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Buying a property in Lake Chapala: a complete guide

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property investment Lake Chapala

Yes, the analysis of Lake Chapala's property market is included in our pack

Thinking of investing in real estate in Lake Chapala? You're not alone!

Many people are drawn to Lake Chapala's serene beauty and fantasize about owning a lakeside villa or a modern apartment in this region.

Does it make sense, though? Are property prices increasing in the region of Lake Chapala? How much does it cost? Should you consider investing in Ajijic or Chapala? What are the property taxes? Where are the best yields?

We know the answers.

At TheLatinvestor, we've done our homework and know this market well. As a matter of fact, we've gathered all our findings in a pack. Get it now.

In the lines below, we will share some of this knowledge.

How's the property market in the region of Lake Chapala?

Is the property market on an upward trend or a downward trend? Let's examine the data.

Types of properties

Properties for sale in Lake Chapala can be categorized into various types.

These include charming lakeside homes with picturesque views, cozy and affordable condos perfect for retirees, spacious villas offering luxury and privacy, traditional Mexican-style houses with vibrant cultural vibes, and vacant land opportunities for those seeking to build their dream home.

Whether you're looking for a tranquil retreat, a vibrant cultural experience, or a place to invest, Lake Chapala offers a diverse range of property options to suit different preferences and lifestyles.

Better to buy or rent?

(If you're purchasing for personal use and not for renting)

Whether you're considering settling near Lake Chapala in Mexico or already living there, you might be wondering about the advantages of buying versus renting a property in this scenic area.

Usually, buying is better than renting in the Lake Chapala region due to the availability of affordable properties, the low cost of living, and the potential for appreciation.

On the other hand, if you value flexibility, renting might be the better choice.

Property prices in the region of Lake Chapala

On average, according to the updated data from National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), purchasing a property in the region of Lake Chapala would cost you around $4,000 per square meter.

There are significant differences, clearly. A lakeside property in Lake Chapala may have a different price per square meter than a mountain retreat. We actually give you a more detailed breakdown in our pack for buying property in the region of Lake Chapala and in Mexico.

To put things in perspective, it means that, instead of buying an apartment in New York, you can get 3 properties in the region of Lake Chapala.

Also it's good to know that housing prices in the region of Lake Chapala are similar to the prices in Mexico City.

The most expensive places in the region of Lake Chapala are probably Ajijic and Chapala, while the cheapest areas are probably San Juan Cosalá and San Antonio Tlayacapan.

Lake Chapala Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Mexico is, today, a relatively stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 70.3.

It is something to have in mind when wondering whether it's a good investment to buy a property in the region of Lake Chapala.

Also, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mexico's economy is expected to soar by 8.3% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.7%.

If you want to invest in real estate in the region of Lake Chapala it's a good thing because, usually, when the economy grows, people make more money, and this encourages them to invest in real estate, which drives up the demand and prices for properties.

Also, in Mexico, the average GDP per capita has changed by -3.6% over the last 5 years. It's not a good number.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Mexico right now.

Buying property in the region of Lake Chapala

Buying real estate in the region of Lake Chapala can be difficult due to the lack of reliable and updated information about the market. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in the region of Lake Chapala and in Mexico.

Buying process

Within our pack, we have outlined the complete buying process. This includes the necessary documents, the applicable taxes, as well as information about where to locate properties, and more.

Here, we are providing you with a simpler version to assist you in better comprehending the information.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Lake Chapala:

  1. Research Lake Chapala's real estate market and understand local regulations.
  2. Engage a real estate agent experienced in Lake Chapala properties.
  3. Tour properties and consider factors like view, proximity to the lake, and amenities.
  4. Conduct inspections for potential issues like water quality and structural integrity.
  5. Request and review the "escritura" (property deed) to verify ownership and any existing liens.
  6. Negotiate the purchase price and terms, keeping in mind the "avalúo" (property appraisal).
  7. Hire a Mexican notary to draft the "contrato de compraventa" (purchase contract).
  8. Secure financing or transfer funds to a Mexican bank account in pesos.
  9. Sign the official contract, pay a deposit, and provide necessary identification documents.
  10. Perform due diligence with the notary, ensuring all legal requirements are met.
  11. Complete the transaction, pay the remaining balance, and transfer ownership in front of the notary.
  12. Register the property with the Public Property Registry and obtain the "escritura" with your name as the new owner.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Mexico.

