Playa Del Carmen Real Estate, Should You Buy This Year?

Playa Del Carmen Real Estate

What Real Estate is Like in Playa Del Carmen Now

If you are thinking about buying something in Playa Del Carmen, you will no doubt want to know what the real estate market is like now.  We have been writing articles and making videos for our readers for years now, and this is the most UpToDate information for our readers for this year. We do not work in real estate nor sell real estate, so we don’t care if you buy anything.  However, we do care if you do decide to move here because you could be our new neighbors or friends, so we want good information for our readers. The real estate market is always changing and here is what you can expect for this year. We hope you find this helpful.

What things are impacting the real estate market now in Playa Del Carmen?

There are many factors that affect real estate in Playa Del Carmen. Here are some of the negative and positive aspects that are controlling the market now in 2024.

Negative factors

  • Strong Mexican peso. Since 2020 the peso has steadily risen against some of the most common currencies people have when thinking about buying in Playa Del Carmen. This has made many developers put prices in pesos and set the price as such. 
  • Cost of construction. Prices for materials have been going up, especially since the pandemic.  Many costs have gone up 20%, so this is raising prices of real estate. Labor costs and minimum wage have gone up in Mexico, further adding pressure to prices. 
  • Fees and taxes. Many people buy property as an investment in Playa Del Carmen. Renting out the property on a rental platform has been the go-to option to get ROI (return on investment). Fees have been going up for owners and Mexico has moved to make sure taxes are paid on these types of rentals. This is a good move to regulate the market and put everyone on the same footing with paying taxes. However, many have passed these costs onto renters, and nightly prices are on the rise. 
  • Changing markets. Personally, I rarely use Airbnb anymore. And judging by how some of these platforms are growing, more and more people are going back to hotels or other platforms. This has made it harder for some with rental units, that are mainly on one platform. In Playa Del Carmen the two most used platforms are Airbnb and VRBO. Both of these platforms have raised fees and are liked a little less from owners. There are some alternatives in Playa though, there are local vacation rental companies, and some owners use Facebook to promote their properties.  
Condos in Playa Del Carmen
This is the condo complex in Playacar where we filmed part of our video.

Positive factors

  • Level of properties available. Condos and houses have never offered more amenities and services in Playa Del Carmen. Back in the day, condos were more basic and “Mexican” style. Nowadays you can find condos or houses that could make you feel you are in Miami or New York. 
  • Playa Del Carmen is a more mature market. This means that compared to some other destinations in Mexico, Playa Del Carmen is getting more established. There are internationals schools, public services, shopping malls, and more people living in Playa, hence making it more of a livable city. 
  • Overall factors of Playa Del Carmen. Playa Del Carmen overall is a very attractive place to live and visit. Access to the beach, walkability, shopping and sense of community are all strong factors why people choose to live or buy in Playa Del Carmen. 
  • Playa Del Carmen is still a growing city. Playa Del Carmen was once one of the fastest growing places in the world. It has slowed but is still growing, meaning people want to live in Playa and visit. 
  • Influx of federal, state and local money for infrastructure. Most obviously is the new Tren Maya that has a stop in Playa Del Carmen now. 
  • Strong digital nomad community. Even before the pandemic, people were visiting and working remotely. Playa has sealed in part of the captive digital nomad market. This is especially helpful in filling rentals with short- and longer-term rentals. 

Our video overview of real estate in Playa Del Carmen

We try to update and make new videos for you frequently because the market is always changing. Here is our latest video. We hope you enjoy it and find it beneficial. 


Would you like to talk to the realtor in the video?

realtorIf you have questions about any of the properties in this video or would like to talk to Sebastian in our video, below is his email. As you can see in our video, he and his team are very knowledgeable about the area, and we like to tap into that knowledge and share it with you. 

What are the four best areas of Playa Del Carmen to buy in?

There are many diverse areas of Playa Del Carmen for real estate. Depending on your situation, you might want something that is in a quieter area, or you might want a prime location for renting out your property. Here are four basic areas of Playa Del Carmen that are good to look at. There are however many niche neighborhoods, and it is impossible to narrow it down exactly. 

Our map that we made for you is below. If you zoom in a little you will see the colored areas on the map. You can click on each colored area to get a description of it. 

Note: We did color in the Colosio area just north of the downtown. This area does have some new condos and does get some renters. We however feel this is a longer-term investment. The area is slowly changing but because of its history, it will take a while to change. Years ago, locals settled this area in an event called “the invasion“. Property was staked out and divided but not officially. Many places do not have titles, and hence there are a lot of legal issues to overcome before this area can really grow. 


In each area we will post a livability score and a rental score. We hope these can help tell you something about the areas. the higher the livability score is, it means it is better for living in Playa Del Carmen. A higher rental score means it is a good area for a rental. Imagine this as the percentages of people looking at an area and points for positive features and negative points for factors that are not good for renting. 

