Page 1 of 2
Very few houses in Pozos can boast a visible door number, a family name or even a painted porch. A lot infact have no roofs, are lined with broken stairs and are made from poor building materials. During the Mexican Revolution (1910-21) and also in the worse moments of the Cristera War (1926-29) many houses in Pozos were burnt down and were never rebuilt.
Due to its rich deposits of gold, silver and mercury, Pozos was a popular mining town and at the turn of the 19th Century it was the second largest city in Guanajuato State with a population of 70,000. That figure has dwindled dramatically and stands today at around 3,000.
Despite Pozos misfortune, things have been changing in the last five years. For Sale signs have been popping up all over the town. Teresa Martinez, the first real estate broker in the area, says she has 60 properties available on her books. She is also responsible for Pozo's first ever hotel which was renovated from the ruins of a disbanded hacienda.
Like Martinez, Texan native David Winslow and his wife, Julie, sold their house in San Miguel de Allende five years ago and also relocated to Pozos.
"We like Pozos because it's a lot cheaper than San Miguel de Allende and life here is more relaxed," explained Winslow, a retired civil engineer.
When the couple first bought their house in Pozos all that remained of it were a few old arches and some walls. After three years the house has been converted into the Posada de Las Minas hotel and they have acquired three more properties in the area. Like the Winslows, 15 foreign retirees, mainly American, have arrived in Pozos ready to invest their dollars in new businesses and a further 70 to 80 have snapped up land.
Foreign retirees are being put off by the exorbitant property prices in nearby San Miguel de Allende (a 45-minute drive away by car) and are looking at Pozos as a cheaper alternative. A similar phenomemon is occurring in many small towns throughout Mexico that are on the outskirts of highly-concentrated urban areas.
In the Tijuana-Ensenada corridor there are currently 48 property developments that account for 11,500 homes. Three years ago a house there would set you back US$100,000. Today they sell for double the price.
"And prices will continue to rise unabated for the next 10 to 15 years," says Martin Martinez Gastelum, a director of a university in Mexicali.
In particular, U.S. retirees look for places that have low crime rates, medical facilities, and services in English, and they want to have them in small, colonial-style towns. Notable examples are Ajijic, just off Lake Chapala in Jalisco; Pozos near San Miguel de Allende; and the towns of San Felipe and Rosarito in Baja California.
"I'm focusing on clients who can't afford to buy US$250,000 houses any more in San Miguel de Allende," says Teresa Martinez, who has partnered with Century 21 to broker real estate in Pozos.
Swedish-born Eva Axelsson, 63, who is based in Los Angeles, is one of Martinez's most important clients. She has spent so far more than US$400,000 on four properties and aims to convert them into luxury apartments for retirees.
"I want to rent them out as many people don't have the financial resources to build or buy their own homes," Axelsson said. "It's a lot more fun investing here (Pozos) than in shares," she added.
Return to top