Angle: Mexico City suffers from flood of American domestic workers and rising rents | Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Catholic statue clad in white and praying stands in a corner of a park surrounded by some of Mexico City’s trendiest cafes and restaurants. He is said to be a patron saint who rejects gentrification (the gentrification of the area due to the influx of high income people).

On September 13, large numbers of visitors from all over the world pour into the city’s cafes, parks and private accommodation facilities. Pictured are people working on their laptops in a coffee shop in Mexico City. (Reuters/Raquel Cunha)

Created by Mexican activist Sandra Valenzuela. He said he believed Mexico City was a growing threat to his community and the rest of the world, and he built the statue to unite his neighbors against it.

The city’s cafes, parks and private accommodation facilities are flooded with visitors from all over the world. The majority of them are Americans, remote workers who have been freed from their daily commute due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost 2 million foreigners arrived at Mexico City International Airport in the first half of 2022. This is close to the 2.5 million recorded in the first half of 2019. Demand for short-term rentals in Mexico City increased by 44% during this period, according to market research firm AirDNA, which analyzes online rental listings.

Writer and content creator Marco Ayling, who lives in Mexico City, walks through the popular Condesa district. The area is lined with ‘property to rent’ signs alternating with swanky cafes and vegetarian restaurants.

Eyring is from San Diego, California. “If you can earn in dollars and spend in pesos, it’s certainly very advantageous,” he said. “It has effectively tripled my income.”

But housing activists and some researchers believe the influx of “digital nomads” in Mexico City, known for its wide gap between rich and poor, has accelerated inflation and led to many areas opening up to foreigners. . transformed into a high-end “bubble”.

Rafael Garneros, president of the Condesa neighborhood, said there is dissatisfaction among residents in upscale neighborhoods like Condesa and Roma. Homeowners are increasingly looking to earn 25,000 Mexican pesos ($1,500) a month by renting out their properties through short-term rental brokerage sites like Airbnb, displacing long-time residents.

In 2020, the top 10% of Mexico City households earned more than 13 times more income than the bottom 10%, according to Mexico’s Statistics Authority. But the income gap between the United States and Mexico is so great that even wealthy residents of Mexico City could find themselves unable to pay their rent.

In August 2022, the average price for a short-term rental in Mexico City was $93 per day, up 27% from August 2019, according to data from AirDNA. Although the Mexican government stopped publishing average rents in 2018, rents in Mexico City fell slightly during the year between December 2020 and December 2021, according to a study conducted by property site Ramdi.

However, there has been little research on average rents since telecommuting has increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One afternoon in August, Juan Coronado slips into a booth in a tree-lined restaurant, opens his laptop, and prepares to eat and do some work.

Coronado, an architect and interior designer who splits his time between Los Angeles and Mexico City, said he understands the anger of locals.

“I’m not riding for free. I’m contributing to the local economy,” said Coronado. “For the local people, however. … The fact that I work here doesn’t change the fact that rents are going up.”

In Mexico City, a law allows landlords to raise rents by only 10 percent a year. But conflicts are rare and the short-term rental market is out of the question.

Residents have pointed out not only the increase in rents, but also the subtle changes in the area, such as foreigners becoming more welcoming than locals.

“I can’t even get a good night’s sleep,” said Quetzal Castro, a resident of Condesa. Condesa has become a thriving nightlife hub, and friends say they have left the city.

“Digital nomads” are described as people who work remotely on the move. These people have a different impact on the local economy than traditional travelers, says David Waxmus, a professor at McGill University in Canada who studies gentrification.

“Digital natives” are more likely to settle in residential neighborhoods, spending money on local businesses, Waxmus said. But it also creates a demand for services that long-time residents don’t find worthwhile. “For example, a grocery store turns into a restaurant.”

While workers in Mexico City earn an average hourly wage of 53 Mexican pesos ($3.50), and the lifestyle enjoyed by the “digital nomads” is out of reach for most, Eyring, who’ n comes from San Diego, is a foreigner. the affection people have for Mexico’s capital is a bright spot.

“It’s not just drugs, violence and poverty,” Eyring said. “There is a beautiful side to this country and everyone appreciates that.”

(Reporter Alberto Fajardo, Reporter Roberto Ramirez, Reporter Josue Gonzalez, Translated by Erclaren)

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