Ron Rishagen was born in Trail, B.C. but he will be spending most of his retirement days near Puerto Escondido on the southwest coast of Mexico, one of many Canadians who have discovered the luxury homes of Vivo Resorts.
“It’s a winner,” said Rishagen, a retired university professor who, after checking out numerous options, bought a condominium at the beachfront resort this year.
Vivo Resorts is being developed by Calgary-based Cary Mullen, best known as the World Cup champion and two-time Olympian downhill skier. The resort’s startling success hinges on three facts: the 76 acres of land is owned outright by Canadians; it fronts 21 kilometres of pristine oceanfront beach; and prices for the luxury condominiums and villas are a bargain when comparedwith those in major Canadian cities. Resort homes can also be rented when not in use, with 70 per cent of net proceeds going to the owner.
Mullen, after spending months and thousands of dollars on research, discovered that some myths about Mexican land ownership were just that.
He found that land ownership by foreigners could be through international banks, such as Scotiabank or HSBC, and that a Mexican partner was not required.
“A foreigner can now own Mexican property outright,” Mullen said.
The result has been a residential sales performance that would have any Calgary developer drooling.
Since Vivo Resorts opened five years ago, it has built and sold out seven condominium towers with a total of 100 units, plus 10 private detached villas. The eighth condo tower is 75 per cent sold. (Mullen will not start a tower until 75 per cent of the units are sold.) The ninth tower, Marino Residences, pre-sold half its 28 condos in five weeks.
The safety of the investment and the relatively low prices are a major draw. Even though prices have increased at least 40 per cent since 2012, buyers can purchase a waterfront condominium at Vivo Resorts for an average of US $426,900.
One-bedroom suites in the newest tower start at US$426,000 – and this includes all furnishings, from the giant-screen TV to the dishes and cutlery. A new penthouse with three bedrooms and more than 1,850 square feet is priced at US$664,900.
Vivo Resorts, named Mexico’s luxury resort of the year in 2016 by U.K.-based Luxury Travel Guide, offers condominiums at the five-star level, with large balconies, tile floors, contemporary appliances and air conditioning.
There are infinity swimming pools with swim-up bar, a store, and the 55,000-square-foot, four-storey Vivo Clubhouse that opens this December with a spa, fitness centre, lounge, a children’s play area and a sports bar.
Detached waterfront villas can be custom designed, or buyers can choose from a complete design package. Three-bedroom, two-bathroom villas start at less than US$400,000, or about a fifth the price of a waterfront house anywhere near Vancouver.
Mullen has insisted on a wide variety of prices to make Vivo Resorts inclusive as well as exclusive. This year the resort will release Botanica condominiums, set just back from the beach, but with larger pools and prices starting at US$269,000 for a one-bedroom.
The location is a main selling point for Canadians, said Mullen. Puerto Escondido was selected as the location for Vivo Resorts due to its investment potential and its ideal spot on a postcard stretch of beach at the southern tip of Mexico. “It has the best climate with warm consistent temperatures, low rainfall and low risk of hurricanes,” Mullen said.
Puerto Escondido has the lowest hurricane risks in Mexico, based on 164 years of data. The waterfront town is also ranked as the No.3 surfing destination in the world: in fact the current world champion surfer, Jhony Corzo, is a 19-year-old who lives in Puerto Escondido.
As Rishagan and other Canadian buyers we talked to attest, Vivo Resorts also looks like a winner.