Published On: Thu, Jul 17th, 2014

Owning in a ‘Fraccionamiento’ – Dream Living? Or a Nightmare?

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Developers describe the delights awaiting new home-owners, including wide roads, neighborhood gardens, and underground utilities. Prices start under $500,000 pesos (US$38,500 at today’s exchange rate). Who would imagine that paradise was so reasonably priced?

Owning in a ‘Fraccionamiento’ – Dream Living? Or a Nightmare?

A YUCATAN TIMES EXCLUSIVE REPORT

By Stewart Mandy

MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – It sounds like a dream – a brand new house in a brand new ‘fraccionamiento’ (sub-division) on the edge of the city. The photos provided by the developers of these neighborhoods show beautiful, stylish looking houses, well-kept gardens, and of course the mandatory pictures of smiling, happy families. The show homes, normally located at the entrances of the developments, are similarly beautiful.

One of the main ‘fraccionamiento’ developers in Mérida is Grupo Sadasi; which is the builder of the huge neighborhoods known as Las Americas and Los Heroes amongst others. Their website gushingly describes the delights awaiting new home-owners, including wide roads, neighborhood gardens, and underground utilities. Prices start under $500,000 pesos (US$38,500 at today’s exchange rate). Who would imagine that paradise was so reasonably priced?

Sadasi promo photo

Sadasi Fraccionamiento Las Américas promo photo

Fraccionamiento Las Américas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Fraccionamiento Las Américas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is home-ownership in these neighborhoods really this good? I recently spent some time photographing the most established section of the Las Americas development, where the reality of abandoned houses with overgrown yards, piles of trash in the streets, and weeds growing at the sides of the roads would seem to show that it is not.

Sadasi Fraccionamiento Los Heroes promo photo

Sadasi Fraccionamiento Las Américas promo photo

Fraccionamiento Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo Stewart Mandy)

Fraccionamiento Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main reason, apparently, for the run-down appearance of the area is the high number of absentee owners; rather than being purchased by local people, a large number of the houses were in fact bought by people from other states, particularly Mexico City and its environs, who are holding them as low-cost ‘bolt holes’ in case they ever need or want to move from their current locations. Many of them leave the houses completely empty and unattended, with grass, weeds and shrubs often growing as high as the roof. Others rent them on a short term basis to whomever they can; this brings additional problems, since the transient nature of many of the residents means they have no interest in maintaining the property or the neighborhood. Many of the houses have been surrounded by fences, gates, or walls; often behind which is one or more large dogs, which can be expected to bark ferociously at all hours.

Sadasi promo photo

Sadasi promo photo

Fraccionamiento Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Fraccionamiento Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Owner occupied houses, or those owned by the more responsible absentee owners tend to be well kept, some are indeed beautifully maintained and landscaped. Unfortunately, next door may be an overgrown, trash filled jungle.

Sadasi promo photo

Sadasi promo photo

Fraccionamiento Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Fraccionamiento Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked Grupo Sadasi if they would care to comment on the difference between the image they present and reality. While they initially advised that a response would be forthcoming, none was delivered by press time. In previous conversations however, they have indicated that they do not consider they have responsibility for the development once the houses have been sold to the first purchaser, and that responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of the neighborhood then shifts to the owners and the city authorities. I find this to be a strange attitude, especially for a neighborhood which is still under construction, and due to continue expanding for many more months if not years. One would expect the developer to want the entire ‘fraccionamiento’ to remain presentable, at least as long as development continues.

Sadasi promo photo

Sadasi promo photo

Reality 05

Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city authorities and utility companies don’t seem too interested either; after all, the ´fraccionamientos’ are somewhat “out of sight, out of mind” for them, located as they are on the periphery of the city, far from where tourists or other visitors may roam. Entire streets are often without street lighting for days at a time, when the light poles lose power, and no one is apparently in a rush to fix them.

Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

The moral of the story appears to be ‘Let the buyer beware’. What you see now may not be what you will see in a year or two down the (trash filled) road. If you are thinking of buying a newly built house in one of the ´fraccionamientos’, you might want to visit some of the older areas of the development for a preview of what your street may look like in the future.

Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Las Americas: July 2014 (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions or comments? Let us hear from you below, or send an email to stewart@theyucatantimes.com

Stewart Mandy

Stewart Mandy

Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.

In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.

He can be contacted by email at stewart@theyucatantimes.com or smandy@gmail.com. You can join him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meridawriter or visit his website at www.stewartmandy.com or his blog at http://tolocsandaluxes.blogspot.mx/

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  1. Steve says:

    I live in Las Americas. Near as I can tell I’m one of very few expats living in this ever expanding area. I might add quickly expanding. Man they can seemingly build several houses a day here. On the north side of the fraccionamiento hundreds of houses have gone up since Semana Santa. The buildings are of extremely low quality. To say the wiring and plumbing are below standard would be an understatement. Switches, outlets, pipes, faucets ect… all need constant repair or replacement. I rent, would never buy here, and all those things are done by me, the renter. The owner has no interest in repairing anything. And the size, even the two story units are small with no space between houses what so ever. Normally, as the article accurately points out I have no neighbors, there are 5 empty houses for ever occupied house on my street. When the houses next to me are rented out of occupied I can hear it when the neighbors sneeze. I lived at the beach for five years and that was the situation there other then during vacation times. And the beach houses were only cleaned up when the families were headed over for vacation. The one thing I can say positive here is the crime rate seem less, at the beach theft was an non-stop problem esp. around vacations. That and there are less street dogs here, the beach was full of them when I lived there.

    Would I buy one of these house? Not on your life. I’m renting here while I finish plans to buy or build elsewhere. But I guess if you just wanted a place to use as base when you come down a few weeks or months a years maybe this would be for you. But beware that you will have to rewire and re-plumb and possible make structural repairs to the entire house at some point, yes it’s that bad.

    • Alejandro Alejandro says:

      Hello Steve: Thank you very much for your comments, it is very important for us to receive our readers feedback on the articles that we publish. This one about the Fraccionamiento Las Americas, is a Yucatan Times Exclusive Investigation by our Star Reporter Stewart Mandy, and truth is that no other media in town dares to write an article on this subject, for a very simple reason… As you know, GRUPO SADASI advertises practically on every newspaper, radio station, TV channel, magazine and website in Merida.
      It is remarkable how you point out the low quality of the construction material, wiring, plumbing, etc. How these Fraccionamientos keep expanding out of control, and a big percentage of the houses end up abandoned.
      Thank you very much for reading The Yucatan Times. Best Regards!

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