A look inside Los Cabos’ hottest developments and the trends driving our real estate market By Carol S. Billups
A long time ago, there were two little towns with very different vibes connected by a stretch of bad road. Today, the still distinct yet growing beach towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo are collectively known as Los Cabos and connected by the well-manicured Tourist Corridor. As recently as ten years ago this would have been a very short article: In Cabo San Lucas, you fish and party; in San José del Cabo, you fish and eat. If you have money, you live in Palmilla. End of story.
In the years since, however, both cities have grown up. More and more neighborhoods have been born, and they serve all types of lifestyles and budgets. Whether you’re retiring on a fixed income, looking for a kid-friendly home, or ready to reward yourself with a vacation paradise, the Los Cabos real estate market has you covered.
Families and baby boomers are increasingly turning to Los Cabos. Sales are up for 2013, according to the local multiple-listing service system. In the first half of the year, unit sales of houses and condominiums were up more than 60 percent from 2012, and the buyers keep coming. Condominium sales are evenly distributed between the two cities. Single-family homes—especially those located along the Tourist Corridor—made up the majority of sales. The average price was just less than $500,000 U.S., but this is a misleading statistic.
As most real estate agents in Los Cabos will tell you, the action is at either end of the spectrum; the super-posh and very affordable properties are the ones that are moving. The median sales price (the point that is exactly above and below 50 percent of the sales) was only $261,500 U.S. With half of sales going for under $250,000 U.S., you know there are bargains to be had.
And where are they? Here are eight micro-neighborhoods you ought to consider, traveling from the East Cape to the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. Some are new communities (developer-owned properties) and others are established neighborhoods.
- Near East Cape/East of San José del Cabo
- Inventory: 22 units
- Condos & Houses
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $280 U.S. per square foot (houses)
- Current Asking Prices: $599,000 U.S.–$3.3 million U.S.
- Vibe: Playful, beachy
- Best Feature: Got beach?
The condos and beachfront homes of El Encanto (www.elencantoloscabos.net) are located just east of San José del Cabo. There are only 105 units, but this project has its own desalinization plant and was built with green techniques. Features of the units include high ceilings, wood beams, granite counters, and ocean views. Many units include garage or dedicated space for storing beach toys such as wave runners and sailboats. The on-site management team provides complete concierge service, making your vacation home truly carefree. A new beach club is planned; it will offer five-star amenities, according to the developer. El Encanto is currently selling in Phase II, and furnished resale units are available in Phase I. At press time, the developer was offering a special promotion: Buyers may choose between three years of free homeowners association dues or a new Polaris RZR all-terrain vehicle. htttp://www.loscabosguide.com/elencanto/
- San José del Cabo/FONATUR
- Upscale Condominiums | Inventory: 10 resale units
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $270 U.S. per square foot
- Current Asking Prices: $480,000 U.S.–$777,777 U.S.
- Vibe: Urban chic | Best Features: Location and views
If you’re ready for a sophisticated lifestyle, Alegranza (www.alegranza.com.mx) in the FONATUR (golf course) section of San José del Cabo may be the perfect option. Built a few years ago by a partnership that included popular singer Enrique Iglesias, the project exudes a European flair. The units include top-of-the-line finishes, a resort lifestyle, on-site management and rental program, pool, and more. The ground-floor units include pet-friendly private yard space, and most units afford a fabulous view. The location is excellent—only a short stroll to downtown San José del Cabo or the beach. These condos are great as a personal residence or as an income-producing investment property. Your AMPI-member agent can arrange to show you any of the available units. http://www.loscabosguide.com/alegranzaloscabos/
- San José del Cabo/Hotel Beach
- Upscale Condominiums (available as resale units)
- Inventory: 18 resale units
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $235 U.S. per square foot
- Current Asking Prices: $339,000 U.S.–$2,650,000 U.S.
- Vibe: Carefree luxury
- Best Feature: Beachfront
Life’s a beach if you live in Las Mañanitas (www.bajaproperties.com), a popular luxury property known for its beautifully landscaped grounds. The high-end, resort-style project offers the total package: Amenities include pools, hot tubs, gym, tennis court, security, and on-site management. Las Mañanitas’ stellar location means not only easy access to the beach but also proximity to shopping, dining, and only a short drive to the international airport via a toll road. Many of the units have impressive rental histories; Las Mañanitas is popular with vacationers and owners. The condominiums are represented by various agencies; your current agent can represent you on the acquisition of any of them. http://www.loscabosguide.com/lasmananitas.htm
- Tourist Corridor
- Upscale Custom Homes
- Inventory: 6 resale units
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $204 U.S. per square foot
- Current Asking Prices: $1.8 million U.S.–$3.375 million U.S.
- Vibe: Elegance
- Best Features: Views and privacy
Among Los Cabos’ hidden treasures are a number of extremely private gated communities; Cabo Colorado is one of them. Many visitors have noticed the Cabo Colorado gate as they’ve driven past, but only a few know what lies behind it. Secluded and private, this gated community offers sublime views. Although all of the homes are custom creations, strict architectural guidelines have ensured a cohesive community impression. The beach here is nearly always deserted; this is a low-density quiet community built for serious relaxation. Occasionally a building site is available on the resale market. Purchases can be made through any AMPI-member real estate agent.
Cabo del Sol
- Tourist Corridor
- Upscale Custom Homes and Condominiums
- Inventory: 25 resales units
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $242 U.S. per square foot
- Current Asking Prices: $625,000 U.S.–$4.75 million U.S.
