Saturday, December 24, 2011

San Angelo 08

They are busy hoisting these things near the North side of the city.....

San Angelo 08 from San Angelo 08 on Vimeo.

Here is the official Link.

Aesthetically speaking, I am sure there this place will be very beautiful once they finish it. My guess would be another 2 years to complete it out since they have been working on it for six months already and still are not done with the subterranean parking garage. But a few more things I might point out....
  • As you can see from the American flag on the bottom of one of the website pages, they may be counting on expats to help sell this thing through.
  • Mexicans keep different hours from Canadians and Americans, for the most part. Mexicans are extremely loud, on average, and do not respect their neighbors as readily, i.e. stereos, parties, anything that generates noise. What I am saying is that living in an adult living environment in MX is comensurate with dorm life for college kids at say UCLA or the University of Texas.
  • This entire buildings will be made mostly of concrete and steel. Sound will reverberate through this entire structure like a tuning fork, unless they take the time to insulate the walls.
  • I believe these will be the tallest buildings in Merida when completed. This will garner much attention, at least at first. 
  • The views will be ?????. You are 19 miles from the coast and are overlooking brush covered fields around the Periferico Hwy. But hey, at least you can see Wal Mart from your living room. 
  • Not sure how they are pricing them but I would be interested to see if they will be higher than they should be. That is what many real estate ventures in MX and the U.S these days. Las Fincas is an example. LF is now selling double lots for the price of one at that development. It is a sign that the developers overextended themselves. I know. I physically walked the development with Fransisco (my attorney) and saw them charging $350K for base models before upgrades or a pool. Just an example of the cycle these great development ideas run here. And Las Fincas was designed, in part, with the advisory of paid U.S. land developers to draw in American buyers and consumers. Apparently they are struggling with selling through on it now.
My advice, if you are dead set on moving here, is to come down and rent for at least six months to a year while you educate yourself on this real estate market. They don't have an MLS system here like the U.S. so prices in this market are floating all over the place. Come down and buy land and build to your specs and preferences or buy some huge run down structure, gut it and build it up with a great plan. That is what I would do.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Number of Expats in Merida

INM in Merida on Avenida Colon
In October, while renewing our visas at INM (Immigration), I asked one of the ladies working there how many expats (Canadians, Americans, Cubans, ......) actually live here in Merida/Progresso. She couldn't tell me exactly but she did say that they handle 50 scheduled or walk-in appointments a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year in the Merida immigration office. That comes out to 12,500 actual appointments a year.
Now, everyone goes in for at least 2 appointments during the application/renewal process on the visas. The first is to turn in your paperwork and application. The second is to actually receive your visa, usually about 2 to 3 weeks later. So that would cut the number of people in half to 6,250 going into the INM office twice a year. Are you with me?

Now there is an immigration (INM) office in Progresso to alleviate the pressure on the Merida office. However, they are very lightly staffed and you have to live in Progresso or neighboring beach towns to use that office. I have been in that office twice, once with my attorney Fransisco, and they usually only have one lady working the front desk. I can't imagine that they get around to handling more than 10 people a day, judging from the workload of 50 appointments a day in Merida. The Merida office always has at least 5 or 6 people processing apps at any one given time. With that said, I am assuming that Progresso processes about 50 appointments a week, 2,500 per year. That would cut in half the number of actual people to 1,250 since everyone processes in-and-out on two appointments set a few weeks apart.
National Flags of Latin American Countries
Most of the expats in Progresso are retirees from Canada or the United States. They probably make up 95% or more of the traffic in that office. But the INM office in Merida is another story. I have been in that office four times now. And of the expats that I have seen in there no more than 25% of them actually look to be Canadians or Americans. Most of the time they look to be, at least to me, Spanish speaking immigrants from Latin American Countries like Cuba, Puerto Rico or Columbia.

So let's say, rounding up, that 30% of the 6,250 applicants processed annually through the Merida office are Canadian and American. That comes out to around 2,000 people. Then you have somewhere around 1,500 people being processed through the Progresso office of which about 95% or more fly the CAD or USA flag.

Then you have to factor in those expats that have already attained Inmigrado status through Immigration and are no longer being processed on an annual basis. My best guess on that number.......Let's say 1,000 of those people in Merida. I have never met an American or Canadian with inmigrado status so I think 1,000 is awfully generous.

That's 2,000 in Merida plus 1,500 in Progresso/Chelem plus maybe another 1,000 seasoned-veteran Inmigrados. I get somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 Canadian and U.S. expats in Merida/Progresso/Chelem/ or minus 500.

The expat community here is not very large in comparison to the overall population which is well over 1 million. You are talking maybe less than one half of one one percent of the population. I have .4% of the population, an incredibly minuscule fraction of the people.

Even amongst foreign expats, Americans and Canadians are a minority within an extreme minority. And if you are going to be involved with people here on a broad basis then guess what you are going to want to be able to do?  That's right....Speak Spanish. It doesn't mean you won't meet people that speak English. You will. But it is not the majority of people.

Just an insider's view not based on a financial agenda.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Set It On The Curb

Since I have now seen this happen twice I will write about it. About two months ago I set out a partial roll of unused chicken wire fencing to be picked up by the sanitation department. I had used the wire fencing material in the design of our large bird cage (Click Here).
Within two hours the stuff was gone. Someone had picked it up off the curb to use it in spite of the fact that the metal was half-way rusted through. Yet someone was still willing to take it. 

This morning I set out a large bag of dog food that we had bought from Sam's Club. We had tried some new dog food with our beloved Missy but she didnt' take to it to well. So, I thought I would just set it out  on the curb and see if anyone would take it. Sure enough, the bag of already opened dog food was gone within about 30 minutes.

We know a Canadian couple that owns a bed and breakfast in Centro. When remodeling some time ago they had some old sheet metal from the property that they set on the curb for trash pickup. The neighbors came out by the droves to carry it all off and use it for themselves.

Imagine watching an ant colony kill and dissect a dead insect and then carry it off for consumption. That is about what I am talking about.