Most people that may be interested in
real estate in Puerto Vallarta would be obtaining regularized land known as a fideicomiso,
in which title can not actually be obtained directly by a foreigner, but title can be
placed in trust with a bank the next best thing. This system has been in effect for many
years and has worked very well with literally thousands of people purchasing Mexican
property without any problems.
However there are lands, generally
outside of Puerto Vallarta, especially to the north in popular areas such as Sayulita and
San Pancho, that have not been regularized and which are Known as Ejido properties. This
type property was established in 1917 after the Mexican Revolution to break up the large
landholdings of foreigners and wealthy Mexicans the land is still owned by the government
but control is given to an assembly of Ejidatarios or community members of the ejido. They
can apportion the property to individuals, but up until 1992 when some changes were made
to the system no one individual could have title to a particular piece of ejido land.
The 1992 Agrarian law changes
recognize the individual property rights within the ejido and under certain conditions
allow for the lease and sale of property to non-ejido members. This allows the land to
transfer from government control and places it in the public land registry where it can
then be leased or sold. With over 50 million acres of land presently in ejidos, this would
open up substantially the amount of land available for development in Mexico.
However, very little of this transfer
has actually taken place, and it will not take place at all if an Ejido Assembly does not
wish it to happen. Secondly, this was established primarily for agricultural reasons, not
so those foreigners could buy a parcel of land to build upon. It is especially uncertain
how this effects ejidos with tropical land forests - will the government allow this type
of land to enter under the agrarian law adaptions? Thirdly, it is presently illegal to
promote or sell ejido land, and there are severe penalties that could be enforced to those
that do so.
Our recommendation and that of the
realtors we spoke to be careful. There are still many uncertainties and no one can promise
you for sure that your interests will be protected or indeed the ejido land youre
interested in will become regularized. If you arent comfortable with this, stick to
regularized property, there's plenty of that in and around Puerto Vallarta.