The Playacar Neighborhood

Playacar is a private gated community that is in two parts. Fase 1 is smaller and is mainly houses and faces the beach. Fase 2 is a large circle around a golf course. Along the beach there are large all-inclusive hotels. The rest of the area is populated by condos and homes. Within Fase 2 there are small shopping centers with a few services. Living in Playacar normally requires having a car.

Our livability score is: 90 Playacar is a beautiful area to live in. It does have some services inside of the neighborhood and others close by. You will need a car living here and you will have a slightly higher costs of living. 

Our Rental score is: 70 Playacar is a well-known area of Playa Del Carmen. So, it does have name recognition and is adjacent to the downtown. The missing 30 points are for: harder access to the beach, not as desirable as the downtown, transportation needed.

Condo in Playacar

Corasol Neighborhood

Corasol is what used to be called Gran Coral. This whole private community was bought by one of the wealthiest persons in Mexico and has been undergoing a transformation. Grand Coral had some condo complexes, all-inclusive hotels, houses and a golf course. Corasol is being developed into beach front condos, villas, and condos overlooking parts of the gold courses. With the new development, they are still committed to keeping 66% of the green spaces. 

The Corasol neighborhood is located on the north end of Playa Del Carmen. It is at the very end of 5th Avenue, and it is possible to connect to the downtown. Living in Corasol would require having a car. 

Our livability score is: 83 This is lower than Playacar because there are more services available in Playacar and it is close to shopping. This will change a little over time as Corasol builds more commercial space. 

Our Rental score is: 67 The Corasol neighborhood is not a known as Playacar for example. Rents overall are much higher in Corasol because it is more of a high-end community. This means you usually get better clients. It still is not the most popular place to rent short term and lack of services in Corasol and transportation keep this score lower. 

Costa Residences Beach Club
The beach club in front of the Costa Residences in Corasol.

Downtown Playa Del Carmen

This is the most popular area of Playa Del Carmen to buy in. It is where most tourist want to be and where many like to live. Everything is pretty close, and this makes it very walkable. You have about 95% of the tourists’ attractions here, so it is a denser and livelier area than the other parts of Playa Del Carmen.  Most of the properties here are condos.  

Most people lineate the downtown as going from the edge of Playacar on the south end to CTM Avenue (Aka 46th Street) and the beach to the highway. Since Playa Del Carmen is moving more north and certain areas of the downtown do not as much to offer in terms of services, we are going to narrow down this area. In our opinion the best area of the downtown is from 12th Street to 40th Street and the beach to 25th Avenue. Right now, the epicenter of the downtown is 34th Street and 10th Avenue. 

Our livability score is:  80 You do have access to the beach, walkability and you are close to many attractions. The missing 20 points is for the noise factor, smaller spaces, and will be costlier to live here compared to the other side of the highway. 

Our Rental score is: 100 The downtown is by far the best area of Playa Del Carmen to have a rental. 

Our video guide to the neighborhoods of the downtown of Playa Del Carmen

We have divided the downtown of Playa Del Carmen into 11 neighborhoods and take you on a tour. We tell you about the areas and what things are good and what things you might want to be mindful of. 


Downtown Playa Del Carmen
The growing downtown of Playa Del Carmen.

The Other Side of the Highway in Playa Del Carmen

The highway refers to the 307 Highway that goes from Cancun down towards Tulum and beyond. It cuts Playa Del Carmen in half physically and is a mental barrier as well. Many people don’t like to rent on the other side of the highway, even if it is a block. So, this demarcation is very prominent in Playa Del Carmen. 

The other side of the highway (west side) is where many planned communities have been built. In general, 90% of these are for low- and middle-class Mexicans. There are however three types of foreigners that buy on this side of the highway. 

  1. Young families with children. Living on the other side of the highway is cheaper and there are some of these planned communities that offer communal pools and playground in addition to affordable options for housing. 
  2. People that want to live in Playa Del Carmen year-round, perhaps retired. 
  3. A few people buy properties for investments but do plan to spend some time there. They do not intend to rent it out all the time. 

Our livability score is90 The high score is deserved here because of having more space, perhaps a yard. There is more a sense of community on this side of the highway because more residents are permanent. You will also have access to local stores and restaurants that will bring down your costs of living. The 10 points missing is because you will need a car and drive places. 

Our Rental score is: 15 The reason for the low score is because a bulk of tourists all want to be downtown or second, on the sides of downtown. Also, since many tourists come for about a week, most do not want to be taking taxis everywhere, or local buses, or rent a car. If you do want to buy on the other side of the highway, and you want to rent out your place some, it is best to have an exact plan on who you plan to rent to and why someone should stay at your place. 

new houses in Playa Del Carmen
A new house being built in Playa Del Carmen on the west side of the 307 Highway.

