Sunday, October 16, 2005

Silver with a cloudy lining

The front page of today's Sunday Chronicle has an article on Latin American home purchases in Houston:

Security concerns and economic instability in many nations south of the U.S.-Mexico border are driving many Latin Americans to scoop up real estate in the United States, with cities such as Miami, New York and Houston among the most popular markets for foreign investors.

...local real estate agents said Houston is becoming a haven for investors who are worried about the economy of their nations, primarily those from Mexico and South American countries.

Though some Latin Americans prefer to buy condominiums in Miami for the city's beaches or in New York for its designer boutiques, Houston is a hot destination because of its affordable real estate market, upscale shops, respected Medical Center and proximity to their native countries.

With so many airlines connecting to Latin American cities, Houston is popular with investors who want to spend the weekend in their vacation homes in the Bayou City.

"With Houston being so multicultural, it attracts that clientele, especially with us being so close to the border," said Christine Garza Rayburn, of Rayburn & Associates Realty in Houston.

As you can see, it's clearly a "good news/bad news" story. The good news is Houston's attractiveness and the money flowing into local retail and real estate. The bad news is the need to flee bad political and economic conditions in their home countries, best summed up in the final paragraph:
"I always wanted to start my own business, and Houston seemed like a good place to do it," Sanchez said. "Mexico is not a country where I can build a business and have it grow."
On the whole, I'd prefer to give up that money coming into Houston if it could be productively invested in developing Latin American economies, with the benefit to Houston coming from trade rather than elite wealth fleeing instability.

(P.S. - Go 'stros!)


At 8:04 PM, October 17, 2005, Blogger Max Concrete said...

This article in today's Dallas Morning News provides further explanation of this trend.
"Is Mexico turning into Columbia?"


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