In a historic move, the lower house of the Mexican Congress voted
yesterday to loosen restrictions on foreigners buying property in
The proposed change to the 1917 Constitution
passed in the Chamber of Deputies with a vote of 356-119 and will now
move to the Senate, where it is likely to spark fierce debate.
proposal would change Article 27 of the constitution, which prohibits
foreigners from owning property within 31 miles from the coast and 62
miles from the country's borders. The law forces foreign buyers to use
real-estate Mexican bank trusts known as fideicomiso to purchase and
handle the property.
The bank trusts, established in 1973,
place the property's legal title in the name of a Mexican bank while
allowing the buyer the same rights of ownership given to a Mexican
The reform measure is sponsored by Congressman
Manlio Fabio Beltrones of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Similar
measures have been proposed in the past as a way to encourage tourism
investment from foreign retirees, but not by a political leader as
influential as Mr. Beltrones, according to the Associated Press.
The change would only affect residential property ownership and excludes commercial projects.
opponents are concerned the move would lead to foreign colonization of
the country and "give free rein to foreigners to legally buy up the best
land, and encourage robbery and financial and real estate speculation,"
farmworker group the Union of Indians and the Farmers' Force said.
argue the measure stems from fear of foreign invasion during the 19th
century and the law should be brought up to date.
going on anyway, but with all these foul distortions of having to pay
people off," political science professor Federico Estevez told the