The cost of living in Mexico is a fraction of the cost of living in Canada and in the US. In Mexico, you get more for your money. For example, here in Mexico, you get to have a gardener and a maid as a bonus. If I was going to give you a true number and you were going to buy a house, I would take the taxes, water bill, association fees if there were any, your maid and gardener, Internet, telephone bill, and electricity bill, and give you a total monthly number. It will be at most half of what it would be in Canada or the United States, depending on where you lived.
Here in Mexico, you get a lot for your money, including care and attention. On the other hand, what you don’t necessarily get are some types of services. For example, you pay your property tax bill of 2,000 – 3,000 pesos ($100 - $150) a year on average, but when you find a cobblestone or a bit of cement out on the sidewalk, you have to go and have your own gardener fix it rather than asking the local government to do it. If you’re in a gated community, the management will come around and fix the roads, but you’re paying an extra 1,500 – 2,000 pesos ($75 - $100) a month to live in that gated community and get that kind of service.
If you live in the middle of Chapala or Ajijic, it’s best to get somebody to fix the pothole on the road instead of waiting for the local government to take care of it. Not that your problems will go unheard, but sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat too much, and we want things like property taxes to stay inexpensive.
In Chapala and Ajijic, a $300,000 house can have a decent view, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, granite, a beautiful kitchen, nice finishes, and it can be furnished (you could buy a furnished house for that price). The average real estate price throughout the last few years is $170,000.
I’m only referring to Chapala and Ajijic. In some parts of Mexico City, the price for real estate can be 25,000 pesos a square meter (about $1,300 per square foot, or $2.6 million for a 2,000-square foot home). You can come down to Ajijic and buy land and a home for 2,000- 5,000 pesos per square meter (about $105 to $264 per square foot, or $210,000 to $528,000 for a 2,000-square foot home).
If you took the $300,000 property, you could be living for 4,000 – 5,000 pesos ($200 - $250) a month to maintain your property. This is the rate in Chapala, and that includes all utilities- air conditioning, heating, water, trash pickup, gardener and maid. Food, healthcare, and car insurance are not included.
(Living room and dining room of a $300,000 plus house, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)