Mérida, Yucatán, (July 28, 2021) .- Investment lots are a new form of fraud in Yucatán. Various companies and real estate developments offer “attractive” land at affordable prices, just a few minutes from the beach or in rural communities near the state capital.
Most of the time, these projects show an uncertain future, even though they are promoted as great opportunities for investment. People from other parts of the country or abroad, are “getting scammed,” urban development analysts and activists warn.
According to specialists, many of these lots are lands that do not have a legal framework, they are communal lands (ejido), there are conflicts between the communities, in addition to being practically in the middle of nowhere, where it is very difficult to provide basic public services; all this to the complacency (or complicity) of the municipal and state authorities that grant land-use permits.
Nowadays, it is common to see signs for the sale of lots and investment land on Mérida’s Periferico or on the roads of different municipalities across the state, often using names in Maya. There are even those who have chosen to be “real estate advisors” to offer this type of investment, and sell them through social networks, taking advantage of the number of followers they have on their accounts.
We are facing a “real estate bubble” that could burst at any moment, affecting many people and their economies, experts say.
Eduardo Monsreal Toraya, a member of the Mérida Sustainable Mobility Observatory, indicated that there is a problem in the regulation of land use, starting with how the respective licenses are issued. Many of these developments are located far from Mérida, and there is enormous flexibility on the part of the authorities of each municipality where they are installed.
Most of the municipalities, he specified, lack urban planning instruments, the only reference that exists at the state level is the Territorial Ecological Reorganization Program; however it only covers some areas. So, in many cases, the feasibility of building these real estate developments is in doubt.
The mobility specialist pointed out that the criteria used in urban-environmental feasibility is not adequate, and this is just the beginning of a series of problems.
Although he emphasized that according to municipal regulations, these projects are susceptible to urban settlements, this does not mean that they are suitable for urbanization, as they need to go through a series of procedures: feasibility of public services, electricity, water, which in most of the cases are not fulfilled, he said.
In his experience, most of the cases are a subdivision of lots, cadastral division, however, they have urbanization projects. “The municipalities have a lot to do with it, who in their consideration determine whether or not it is susceptible to urbanize,” he explained.
But a large part of the municipalities lack planning instruments, nor do they have urban development programs, or they are obsolete, added the specialist.
In addition, he pointed out that many of these lands have not gone through a complete legal procedure, they are still in the process of changing ownership, for example; even when having the documents in order, from an urban point of view it does not have basic services, they are far from the population centers. “As there are no instruments that regulate the territory, anything is possible because there are no restrictions,” he commented.
Monsreal Toraya indicated that transparency is needed, since there is no database to know if these developments have permits or not, so whoever buys land, mostly people from outside the state, does so without information. “They buy land “blindly”. Alleged developers promise them many things, they take advantage of people’s ignorance, users who are not properly informed about this situation,” he said.
Added to this, there is an absence of the state government, and omission of the municipalities, which have the technical capacity to evaluate this type of development. From his point of view, there must be State participation to regulate this issue, without interposing in municipal powers, establishing certain regulations and “locks” through state laws, and thus conditioning the authorization of these projects.
At the same time, create a transparency platform that houses this type of development, and others, that indicate which ones have conflicts or in which areas there are basic services or not, and this way the customer can compare.
Kalycho Escoffié, a specialist in housing law, indicated that in Yucatan we are in a “real estate bubble”, there are warning signs that indicate this: the increase in the price of land, the sale and resale of land, the expansion of developments and investment lots, among other signs.
Escoffié, who is also an activist in defense of human rights, points out that this has generated negative social, environmental, and urban impacts, a situation that has distorted the growth of cities. While the state and municipal governments, instead of directing urban policies and planning, have become managers that facilitate real estate developments to implement their projects; these, in turn, decide based on speculation, where cities or urban centers should be created.
Source: La jornada maya
The Yucatan Times Newsroom