What are some things that make real estate in Playa Del Carmen different?

It is important to note some of the things that are very different for those shopping in the Playa Del Carmen real estate market. This is not an extensive list but will help you be prepared for some of the things here. 

It is a cash market for real estate purchases

Most transactions are done with cash or full payment. Mortgages and loans are not common since rates and interest are very high for most people. There are a few developers that do payment plans for presales. This means a large deposit, a second payment when half done and the final payment when the property is ready for delivery. If you have questions about the buying process in Mexico, you can see our article here for more details. A good realtor will be able to explain what might work best in your case.  At any rate, everyone should expect to have most of the money liquid and ready for a deposit. 

On a positive note, most properties are paid for here. So, if there is a downturn, people don’t panic and start selling. This keeps the real estate market more stable and helps keep price swings out of the equation. 

Many properties are sold as presales

Presale is when developers offer condos for sale before it is finished or perhaps, even broken ground. The number of properties sold in Playa Del Carmen presale is probably around 65-70%. Developers do this for one of two reasons. 1. Developers do not have the financial resources to finish the project without an infusion of cash via presales. 2. Developers offer units in order for buyers to select best units and select some of the finishes in the interior. 

Because presales are so prevalent in the real estate market here, it is very important to have a good realtor with experience that knows the reputation of developers and can check financial statements to see if the project is sound before you put any money down. 

Low property taxes but fideicomiso 

Property taxes in Mexico are very low compared to most countries. This makes it very easy to own with a lower tax payment each year. This is balanced out however by the fideicomiso that is needed when foreigners buy within 50km of the beach. The fideicomiso is a bank trust that is set up and owners pay an annual fee for the bank to hold the trust. There is one alternative to this, it is setting up a corporation and putting the properties under the ownership of the corporation. This only is beneficial if you are buying multiple properties. 

Property sizes and new vs old condos in Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is not that old, most of what you see has been built in the past 20 years. However, as time marches on, building costs and land have gone up. This has had an impact on what architects are planning for newer condos in Playa Del Carmen. Older condos have a considerable amount of space more than newer condos. 

If you prefer more space, maybe you are looking more to live in Playa Del Carmen, a resale or older condo might be a better option for you. 

Two-bedroom condo in Playa Del Carmen.
A new condo in the downtown of Playa Del Carmen.

No MLS, so how do you search for properties?

Most people will pull up a website that has all the properties listed and search by location or price. In Playa Del Carmen we do not have a multiple listing service here, although rumored it is coming. So how do you go about looking for properties? It is good to surf the web and get a feel for what is available and what prices are like. We will say it is very hard to get all the information from just looking online. Many times, the properties listed do not contain all the information or accurate information. 

Important note: There are different types of real estate agents in Playa Del Carmen. In some condo buildings there are inhouse agents that work there. These will try to sell you only units in the buildings by the developer. Many listings online are by a listing agent representing the seller. Then there are buyers’ agents that represent you and your interests. Usually, the buyer’s agent works best for most people. 

What to Expect for ROI This Year for Real Estate

If you’re like many others, you might plan on renting out your condo or property when you’re not in Playa del Carmen. This approach helps cover expenses and allows you to gauge your return on investment. Over the past decade, the Riviera Maya has yielded impressive rental returns. As you drive around or browse online, you’ll notice numerous new condos being advertised, with developers claiming returns ranging from 8-14% or offering guaranteed returns. However, true guaranteed returns only come with a contract for the first year, and these offers are often more of a sales tactic than a reflection of actual results. So, what can you realistically expect?

You probably won’t hear this many places, but here is the truth for this year. About 65-70% of people will get between 0-9 ROI with an average of 4.5%. That is not a lot, but it does cover expenses. Those on the lower end of returns will say they are happy to break even.  This just goes to show that many people are not getting rich off rentals. How do we know this? Well, living here and having many friends that rent out units and by looking at discussions on Facebook. But what you don’t hear on Facebook is the other part of the story. Usually, the people that complain are the people not doing well.

What about the other 30-35% of owners? What do they make on returns? They make between 10-20% ROI on properties. Why does this group make so much more? The reason is below. 

How to get more ROI from a real estate purchase in Playa Del Carmen?

Since there is a much smaller percentage that are doing well with returns on their investments, it is even more important to make smarter real estate decisions. This starts from the beginning to the end of the buying process. Here is the best advice we can give you to set you on the best path of success for returns on a property in Playa Del Carmen. 

