News / Americas

Mexico Attracts US Retirees Despite Crime Wave

A Mexican beach
A Mexican beach

Multimedia

Some 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico over the past five years as the Latin American country's police and military battle powerful drug cartels that are also fighting with each other over smuggling routes. In spite of the dire headlines, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens vacation in Mexico every year and many of them, especially those who are retired, have opted to buy property and live there. The warm weather and the lower cost of living are big draws.

News from Mexico these days tends to be bad.

Shootouts and grisly murders dominate media reports.


But some Americans are moving to Mexico looking for peace and relaxation.

Michael Baldwin and Stephanie Villareal spoke to VOA via Skype from their home near the tip of Mexico's Baja peninsula.

“We have been here almost a year now. We came from Houston, Texas. We came down temporarily last summer and made the decision to make it permanent and we actually drove from Houston to Cabo San Lucas,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin says they love the natural beauty and mild climate and that their improved lifestyle has also saved them money.

“Houston versus Cabo, our expenses have been reduced by about 30 percent,” he said.

Villareal says they also enjoy interacting with local people in a place where they have noticed very little crime.

“We have lots of friends, they are very welcoming and that is one of our favorite parts of living here is the people,” she said.

While resort areas have generally remained peaceful. other parts of Mexico have turned into war zones.

The U.S. State Department notes violent incidents in 14 of Mexico's 31 states.

But Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, chief operating officer of Mexico's Tourism Board, says the report does not take into account the vast areas untouched by major crime.

“Out of the 2,500 municipalities we have in Mexico, the equivalent of your counties in America, 80 of those have witnessed episodes of violence,” Lopez-Negrete said.

He says U.S. citizens living in the principal resort areas provide their own vote of confidence. "In the major time-share developments, the major fractional developments or full ownership, more than half of those purchases are from Americans," Lopez-Negrete said.

In Houston, Chris Hill works with the Mexico Real Estate Coalition to help promote property purchases south of the border.

He says activity has slowed in the past few years, partly because of the recession, but also because of news reports about violence that is generally not near tourist zones.

“All of these crime-related stories that we are hearing, drug-related, they have very little impact on a tourist or someone going to live in Mexico," Hill said.

Another concern for many home buyers from the United States is the legal process and the security of their investment in a foreign country.

Hill says new procedures and legal guarantees make real estate investment in Mexico safer and easier. “If you use the tools, there is very little risk, just as purchasing a property here in the U.S," Hill said.

The Mexican constitution prohibits foreigners from owning property within 50 kilometers from the coast.

But foreigners can enjoy ownership privileges of a beachside home by purchasing part of a Mexican "real estate trust" through which they own a home indirectly.

Chris Hill says Mexico provides a great opportunity for aging baby boomers in the United States to live better on their retirement funds.

“We believe that, long term, Mexico is going to be a wonderful opportunity for retirees to live the cost of medical services and health-related issues, but also the overall cost of living in Mexico is far lower,” Hill said.

And many Americans now living full time or even just part of the year in Mexico have found that to be true.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Police Investigate Police Link in Shooting Deaths of US Siblings

Deaths of Erica Alvarado Rivera, her brothers and boyfriend as they traveled to visit family is third high-profile case in recent months that links security forces to extrajudicial killings
More

Lawmaker Blasts US Participation in Cuba Ebola Meeting

Mario Diaz-Balart said ALBA, which chaired the meeting, 'was created solely to oppose US interests' and US participation was 'ludicrous'
More

US Coast Guard Rescues 33 Cubans at Sea

Because the overloaded boat did not make landfall, those rescued will be returned to Cuba
More

Western Experts Increasingly Fear Lone Wolf Terror Attacks

Slaying and assault on Canada's parliament building was followed by a hatchet attack on two New York City policemen
More

Search Underway at New Site in Mexico Missing Students Case

This week marked one month since the students went missing after clashing with police in mysterious circumstances
More

Public Transport in Latin America, Asia Most Dangerous for Women

Thousands of women and gender experts were questioned to create the listing
More