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Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Road in Ajijic with flowers bloomingLike any place in the world with which I’m acquainted, the cost for land is largely a function of location.  You’ll pay more around golf courses, places with incredible views, the better fraccionamientos (housing developments), and places around more desirable locations, like the center of Ajijic.
 
That said, the prices for raw land may surprise you, given how inexpensive so many other items are here in the Lake Chapala / Ajijic area, including how relatively inexpensive it is to do construction.  There are several reasons for this, including that there isn’t that much raw land left in the area, and Mexicans tend to hold onto the land they own longer than most from the US or Canada.  Reasons for this include that most of their land has no mortgage on it so they aren’t forced to sell if they can’t make the payments (because there are no payments), much of the land is owned by families who are unlikely to get together to make a sell decision, and property tax is so very low that the cost to carry the land for years is not a significant financial burden.
 
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Real estate agents will tend to quote you prices in US dollars per square meter, so you may hear that a lot costs “one hundred dollars per meter.”  Given that 1,000 square meters is about a quarter of an acre, a quarter acre lot this price will cost you US $100,000.  Believe it or not, this is not an unusual price at Lakeside.  Prices in the actual village of Ajijic may reach $200 per meter or more, and the lots may be only 500 meters, so in this case, an eighth of an acre may cost $100,000.
 
You can buy land for less in the less desirable areas, or if you make a purchase of a very large lot, but $100 per square meter is a good starting point. 
 
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Roberto Millan of Roberto Millan Design and Construction – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House in a development with a cobblestone street, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Chapala and Ajijic, the cost to buy land or a lot will depend on the "fraccionamiento" (“small housing development” in Spanish). In a fraccionamiento where the streets and sidewalks are not paved or with some pebble pavement, in Riberas del Pilar for example, you can find lots for US $100 to $130 per square meter (US $100,000 to $130,000 per quarter acre). 
 
In the better developed areas like in La Floresta, which is very good, the lots are around $300 to $350 per square meter ($300,000 to $350,000 per quarter acre); in Chula Vista Norte, the cost is about the same at $300 per square meter; and in Raquet Club, the cost is between $200 to $250 per square meter ($200,000 to $250,000 per quarter acre). 
 
Chula Vista Norte is on the hills so you must prepare the land. You may need to spend more money because the lot is sloping and you have to put a retainer wall, which is the better way to do it. 
 
The retail market in Chapala and Ajijic is priced in dollars. Some properties and houses will be priced in pesos, but most are priced in dollars.
 
(House in a development with a cobblestone street, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Mark Eager of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lot with a view of Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost to buy land in Chapala and Ajijic varies a lot. I’m doing a study on the price of land in Chapala and Ajijic right now, and we’ll be giving classes to realtors on how to evaluate properties. 
 
An example of the variation in the price of land in Chapala and Ajijic would be the lot in The Raquet Club that we’re listing. Fair market price for this listing in The Raquet Club would be $88 per square meter (about US $88,000 for about a quarter of an acre). The Raquet Club gives you a great view for a lot that would cost less than half of the price that you would pay in Ajijic or La Floresta, which has no view. The price you’re going to pay depends if you don’t mind driving out the extra 5 kilometers (3 miles) over a few speed bumps before getting to Ajijic.
 
There’s cheaper land in Chapala and Ajijic. For instance, I just sold a 4,000 square meter lot (about an acre) for 1,200 pesos a square meter (about $250,000) to a very wealthy man who wants to use the lot for horses. This man also has a beachfront property. The lot he I sold him doesn’t have any infrastructure such as walls on it, but there’s water and electricity and telephone lines are available. 
 
In Ajijic, a high-end property in the middle of the village can cost up to 6,000 pesos per square meter (about 317,000 for a quarter of an acre). If you bought a 300 or 200 square meter lot, the price per meter wouldn’t be much different than if you bought a 1,000 meter lot. It’s going to be hard to find a 1,000 square meter lot in the heart of the village, so when some people say the smaller the lot, the more money they can get for it, that statement is true in that case. 
 
If I started getting into 2,000 – 4,000 square meter lots (about half an acre to about an acre) and upwards in Chapala and Ajijic, then I might bring the price down per square meter a little bit. For example, I can bring the price down for the wealthy guy who bought a 4,000 square meter lot because he bought such a big volume of property.
 
