at Obelisk believe that, although Mexico does represent some good opportunities for property investment, there are some risks to be considered and caution needs to be taken when choosing a location to invest in.

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A BSO LUT E G UI DE SE R IES - M EX IC O

Obelisk

Awards Obelisk ‘International Property Specialist 2008’

Advantage

Voted International Property Specialist of the Year 2008 by Business Britain magazine, Obelisk has been recognised as the authoritative voice within the industry and its clients benefit from the company’s uncompromising high standards and professionalism. Obelisk has identified a simple and transparant purchase process for its clients as a simple, four step process: 1.

The client chooses and reserves the unit that best suits their investment requirements, and Obelisk takes the client through a compliance procedure.

2.

An independent lawyer, sourced and appointed for the client by Obelisk, will have already carried out full due diligence on the project. They will issue all purchase contracts and paperwork to the client.

3.

On receipt of this contract, the client will sign and make the first payment. The lawyer will notify the client of all further payments when required.

4.

The appointed lawyer will also represent the client in all aspects legally required within the country of purchase, ensuring that clients of Obelisk enjoy the benefits of simple and hassle-free real estate investment.

For more information about Obelisk’s investment opportunities in Mexico, contact us now on info@obeliskinternational.com, visit our website at www.obeliskinternational.com or call us FREE on 0808 160 0670 (UK) or 1800 932 514 (IRE).

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Disclaimer The material contained within this document has been prepared for information purposes only. Information contained herein is not to be relied upon as a basis of any contract or commitment. The information is not to be construed as an offer, invitation or solicitation to invest and opinions expressed are based on market conditions at the time of print and may be subject to change without prior notice. Information contained herein is believed to be correct, but cannot be guaranteed. In case of queries or doubt you should consult an independent investment adviser. No personal recommendation is being made to you and the past is not necessarily a guide to the future. The brochure in its entirety – text, images, marks, graphics, logos, buttons, combinations of colours, and the structure, selection, ordering and presentation of its content – is protected by the legislation on intellectual and industrial property, it being forbidden to reproduce, distribute, publicly disseminate or transform it, except for personal private use. It is also forbidden to reproduce, relay, copy, assign or broadcast, in whole or in part, the information contained in this brochure, for whatever purpose and by whatever means, without written consent.

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Call us free from UK: Tel. 0808 160 0670 Call us free from Eire: Tel. 1800 932 514 For general and international enquiries contact us at: Tel: (0034) 952 820 319 Fax: (0034) 952 825 790 Alternatively you can email: info@obeliskinternational.com or visit: www.obeliskinternational.com


Mexico Investment Guide