Merida, Yucatan (28 July 2021) – Investment lots are a new form of scam in Yucatan. Various companies and developers offer “attractive” land at affordable prices just minutes from the beach or in the countryside near the state capital.
In most cases, these projects show an uncertain future, even though they are being promoted as excellent investment opportunities. Urban development analysts and activists warn that people from other parts of the country or from abroad are being “cheated”.
According to experts, many of these plots are lands without a legal basis, these are communal lands (ejido), there are conflicts between communities, in addition to the fact that they are practically in the wilderness, where it is very difficult to provide basic public services; all this to the complacency (or complicity) of the municipal and state authorities who issue land use permits.
Nowadays, signs for the sale of parcels and investment lands, often with Mayan names, are often seen on Peripherico in Merida or on the roads of various municipalities throughout the state. There are even those who have chosen to be “real estate consultants” by offering this type of investment and selling it through social media using the number of followers on their accounts.
Experts say we are facing a “real estate bubble” that could burst at any moment and affect many people and their economies.
Eduardo Monsreal Toraya, member of the Observatory for Sustainable Mobility in Merida, pointed out that there is a problem in the regulation of land use, starting with how the appropriate licenses are issued. Many of these projects are located far from Merida, and the authorities of each municipality where they are established have tremendous flexibility.
He clarified that most municipalities lack urban planning tools, the only reference that exists at the state level is the Territorial Environmental Reorganization Program; however, it only covers some areas. Thus, in many cases, the possibility of building these properties is in doubt.
The mobility specialist noted that the criteria used in assessing urban environmental feasibility are inadequate, and this is just the beginning of a number of problems.
Although he stressed that, according to municipal regulations, these projects are susceptible to urban settlements, this does not mean that they are suitable for urbanization, as they have to go through a number of procedures: the expediency of utilities, electricity, water, which, according to him, in most cases are not performed.
In his experience, in most cases this is a division of plots, a cadastral division, but there are urbanization projects. “This is largely done by the municipalities, which, in their opinion, determine whether it is prone to urbanization,” he explained.
But in a significant part of the municipalities there are no planning tools, no urban development programs, or they are outdated, the expert added.
In addition, he noted that many of these lands have not gone through a full legal procedure, for example, they are still in the process of changing ownership; even if the documents are in order, from the point of view of the city, it does not have basic services, they are far from settlements. “Since there are no instruments to regulate the territory, anything is possible, because there are no restrictions,” he commented.
Monsreal Toraya pointed out that transparency is necessary as there is no database to know if these projects have permits or not, so whoever buys land, mostly people from outside the state, does so without information. “They are buying land blindly. The alleged developers promise them many things, they take advantage of the ignorance of people, users who are not properly informed about this situation, ”he said.
Added to this is the lack of a state government and the omission of municipalities that have the technical capacity to assess this type of development. From his point of view, in order to regulate this issue, there should be state participation, without interfering with municipal powers, establishing certain rules and “locks” through state laws and, thus, stipulating the authorization of these projects.
At the same time, create a transparency platform that hosts this type of development and others, which indicates which ones have conflicts or which areas are basic services or not, and so the client can compare.
Calicho Escoffier, Housing Law Specialist, pointed out that we are in a “real estate bubble” in the Yucatan, there are warning signs indicating this: rising land prices, land sales and resale, building expansion and investment lots, among others.
Escoffi, who is also a human rights activist, points out that this has led to negative social, environmental and urban impacts that have distorted urban growth. Whereas state and municipal governments, instead of directing city policy and planning, have become managers who promote real estate development for their projects; they, in turn, make guessed decisions about where cities or urban centers should be created.
Source: La jornada maya
The Yucatan Times Newsroom