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Puerto Morelos, Mexico landmark Is Puerto Morelos one of the next hot U.S. real estate markets for vacation homes? Bigwigs from Redfin, Door Dash and other investors are betting on it and other Quintana Roo cities appealing to U.S. buyers. deposit photos

Seattle-based startup to create online listings portal for Mexican real estate

With United States vacation home prices sky-high, Far Homes aims to attract those who've been priced out

A United States-based real estate startup has launched a website with more than 200 listings of properties for sale in Mexico.

“Buying in Mexico, made simple,” reads a message across the top of the Far Homes website.

“Whether you’re looking for luxury or just want something affordable near the beach, our wide selection of homes means you’re bound to find something within your budget,” the company says.

“And our team of English-speaking experts are here to answer questions and walk you through the buying process so you can decide what’s best for you.”

Far Homes founders left to right: Max Blumen, Chet Kittleson and Molly Braeunig
From left to right, Far Homes founders Max Blumen, Chet Kittleson and Molly Braeunig. Far Homes

Founded by three former employees of the Seattle-based real estate company Redfin, Far Homes is currently focused exclusively on the Quintana Roo market, with listings for Cancún, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Akumal. Prices range from about US $100,000 to $3 million.

Far Homes, which is also based in Seattle, announced last week that it had raised an initial investment of $2.25 million to “simplify international home buying and selling.”

Among the investors are venture capital fund PSL Ventures, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman and Evan Moore, cofounder of food delivery company DoorDash. The company said it would focus first on Mexico, “with plans to expand to additional markets.”

Far Homes CEO Chet Kittleson told the technology and business news website Geek Wire that Mexico is an attractive market for American real estate investors because prices are cheaper than those in the United States. He said his team detected a notable increase in online searches for homes in Mexico in recent months as many U.S. companies announced work-from-home policies.

Another real estate company said in August that Google searches for real estate-related keywords for Mexico had increased by almost 60% in the last 12 months. Point 2 Homes also said that Mexico had retained its title as “the king of vacation destinations and locations for second homes” for United States citizens.

Kittleson, who founded Far Homes with Max Blumen and Molly Braeunig, said that people who can work remotely are increasingly interested in moving to coastal destinations, such as those in the Riviera Maya of Quintana Roo.

Ben Gilbert, cofounder and managing director of PSL Ventures, said in a statement that “the Far Homes team has identified a clear opportunity in the market.”

“While many now have the flexibility to work from anywhere, most Americans are still priced out of buying a vacation home in the U.S. It’s a no-brainer for many of these folks to buy internationally instead, but [doing so] is too complex today,” he said.

Far Homes is collaborating with about 25 real estate agents in Mexico in order to obtain listings aimed at buyers north of the Mexico-U.S. border. The company “makes its money by charging these realtors when they close a deal through the platform,” Geek Wire reported.

There are already large populations of foreigners — including many U.S. citizens — in several Mexican cities, such as Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City. Another city that has attracted Americans, including homebuyers, is Tijuana, from where residents can commute to jobs in San Diego and thus earn in dollars while paying their mortgage or rent in pesos.

“Stories of migrants crossing from Mexico to the United States in search of a better life are well-known,” The New York Times said in a recent report about San Diego residents moving across the border to Tijuana. “But for the past decade, a reverse migration has quietly been gaining steam: Americans, priced out of the housing market and frustrated with sky-high costs of health care, electricity and basic goods, are increasingly opting to rent or buy homes in Mexico.”

With reports from Geek Wire

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