The Vallarta/Nayarit region had another record year for real estate sales, bettering 2017 by 30% with over $360 million in sales. Two-thirds of those sales were for condominiums with just under 30% for homes.

These numbers were provided by MLSVallarta and Jonathon Smart at Riviera Partners Realty, which he obtained from the MLS system of the local real estate association, (AMPI), and together provide a reasonable assessment of the local real estate market. “Reasonable” as it doesn’t include all sales - a few of real estate developments are not members of either service and therefore their sales are not included. And it seems the farther you get away from the center of Puerto Vallarta, further up the coast of Nayarit, the less sales are reported.

Punta Mita, for instance, had a great season with over $65 million in sales, but few of these were included in MLS numbers. If this region’s sales, and those of non-member developers were included, total sales would probably be somewhere in the $450-$500 million.

From what is reported, though, some interesting information can be extracted. One is that the average condominium sales price increased in 2018 by 3% to $282,00 from $275,000 in the previous year. Even more interesting, however, was that the average size of a sold condominium is getting smaller - in 2017 the average size was 1,520 f2 whereas in 2018 it was 1,415 f2 - shrinking by 8%.

Why are condominiums getting smaller?

This is currently a development, new-product driven market. It is also a market driven by a demand for less expensive units - people have less money or want to spend less on a second home. In 2007, at the top of the market, the average sales price for a condominium was $400,000 and the average size was over 2,000 f2. The average condominium sold today is nearly 30% smaller compared to ten years ago, and the average price is 30% less expensive. It seems the market is demanding cheaper product and the developers are delivering that by providing smaller units.

Further evidence that sales prices are lower is that 50% of the sales in 2018 were sold for under $250,000; nearly 90% were under $500,000, leaving just over 2% selling for over $1 million. That 2% includes both homes and condominiums.

If we consider sold information by price-per-square-foot, (or m2), however, we find that the average condominium sold for $180 f2 ($1,936 m2) in 2017, but $200 f2 ($2,152 m2) in 2018. Meaning condominiums today may seem less expensive compared to what they were in 2017, but you actually are getting less real estate for your dollar. In fact, real estate prices for condos have actually gone up 10% over the past year.

There are properties selling for over $1 million but they tend to be limited to the Punta de Mita region at the northern point of the bay in Nayarit. Nearly all the sales that took place there in 2018 were for over one million, with one property going for as high as $7 million.

Most popular regions

The most popular region, in terms of number of sales was once again Emiliano Zapata, (or also known as the Romantic Zone), in Central Vallarta, responsible for nearly 25% of sales reported in 2018, (except for those in Punta Mita). The next most popular was the Hotel Zone (20%), followed by Nuevo Vallarta and the South Shore tied at 11% each.

In short, Puerto Vallarta has become a market for very reasonably priced real estate with the number of sales taking place increasing every year over the past ten years. And it continues to be driven by developers who are building smaller units to remain competitive, primarily in the south side of downtown Vallarta. There’s development taking all around the shores of Banderas Bay, but downtown Vallarta remains the favorite, with other areas, such as Marina Vallarta and Bucerias, recently seeing a large increase in new development taking place.