- Vibe: Classic posh
- Best Features: World-class golf
If you are in pursuit of the golf lifestyle, consider Cabo Del Sol (www.cabodelsol.com) your destination. Located only a few miles from the center of Cabo San Lucas, this master-planned community is made up of eight smaller communities, two hotels, and two Nicklaus-designed golf courses. A manicured desert setting and elegant finishes set the tone for high-end living. The Puerta del Sol condominiums are spacious, and most have excellent views. The single-family homes are low density, and many abut the famous courses. In addition to the hotel amenities, the clubhouse has a very popular restaurant so that residents have a variety of dining options without ever having to leave their gated community.
Cabo Del Mar Ocean and Ecopark Village
- Tourist Corridor
- Affordable Condominiums and Single-Family Homes
- Inventory: 46 units still available in Phase I
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: Less than $100 U.S. per square foot
- Current Starting Prices: $99,000 U.S. condominiums, $149,000 U.S. single-family homes
- Vibe: Family-friendly
- Best feature: Super affordable
The Portus Group is celebrated in Los Cabos for delivering quality product at below-market prices. No wonder its projects sell out long before they are completed. The newest venture, Cabo del Mar, is a family-friendly development of condominiums and single-family homes set within a park bursting with outdoor recreational opportunities. As with all Portus projects, Cabo del Mar allows for a life that centers on an amenity-laden club house that will have all the features of prior projects (pools, hot tubs, gym, spa, restaurant) and also include a natural amphitheater, biking trails, and an organic garden. Four floor plans are available for the single-family homes, and all can be customized with various options. At press time, 68 percent of the units in Phase I had been pre-sold; delivery of these units is scheduled for 12 to 48 months in the future. If you can’t wait to move to paradise, there are 24 resale units available in Portus’s wildly successful Ventanas (www.ventanasresidences.com) communities. http://www.loscabosguide.com/ventanasresidences/
- Cabo San Lucas
- Custom Homes and Upscale Condominiums
- Inventory (resale and developer): 47 single-family homes, 24 condominiums, 95 homesites
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $170 U.S. per square foot
- Current Asking Prices (Single-Family Homes): $325,000 U.S.–$20 million U.S.
- Vibe: “Wow! What a view!”
- Best Features: In-city location
One of Los Cabos’ original gated communities, Pedregal (www.pedregal.com) is still a work in progress. This exceedingly diverse community is made up of many smaller micro-neighborhoods: Valley of the Blue Moon, Pedregalito, and Fountain Valley are home to tightly knit groups of friends and neighbors. The only gated community within Cabo San Lucas proper, these homes are conveniently close to everything Cabo San Lucas offers. The developer began selling building lots more than 30 years ago. As Cabo has grown and evolved, so has Pedregal. There is something here for nearly every taste and budget. From luxury mansions to a cute little bungalow, Pedregal is all about variety. http://www.loscabosguide.com/pedregalcabo/
- Cabo San Lucas
- Affordable Condominiums and Single-Family Homes
- Inventory: 21 single-family homes, 17 condominiums
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $189 U.S. per square foot
- Current Starting Prices: $412,000 U.S. single-family, $220,000 U.S. condominiums
- Vibe: Contemporary luxury
- Best Features: Golf with an ocean view
Finally: Full ownership in Quivira (www.quiviraloscabos.com). Copala, the newest effort by the Pueblo Bonito group, is an ocean-view, gated, true ownership community within the Quivira (Sunset Beach) property. Currently in pre-sale, the luxury condominiums and single-family homes will afford views to the ocean and the Jack Nicklaus Signature course that is currently under construction. The infrastructure is not yet complete, but the first phase is nearly half sold out; the reason is the price. Residents will have their own clubhouse and access to the Quivira Golf Clubhouse and Beach Club for a complete amenity package. The homes and condominiums are scheduled to be delivered in 18 months. In an interesting twist, buyers can apply the equity left in their Pueblo Bonito and Montecristo packages to the down payment. This newcomer is impressive.
- Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side
- Luxury Golf Villas and Homesites
- Approximate Historical Sales Price: $625 U.S. per square foot
- Current Starting Prices: $300,000 U.S. homesites, $1.8 million U.S.–$2.5 million U.S. turn-key golf villas
- Vibe: Live to golf
- Best Features: Golf
Reward your passion for golf with a residence at Diamante (www.diamantecabosanlucas.com), a new premier resort north of Cabo San Lucas. The currently operational private course was designed by Davis Love III and is ranked No. 58 in the world by Golf Magazine. A second course designed by Tiger Woods is under construction, as is a crystal lagoon for water sports. Golf villas and custom luxury homes surround the course, and Sunset Hill Estates provides sweeping views. Your AMPI-member agent can arrange a private tour of this private community. http://www.loscabosguide.com/diamantecabosanlucas/
These are just a few of the opportunities you will have to choose from. From modest starter homes to magnificent mansions, Los Cabos has something for everyone. North of the city, there are numerous small, non-gated communities where homes are priced for less than $100,000 U.S. There are bargains to be had in all categories. For example, at press time there was a studio apartment in a full-service building on the Cabo San Lucas Marina priced at only $75,000 U.S. Working with an AMPI-member real estate agent is the best way to find these hidden treasures. If you can dream it, we can find it. But don’t wait too long. Someone else may be dreaming, too.
*Statistics source: Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios MLS for July 2012–July 2013 period. These numbers are reliable but not guaranteed.
Carol Billups is broker-owner at Cabo Realty Pros and Los Cabos Magazine’s real estate expert. You can find more of her articles at www.loscabosguide.com or read her blog at www.caborealtypros.com. After 13 years of selling real estate in Cabo, Billups believes this is the beginning of the end of the best buyer’s market in Los Cabos history.