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House hunting in Mexico

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This four-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath penthouse is in San Pedro Garza García, an upscale suburb of Monterrey, the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León, Mexico.

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A Four-Bedroom Penthouse Outside Monterrey

$4.1 million

This four-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath penthouse is in San Pedro Garza García, an upscale suburb of Monterrey, the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León, Mexico. The 4,843-square-foot residence sits atop an undulating, mixed-used building named High Park, designed by the Mexico City-based firm Rojkind Arquitectos and completed in 2015.

The apartment, which occupies the building’s 10th floor and roof, was formed by joining two penthouses for greater space and privacy. It includes an exclusive two-level roof deck that has a swimming pool and views of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range to the south.

The front door opens into a large living room with two seating and entertaining areas divided by a free-standing wall. Most of the furniture is from Roche Bobois, and the residence is being sold completely furnished, said the seller, Gil Stroming, a dance producer.

One side of the living room has a large, pale sectional and a bar topped with black marble, while the other side has a dark gray sectional, a television and a baby grand piano and drum set. The dark, wide-plank floors and earth-toned walls and furnishings give the interior a modern rustic aesthetic, while the floor-to-ceiling windows bathe it in natural light.

“It’s an awesome space for parties,” Stroming said of the penthouse.

There is a half bath near the entrance, as well as a guest bedroom with a large en suite bathroom. From the bar, a door leads to the generous master suite, which has a sitting area and large pull-down shades covering a wall of windows. The master bath, with marble floors, and bedroom share a private terrace.

Opposite the master suite, the dining room connects to an open kitchen with stainless-steel appliances and a granite countertop. Adjacent to the kitchen are an en suite guest bedroom and a small en suite staff bedroom, as well as a hallway with storage and a laundry area. On the other side of the dining room, a cozy lounging corner is accented with white bricks and dark beams, and outfitted with candles, throw pillows and a constellation of hanging ceiling bulbs. A sliding-glass door opens to an expansive terrace, with dining and lounging areas, offering views of Monterrey and the mountains in the distance.

The rooftop terrace includes an infinity pool on a raised deck, two hot tubs, a billiard table, a kitchen and several covered eating spaces. Two sets of stairs — inside, near the front door, and outside, by the kitchen — lead up from the penthouse.

The property comes with four below-ground parking spaces. The building has a gym, a billiard and game room, a bar, a sauna, and entertaining and catering spaces.

“It’s a very high-end boutique building, so there’s a lot of personal care,” Stroming said.

Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city, is known as the industrial and economic center of the country’s northern region, as well as a hub for modern art and culture. The suburb of San Pedro Garza García, part of the Monterrey metropolitan area, offers a wealth of retail and restaurants, all a short walk from High Park. (The building itself includes two levels of retail spaces.) Barrio Antiguo, Monterrey’s historic district, and the city center, with its museums and parks, are about 5 miles east, while Monterrey International Airport is about 20 miles away.

Market Overview

With a population of about 1.2 million in the city and 4.5 million in the greater metropolitan area, Monterrey is one of Mexico’s largest and most active real estate markets, with some of its most expensive properties, agents said.

The state of Nuevo León saw more than 40,000 home sales between January and August of 2018 — a huge portion of Mexico’s approximately 145,000 sales nationwide during that period — according to an October market report published by Realty World Mexico, an agency with offices across the country.

Buyers gravitated toward older and more affordable units, and also toward rental properties rather than purchases, in part because of rising inflation, said Jorge Paredes, the chief executive of Realty World Mexico and the report’s author.

But Monterrey’s luxury properties also performed well. Between January and August, sales of the highest priced properties in Nuevo León increased more than 6 percent over the same period in 2017, Paredes wrote, while luxury sales dropped almost 8 percent across Mexico.

As the region’s economy continues to develop, more executives are buying properties in Monterrey’s best neighborhoods and suburbs, agents said. Most prized is San Pedro Garza García, just outside the city center, where real estate prices are among the highest in Mexico.

Gerardo Gutierrez, chief executive of Gerencia RED, a national real estate agency, said prices of luxury properties there typically range from $1 million to $6 million. Prices in desirable areas of Monterrey have increased sharply in the past two years, he said, from about $2,000 to $3,000 a square meter ($185 to $285 a square foot), because of rising demand.

Maria Fernanda Camacho Bermudez, managing directorof Century 21 Camber, an agency in Monterrey, pointed to other high-end neighborhoods, including Las Estancias and La Herradura, within the city, and Las Misiones, a suburb. Luxury properties there go for about $1.24 million to $1.98 million, she said, while the average for the city is around $200,000.

The city’s real estate stock has been shifting in recent years, she added, from predominantly “horizontal” designs to more “vertical” developments that include both residential and office towers.

Who Buys in Monterrey

There aren’t many foreigners buying homes for vacation or retirement in Monterrey, agents said. And foreigners who move to the city for work usually do so on a contract basis, so they rent.

Bermudez estimated that only about 10 to 20 percent of her agency’s buyers are from outside Mexico, noting that the number includes buyers of commercial, industrial and residential properties.

Gutierrez said about 15 percent of the luxury home buyers he sees in Monterrey are foreign, most of them from the United States, South Korea and China, usually relocating for work.

Buying Basics

There are restrictions on foreigners buying real estate within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of Mexico’s coasts and 100 kilometers (62 miles) of its international borders, unless the property is bought through a trust. Monterrey, about 100 miles from the U.S. border and 200 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is not subject to those restrictions, but buyers must obtain a permit from the foreign affairs ministry, said Miguel Angel Valdes Faz, a partner with Arizpe, Valdes and Marcos, a Monterrey law firm. The process takes about a month.

Notaries handle real estate transactions, but he recommended hiring a bilingual attorney to ensure the title is clear. There are “small details that have to be looked at by a Mexican attorney, and very often a bilingual attorney will be more helpful with foreign individuals,” he said.

Websites

— Monterrey tourism: visitmexico.com

— Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art: marco.org.mx

— Museum of Mexican History: mexicoescultura.com

Languages and Currency

Spanish; Mexican peso (1 peso = $.05)

Taxes and Fees

Annual property taxes are 17,000 pesos (about $834), Stroming said, and the monthly condominium fee is 31,000 pesos ($1,520).

Contact

Beatriz Ramirez, Monterrey Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-52-81-1611-7166; monterreysir.com

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Roxana Popescu © 2018 The New York Times

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