Make a profitable investment in Lake Chapala

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property in Lake Chapala

Where to find a property

Discover your ideal property in Lake Chapala by exploring these websites.

  • Mexico Real Estate Group - Specializes in luxury properties in Mexico, catering to international buyers and investors.
  • Top Mexico Real Estate - A professional agency dedicated to assisting American and Canadian buyers in finding dream homes in Mexico.
  • Bay Realty Mexico - A local agency with 15+ years of experience in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit real estate market.
  • Cochran Real Estate - A boutique agency specializing in assisting buyers and sellers in Jalisco and Nayarit, Mexico.
  • Green Realty Mexico - Offering a selection of real estate services for the area.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Mexico.

Which properties for which budget?

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in the region of Lake Chapala is $4,000. A one-bedroom property with an area of 60 square meters would cost approximately $240,000, and a two-bedroom property with an area of 85 square meters would be approximately $340,000.

However, prices will differ based on the attributes of the property and its specific location.

Top-tier locations in the region of Lake Chapala typically mean higher property valuations. A villa in Ajijic might cost you around $970,000, while a property in Chapala could be priced at $430,000.

Still, some spots are easier on your budget. You may find a house in San Antonio Tlayacapan for $310,000, or an apartment in a remote area priced only at $60,000.

We give a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in Mexico.

Common mistakes

Here are the main pitfalls specific to buying a property in Lake Chapala, Mexico:

  • Ejido land issues: Be cautious of properties on communal land (ejido), as ownership rights may not be fully secured.
  • Fideicomiso complexities: For non-Mexican buyers in restricted zones, understand the trust (fideicomiso) process.
  • Water rights: Ensure water access and rights are properly documented, as water scarcity can be an issue.
  • Permit delays: Expect bureaucratic delays when obtaining construction permits and approvals.
  • Ejidal assemblies: Be aware of potential community decisions impacting your property.
  • Property boundary disputes: Hire a qualified surveyor to avoid boundary conflicts with neighbors.
  • Capital gains tax: Understand tax implications when selling property as a foreigner.
  • Unfinished developments: Research developer credibility and completion history to avoid investing in abandoned projects.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate Mexico

Everything you need to know is included in our Mexico Property Pack

Living in the region of Lake Chapala

Living in the Lake Chapala region offers a peaceful, tranquil lifestyle with a great climate, and plenty of activities and amenities for those who want to purchase property there.

Cost of living

The cost of living in the region of Lake Chapala is very low compared to other areas in Mexico and North America. It is possible to live comfortably on a budget, with many goods and services costing significantly less than in other parts of the world.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Lake Chapala, Mexico:

  • "Pulque" (traditional Mexican drink) at a local cantina: $2-$4.
  • Rent for a charming house in Ajijic: $600-$1,000/month.
  • Dinner for two at "CocinArt" restaurant in Chapala: $30-$50.
  • Local beer "Cerveza Chapala" (six-pack): $5-$8.
  • Neighborhood "Riberas del Pilar" property purchase price per square meter: $800-$1,500.
  • Weekly yoga classes at "Lake Chapala Society": $5-$10.
  • "Tejuino" (refreshing local drink) from a street vendor: $1-$2.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice at the market: $1-$2.


Since we want to present information clearly, we've made a table that explains the different areas around Lake Chapala. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Place Description Strengths Weaknesses


A charming lakeside town with a vibrant expat community, offering picturesque views, cultural events, and a variety of property options.