For those that are in the top 30-35% earners of ROI, besides the things mentioned below, they also buy beachfront. Beachfront is more expensive but always in demand for rentals. Often, the more you spend or invest, the larger percentage of return you get. See example below:

Buy a property for $200,000 USD (return of 6%, $12,000 USD a year). Buy a property for $400,000 USD (return of 10%, $40,000 USD a year). The more expensive property outperformed the lower priced property by 4%. Even if you had two properties of $200,000 USD each, you would only make $24,000 USD a year and that is double the work and $16,000 USD less a year than one property of $400,000 USD. This is just a typical example that is often seen in Playa Del Carmen. 

Here is the secret formula to give you the best odds for better returns

These are all tips and things we have observed good investors applying to investment strategies over the past 15 years here. 

  • It all starts with a good realtor. There are many decent/average realtors in Playa Del Carmen. People can even use average realtors and be happy because they don’t know what a really good real estate agent is. They may even refer people to their realtors. However, the number of excellent realtors and super informed people is a much lower percentage in Playa Del Carmen. Personally, we would not work with a realtor with less than 8 years’ experience here, and more than 10 years’ experience is even better. The reason you need someone with experience is because you need to know the history of Playa and how it has developed and how it is developing. Also, with experience is the knowledge of developers and knowing who has a good reputation here in Playa Del Carmen. 
  • Know your market. Who do you want to attract for renters? Who are the best target audiences for you to rent to? Knowing a general plan from start to finish will give you a direction to go in and streamline your goals. 
  • Buy early in a presale. This is one of the best ways to buy for a lower price. Buying from a reputable developer when they just release a project allows you to select the best unit and have the ability to select some finishes. You might be able to pay about 20% less for the same unit that will be sold 6 months later. There are a few other possible options for buying property that sets you up for better returns, but this is the main one. There are risks with this type of purchase, and again, why you need a great realtor. 
  • Have cash ready. Most of the real estate market in Playa Del Carmen is cash sales. Presales will often have a 3-part payment plan. The larger the deposit, the lower the overall costs. Having liquidity can also have you primed for when to transfer money at the better exchange rate. 
  •  Buy in the typically more rented areas of Playa Del Carmen. This usually means the downtown. Buy a unit with a private pool or special feature that makes it stand out. Three-bedroom units plus and/or a penthouse unit are usually the better money makers. The reason is there is less competition for 3 bedrooms or more units. Also, the value that people get from an Airbnb over a hotel is for families or groups that want to stay together. Lock off units are also a good option for investors. A lock off is taking a two- or three-bedroom condo and having the ability to close off one room and rent it separately. This means you can tap into the one-, two- and three-bedroom markets when you want. 
  • Buy in a new building. Often the newer buildings have better rooftops and have the latest things that attract people to rent there. Some savvy investors buy condos and sell the same unit a few years later. Then they buy a new condo again to have a trendy rental property. 
  • Design your unit to stand out. If you cannot do it yourself, hire a designer to set up your rental unit. Buying a unit that is furnished by the developer or standard service will only mean you have a standard rental. Great photos and good design help get your place noticed online and rented more. 
  • Determine the best management option for you. You have about three options for management of your property on Playa Del Carmen. 1. You manage it. This can work if you plan on also living in the area or can have good contacts locally to do legwork. 2. In house management. This is where the building has an internal management. 3. Hire a management company. Each of these has benefits and disadvantages. A really good realtor can help guide you on this decision.

If you follow this formula for selecting and buying a rental unit in Playa Del Carmen, you will be much better positioned to be in the top 30% of owners making better returns on your investment. 

The BEST Kind of ROI

Of course, if you are going to move to the Playa Del Carmen area, your best return is going to be on your quality of life. Sometimes the focus is all about the rental income or possibility of rental income that people forget one of the best reasons to move to the area. Playa Del Carmen offers a great year-round climate, international feel, somewhat lower costs of living, and it is close to many natural wonders. For many, Playa Del Carmen offers a great lifestyle that is only about a four-hour flight from many cities in the USA and Canada. 

Pool in Playa Del Carmen
Amenities like pools and club houses are things you can find in planned neighborhoods on the other side of the 307 Highway.


Thank you for reading and watching our latest guide to real estate in Playa Del Carmen. As stated in the video, here at our website, we do not sell real estate. We do however like to have useful information for our readers, and we do bring on local experts that know the market and can give good information to our readers. Sebastian is someone that many of our readers have worked with and we get many positive comments. So, we do not have a problem sharing this information with you. We hope you have found this information helpful. If you have more questions about real estate, you can search through our articles online because we do have many articles about different aspects of real estate.  If you do need assistance with the whole buying process, Sebastian and his team are available to help. Below is his direct email. If emailing, it is good to include information concerning what areas you are looking at, timeframe, type of property you are looking for and a phone number and the best time to reach you if you would like to talk.



Rooftop pool in Playa Del Carmen
A view from a rooftop of a new condo building in the downtown of Playa Del Carmen.


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