A 4,000 square meter lot in the middle of the village in Chapala and Ajijic is worth a lot of money because the property can be developed. The developer can pay a lot of money to the municipality for donations and permits to divide the 4,000 square meters into small 400 meter lots. 
 
If somebody’s looking for just one lot of no more than 1,000 square meters for themselves, they all fit into the same category. I only deal in residential and not in commercial real estate, although I’ve sold some.
 
The Riberas del Pilar area (just east of Ajijic) is number one in sales because there’s a lot more volume that contributes to its average market sale. The average sale price in Riberas del Pilar is around $140,000 for a full house on a lot. 
 
Our area in Chapala Lakeside has prices that have always generally been kept low. High-end properties in our area are sold but they’re limited in the $1 million range. I usually sell one or two of these high-end properties a year. I deal with six or seven properties in the $500,000 price bracket a year, and a lot more in the $200,000 or less price bracket.
 
(Lot with a view of Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Magy Carmona of Magy Carmona at Lake Chapala Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lot in Chapala Hacienda, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of a 300-400 square meter lot in Ajijic is around US $200 – US $250 per square meter. (A 400 square meter lot is less than an eighth of an acre.) You will be very lucky to find a 300-400 square meter lot in Ajijic because there aren’t too many like this available. In San Antonio and in Riberas, it may cost a little bit less for a 300 - 400 square meter lot. It would be around $150 per square meter in San Antonio and in Riberas.
 
Many people explore their options and are now buying lots in Las Brisas because the Ajijic area is getting crowded, and Las Brisas offers 24-hour security and more tranquility. In Las Brisas, you can find lots that are worth US $78 – US $100 per meter, so a large, 1,000 meter lot (about a quarter of an acre) would cost between US $78,000 to $100,000.. To get to Las Brisas, you will need a car. Las Brisas is about 10-15 minutes from the Wal-Mart and the center of Chapala. You will have to take Libramiento, which sometimes that’s a little bit crowded. Las Brisas also used to have a green golf course that I hope someday they will recover because if they do, the prices of lots in Las Brisas will go up. 
 
Another option is Chapala Haciendas, where fraccionamientos (housing developments) are available. Lots in Chapala Haciendas are worth US $64 per square meter (about US $64,000 for a quarter of an acre).
 
(Lot in Chapala Hacienda, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Marvin Golden of Lake Chapala Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lot in La Floresta, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe price of land or land in Chapala and Ajijic goes from US $15 to $20 per square meter in Agua Escondido, which is over the mountain towards Guadalajara. (There are roughly 1,000 square meters in a quarter acre, so this translates to about $15,000 to $20,000 for a quarter acre.)
 
When you get to Chapala Haciendas, the price would be $60 per square meter (about $60,000 for a quarter acre). Brisas de Chapala is another development higher up where they have a lot of lots for sale for $80 to $90 per square meter ($80,000 to $90,000 for a quarter acre). Now that the US dollar has gone up relative to the Mexican peso, I am sure that if you went to that builder and said, “I’ll give you the equivalent in pesos…” then you’ll get a much better price. You may get it at around $70 or even $60 a square foot. He has many lots for sale there. 
 
Coming into Chapala, there is a lot of variety between residential and commercial lots. In Riberas, the cost to buy a lot or land is about $100 to $110 a square meter. In San Antonio, the price goes up to $130 to $140 per square meter. Lots in La Floresta cost from $200 to $300 per square meter and in Ajijic, lots cost $200 to $250 per square meter. Commercial lots could cost a lot more than residential lots.
 
When you head on west, the prices vary, too, depending on the developments and other factors. On the main streets with the highest visibility, and where you have an opportunity to have businesses and restaurants that turn a much better profit than if they were located where nobody can find them, the cost could be double. There are not really zoning restrictions here in Chapala and Ajijic but there are properties that are called commercial properties. However, you could do commercial building anywhere. Your home could be right next door to a slaughterhouse, or an event hall where they are having parties, or next door to a body shop where they fix cars. If you buy a property in the village you have to really open your eyes and walk around, talk to the neighbors and see what is around you because you could wake up in the middle of the night in the middle of a big party in the street behind you that goes on every night until morning.
 
(Lot in La Floresta, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Michael Kavanaugh of Continental Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lot for sale in Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost to buy a lot in the Chapala – Ajijic area depends on location, location, location. A lot in the village will cost $260 a square meter (about $260,000 for a quarter acre). 
 
