The Insider's Guide To Lake Chapala Real Estate, 2022
What's the real estate market like in Lake Chapala? Is it still affordable? Is it a buyers or sellers market? You'll find out the answers to these questions and more in this in-depth look at the market. We'll explain what the market is like today and have a look over the past few years to better understand how we got to where we are today.
2022 is a full on Sellers Market. Why? In a word, Inventory. Inventory levels are crushed right now to all time low levels. As of this writing, only 276 residential properties are currently “for sale” on the MLS (www.chapalamls.net) and many of these are new condominium “high rise” units or pre-sale new construction. Historically, inventory levels were in the 550-600 units, so you can see, we are are half or less of historic averages.
How did we get here? To understand things better, it is important to note that this has not occurred overnight. The real estate “boom” did not start here until the fall/winter of 2016/17. Starting then, we saw a huge increase in demand, forcing levels down to 300 units and the pressure has stayed on since then. Covid brought some relief to the market and inventory climbed to low to mid 400's, but with the return to normalcy, the market has again taken off through the later part of 2021 and into 2022.
What we are seeing now as of mid 2022 is not only high demand, but there is a distinct lack of resales coming on the market exacerbating the already existing problem of low inventory. It seems that the people living here now are very happy to stay and are not going back.
When the real estate market went crazy in 2017, developers started doing what they always have been doing, developing. But due to the long construction times and the fact that homes here are built literally by hand, wheelbarrow and bucket, we didn't start to see new homes come on the market until the 2nd half of 2018. Larger gated developments with in-ground infrastructure, or “high rise” apartment buildings, took much longer, and we are only now seeing the completion and pre-sale of those units.
As our MLS does not distinguish between these units and existing independent homes, or homes in existing sub-divisions, the 276 number over exaggerates the actual amount of homes available for sale and ready to move into right now.
What has this done to prices? Well, obviously they have risen. Overall, (again without MLS statistics as we have none), roughly a 50% increase since the beginning of 2017.
Is Lake Chapala still affordable? Can I still make a purchase or am I priced out the market? A lot of this will depend on what you want and where you want to be. Homes west and east of the core areas (San Antonio, La Floresta, and Ajijic village) are still affordable and nice homes (both new and pre-owned) can still be purchased in the high $100,000's to $250,000. Given that real estate markets in the U.S and Canada have gone up exponentially over the last several decades, Lake Chapala is still a bargain.
Remember that homes away from the coast and from the U.S border are sold as deeded properties, just like you purchase in the U.S and Canada. Therefore, can be Willed to your children or other family members.
Also know that upon purchasing a home, you will be signing “permits” which treat you as a Mexican Citizen when it comes to property rights in Mexico.
So, purchasing property in Lake Chapala is not scary or in any way a risk, and even though property values have risen in the past 5 years, it is still a very small increment considering that the previous 10 years prior to 2016, there was no increase.
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