Americans struggling with the economy are finding relief south of the border. The overall lower cost of living, affordable beach front housing, lower property taxes as well as proximity and accessibility to US services, have made Baja California a preferred choice for relocation among retirees and families alike.
ROSARITO, BAJA CALIFORNIA. MEXICO - Many Americans with reduced and fixed incomes are looking outside of the US for retirement and economic relief in these tough times, finding it just south of the border. Baja California, Mexico is leading the trend to cater to retirees, by offering services that appeal to the growing number of foreign residents. These services include assisted living, property and personal care among others at significantly lower prices than in the US.
US store names like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Smart and Final, Applebee’s and Ashley Furniture are some of which are becoming more common in strip malls around the area. State of the art medical facilities equal to those on the US have been and are being constructed in order to provide quality medical care services to the growing number of foreign residents, the only difference being the lower cost.
The area between Rosarito and Ensenada just 45 minutes south of the border has become the preferred area, where developers are also getting on board by bringing amenities to these new homeowners. Calafia Condos & Villas is one of these developments, where their new tower offers more amenities and social atmosphere for people with an active lifestyle. Plus, it is pet friendly. Some of these amenities include a club house with a TV room, game room, computer area, large gym, outdoor and a private Jacuzzi. These amenities are becoming standard for new communities. Palacio Del Mar, Luxury Ocean Front Condos & Villas , has built the first 25,000 square ft ocean front club house, that will not only have an ocean front infinity pool, spa, saunas, gym and bistro, they also offer an indoor granite bottom pool.
A current resident of Northern Baja, Karen Erstad says “I purchased a second home in Las Gaviotas , (an established Northern Baja community), over 10 years ago with the intent to someday live my retirement years by the Ocean”. When she decided on early retirement and make her move, her family and friends thought she was not on her right mind. Even though she would be only a 2 hour drive away, their primary concern was medical care and the question of who would look after her.
Some doctors in this Rosarito-Ensenada area are willing and do still make house calls; there are also excellent medical facilities throughout the state. Serena Senior Care is a corporation dedicated to improve the quality of life for senior residents in Baja; among their services are nursing assistance and doctor visits, which gives family members’ peace of mind. In addition, ocean front developments in Baja are largely inhabited by expatriates making them very tight communities, who look out for one another.
Karen continues by adding “I can also put my own concerns at ease, by moving to Mexico I can live the same lifestyle if not a better one as if I were still working”.
Karen is one of many Americans discovering the benefits and lower cost of in-home services that the Northern Baja region offers; furthermore, with the increased purchasing power of the US dollar against the Mexican peso they can lower their monthly expenses considerably, here is an example:
- Grocery bill around 250 dollars a month for a small family.
- Cost of a movie for two people from less than 11 dollars including popcorn.
- Doctor’s visits starting at around 20 dollars.
- Internet Access and Cable TV from 60 dollars.
- Property taxes average 300.00 dollars and up per year.
- Game of golf starting at 35 dollars
- Private bilingual school around 175 dollars monthly tuition
- Hair Salon hair cut and color can start at around 27 dollars
- Eating out
- McDonalds, less than 4.50 for a super size combo
- Chinese food, less than 4.50 for a “lunch” (enough for 2 people)
- Traditional Mexican food, complete meals from around 4 dollars.
- 5 star meal starts at 20 dollars per person.
Most of these coastal Baja developments, like Calafia Condos & Villas are also located just 10 to 15 minutes from the newest hospital in the area. Downtown shopping, and a 45 minute drive to the wine country, where on Wednesdays and Saturdays they offer an organic farmers market. Living in these communities Americans have the same lifestyle as they currently have back at their homeland but for much less.
Max Katz owner of Baja Real Estate Group says “Due to the entire housing inventory on the coast, developers set themselves apart by offering more amenities, services and discounts”. He continues saying, “Not only the newer developments are following the trends, even long time established communities such as Las Gaviotas, an ocean front community that has been a model of success for retirees over the last 35 years, are upgrading to larger gyms, creating social committees and having weekly golf and tennis tournaments”.
Clearly, relocating to Northern Baja California has become a solution for Baby Boomers and American retirees against the economic crisis. Especially for those who would like to remain closer to their families and amenities in the US. For others, is just good business.
Written by Alejandra Esquivel