If you move about 3 miles out from the Ajijic center, there’s a lot of in Rancho del Oro that’s on the side of a mountain with a lake view that, because of the lay of the lot, your construction cost are going to be higher, but you can probably buy that lot for $90 a square meter (about $90,000 for a quarter of an acre). But there might be a lot next door that somebody is listing for $300 a square meter (about $300,000 for a quarter of an acre), even though it’s never going to sell at that price. 
 
Remodeling costs are so low (especially the cost of labor is so reasonable), that it’s much easier and less expensive to remodel than to buy land and build from scratch.
 
(Lot for sale in Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Amaranta Santos of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Home with a pool, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost to buy land in Chapala and Ajijic depends on the location you are buying. In Ajijic Village, there is hardly any land available. If you find a lot, it would cost probably around 3,000 pesos per square meter (about US $165,000 for a quarter of an acre). If you go to San Juan Cosala, which is 8 kilometers away from Ajijic, you would pay 1,500 pesos per square meter (about $82,500 for a quarter of an acre) in an area with a view. If you go to Riberas del Pilar, you would probably pay 1,200 pesos per square meter (about $66,000 for a quarter of an acre). If you don’t mind distance, you will surely find a lot that is within your budget. The closer to Ajijic, the higher the price. 
 
The north, mountain, side of the carretera (main road) would tend to have the views and the south side, being the lakeside, tends to be flatter and tends to not have views unless you are right on the lake. Ajijic village is to the south of the carretera. The main drive is mostly commercial and commercial lots are always higher in price. 
 
If you want a 1,000 square meter lot, you couldn’t find that anymore in the urban areas. Most of them would be what we call rustico, which are places that do not have water connection from the city and there is no electric hookup. You will have to provide that on your own. With hookups, about 5 kilometers outside of Ajijic on the mountain-side, I would say around 1,500 pesos per square meter (about $82,500 for a quarter of an acre) would be an average price.
 
If you go 10 kilometers away from Ajijic, you would be in the area of San Juan Cosala, the same sized lot would cost about $63,000. If you went east, it wouldn’t be easy to find a 1,000 square meter lot because the lots towards the east are smaller. In Riberas, which is the fastest growing area in the past 5 years, it is affordable and near Ajijic, too. I have lots that are 339 square meters for 32,000 pesos ($1,700). We have a 1,045 square meter (a little more than a quarter of an acre) lot in Riberas with estimated price of around $63,000.
 
Let’s say you want a lot in the Ajijic Village, where location makes a whole lot of difference. We have a lot located west near the cemetery that is 51 square meters (1,600 square feet). It is a tiny lot but what people do it put a two-story house and use the whole lot. The lots in the Ajijic Village can be much smaller than they would be in a typical suburban type setting in the United States because when you see these lots on the street, all you will see is a wall and a door and you wouldn’t know what’s going on inside. Many of the lots here are not that big because there is no front and back yard. There is just a yard because many times, the house would be at one edge of the lot and the front door would be at the other edge. There is no curb appeal whatsoever. It is just a wall. That is why many people would tend to get by with a smaller lot.  
 
(Home with a pool, San Juan Cosala, Mexico, pictured.)
Thomas Hellyer of Lake Chapala Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lot plan in Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost to buy land in Chapala and Ajijic varies depending on several factors but the biggest factor would be the location of the land. Land in Mexico, in general, is not cheap. One of the reasons why it is not cheap is because land is what Mexicans invest in. They do not invest in the peso, bank products, or the stock market. Historically, that has been a bad idea in Mexico. The peso gets devalued over time against other world currencies, particularly the dollar. So for Mexicans who want to have safe investments for their future of their family and their heirs, they buy land and the sit on it often for generations.
 
As a result, the price for land in Chapala and Ajijic is often very comparable on a square footage basis to the price in the US or Canada. A buildable lot in a good neighborhood, a ¼ acre lot would cost around $60,000 to $150,000.  The price will then vary depending on the view, whether it is part of a gated community with common areas, or how close or how far it is from the Ajijic village. $150,000 for a ¼ acre lot would be in a high scale, gated community with a lake view. $60,000 for a ¼ acre lot would be located in a nice neighborhood but without a lake view and maybe not gated.
 
(Image: lot plan in Chapala, Mexico.)

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