Saturday, May 8, 2021
Dear Your Overseas Dream Home Reader,
This week I’ve dropped bags in my new European base, here on Portugal’s Silver Coast.
The weather here reminds me of an Irish heatwave or a freezing winter’s day in Cabo San Lucas. In other words, it’s a very pleasant 70 F, ideal conditions for me.
I’m excited to get the condo fitted out. Updating the furniture…getting some art on the walls…giving it a personal touch. Most importantly, I’ve ordered my essential life support—an espresso machine.
For now, I’m making frequent trips to a corner café in the nearby medieval town of Óbidos where I can get a feast of coffee and custard tarts for just €5. And, to the surf town of Peniche where I’ve uncovered a treasure trove of café and dining options, including my new favorite Japanese restaurant called Sushi Fish.
Another order of business is golf. The club here has no joining fees. And for €2,000 a year I can get membership to two courses and reciprocal playing right to two other world class courses, including PGA National in Paris.
Nowhere else on earth have I found this mix of perfect weather for golf, great courses, and accessibility in terms of price and tee times.
In fact, the mortgage on my condo, plus HOA fees, all taxes and insurance, and the golf club dues combined, total less than what the property taxes alone would cost per month in California…
The value here is hard to beat…
I’ve began some initial real estate scouting around the area too. I took a trip to Peniche, an old fishing town set on a peninsula that has transformed into a popular tourist spot thanks to its exquisite beaches. The town itself was somewhat ramshackle and surprisingly empty considering its status among surfers—but then lockdown here only eased up a week or so ago.
In terms of real estate, there’s certainly strong value to be found. You’ll find renovated two-bedroom apartments for between €100,000 to €150,000. A two-bedroom for €135,000 I came across offers a rooftop terrace with dramatic sea vistas and views over the town.
Later this month, I’ll be sending RETA members my full report on what I find in their May issue of Dream Homes Digest.
Members stay tuned…
A Stop Off in Party Town
The quietness of Portugal’s Silver Coast hit me almost as a shock after coming from the Riviera Maya.
Playa del Carmen, despite travel restrictions, was booming. Along famed 5th Avenue, there was a celebratory air among the throngs of people strolling along from morning ‘til late at night, looking for a place to eat, drink, and be merry.
The restaurants (and Playa has everything from steakhouses to tapas bars) are busy…the cafes packed in the mornings with those seeking a pick-me-up from the night before and digital nomads working diligently between lattes. The beach is full of vacationers laying out on loungers or soaking in the Caribbean…and area hotels solidly booked.
On my last visit to Playa in early December, it was very quiet…almost deserted. On my scouting trip to Playa last week, it had done a complete 180.
It’s now gearing up for a massive resurgence of visitors as travel returns full swing.
You can check out my tour through the town here:
The highlight of my Playa trip was getting to tour Siempre Playa, a killer opportunity that RETA members got in on in 2017.
Members got in here at RETA-only pricing from $193,800. Today, the same unit type lists at retail for $314,333. A whopping paper gain of $120,533.
The first owners are now moving in. And I know of a number of two-bed condos getting ready to be rented for $1,900 per month.
You can see the near-finished product for yourself in my tour of the project below. And you can read more about the developers plans for the area in the piece I sent you Wednesday.
What’s Next for the Riviera Maya?
From Playa I took a 40-minute ferry ride out to the island of Cozumal. Onboard, the atmosphere was festive. The bar kept busy taking orders for Dos Equis and margaritas… Seats were scarce, and I ended up on the top deck, squarely in front of the three-piece band that played renditions of mid-90s rock hit.
Cozumel is regarded as one of the best snorkeling and scuba sites in the world. Each year it’s visited by some of the biggest cruise liners—Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, Disney. But the island’s main town of San Miguel looks drab and dated. It was built in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but not a lot happened here since.
I was there to scout because I’ve been hearing whispers about the island from influential people. Developers are coming to the table. They’re asking if RETA is interested in Cozumel. People with land are approaching us.
Because it’s an island, which limits access and adds construction costs, the Riviera Maya’s mammoth Path of Progress, which started in Cancun, didn’t have the same impact on Cozumal as it’s now having farther south in Tulum. But that might soon change.
In some ways Cozumel reminded me of my first visit to Tulum in 2004. You’ll find a few rickety beach bars, empty white-sand beaches, and nothing much else.
On Cozumel’s eastern shore, facing the open sea, rocky, wild shoreline alternates with sandy coves. On the shore facing Playa, the water is calm and clear. To the north of San Miguel you’ll find long sandy beaches. As we drove to potential development sites to the south along the water it was more limestone “iron shore,” with buoys out in the water marking the location of snorkelers.
Large stretches of the island, especially on the southern end, are undeveloped and set to remain that way to protect the coral reefs in the marine national park just offshore.
But, like I say, developers with developable land parcels are approaching us. So, I’ll continue my conversations with them and see if there’s a deal to shake out.
You can watch a short clip from my scouting tour of the island here:
Finally, it’s Here…
If I don’t ever hear another word said about water permits, I’ll be a happy man…
After months of waiting, our RETA deal in Cabo San Lucas is finally gearing up to launch. It’s been slow to get over the line due to the permitting process, but now we can begin to count down the days.
And let me tell you, our patience is set to pay off big…
Our RETA-only price is from a remarkable $188,000. Unheard of in Cabo. I figure these condos will be worth $330,000 within three years of delivery.
Our condos will be perched on a hill just outside Cabo with stunning views of the flat Azure waters of the Sea of Cortes. Cabo San Lucas itself is only seven minutes away…and the pristine Cabo beach only three or four. Two-bed, two-bath condos will have big terraces that make the most of these views. The views from the community pool area are simply drop dead gorgeous.
And like I say, our entry price is just $188,000.
RETA members will get more details next week.
If you’re not a member, sign up to RETA here.
Wishing you good real estate investing,
Ronan McMahon, Real Estate Trend Alert