Lively expat community, beautiful scenery, diverse property choices.

Higher property prices due to demand, traffic congestion.


The largest town on the lake, providing a more authentic Mexican experience, affordable property prices, and a pleasant climate.

Affordable properties, local culture, mild climate.

Limited entertainment options, potential language barrier.


A tranquil and traditional Mexican town, offering a laid-back lifestyle, stunning lake views, and emerging investment opportunities.

Serene atmosphere, lake views, emerging investment potential.

Limited amenities, slower appreciation rates.

San Juan Cosalá

A peaceful village known for its hot springs and therapeutic spas, attracting retirees and health-conscious investors.

Hot springs, wellness-oriented market, peaceful environment.

Smaller property market, limited commercial activities.

San Antonio Tlayacapan

A lively town with a mix of Mexican and expat residents, featuring local markets, art galleries, and proximity to Ajijic.

Blend of cultures, artistic community, convenient location.

Some areas may have noise issues, competitive property market.

Life in the region of Lake Chapala

The economy of Lake Chapala is largely based on tourism and agriculture. The region also has a large expat community, which contributes significantly to the local economy through the services and goods they provide.

What expats usually like the most in the region of Lake Chapala is its warm climate, friendly locals, and abundance of outdoor activities such as bird watching, fishing, and boating.

Access to healthcare in the region of Lake Chapala is generally good, with many private clinics and hospitals in the area.

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invest real estate in Lake Chapala

Renting out in the region of Lake Chapala

If you're considering purchasing property solely for renting and earning income, you'll find valuable information in this section.


According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in Mexico is 80%, which is rather high.

When people buy in the region of Lake Chapala it's usually to live there, and not to rent out (or at least not to long-term tenants).

If you decide to rent out long-term, you might want to target retirees and expats looking for a peaceful and affordable place to live in the Lake Chapala region. They are likely to be attracted to the area's pleasant climate, low cost of living, and strong expat community.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

House in Ajijic

Retirees and expats

Quaint town charm and lakeside living

$800 - $1500

Condo in Chapala

Retirees and budget-conscious expats

Affordable living and community amenities

$600 - $1200

Villa in San Juan Cosalá

Nature lovers and wellness seekers

Lakeside tranquility and spa experiences

$1000 - $1800

Apartment in Jocotepec

Professionals and commuters

Easy access to nearby towns and workplaces

$500 - $1000

Cottage in Riberas del Pilar

Artists and retirees

Cultural scene and peaceful surroundings

$700 - $1300

House in El Chante

Families and nature enthusiasts

Scenic beauty and family-friendly environment

$900 - $1600

Condo in Villa Nova

Active retirees and golfers

Golf course access and social activities

$1000 - $1700

Now, you will probably ask us about the yields. Unlike for other places, it would be difficult to give you the average rental yields in the region of Lake Chapala due to insufficient long-term rental properties available for analysis. Also, it's quite diverse. For example, rental yields in Ajijic and Chapala are quite different from those in smaller lakeside areas.

Finally, know that, in Mexico, the taxes will be around 25% of the total rental income.


You could also decide to rent short-term to retirees looking for a winter getaway or to tourists wanting to explore the local culture and attractions of the Lake Chapala region.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Ajijic, Chapala, San Juan Cosalá, and Jocotepec, as these are the most popular areas for rental properties in the Lake Chapala region. Additionally, consider looking for properties in the smaller towns like San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mezcala, and San Nicolas de Ibarra, as they offer a more peaceful atmosphere and lower rental prices.

Is it worth buying real estate in Lake Chapala then?

Absolutely, buying a property in Lake Chapala is a fantastic idea if you're retiring or seeking a peaceful, affordable, and community-oriented lifestyle. The region's serene environment, mild climate, and low cost of living make it a retirement paradise.

Property prices are a steal compared to Western markets, allowing you to downsize or invest in a second home without breaking the bank. Plus, Lake Chapala's affordability extends to everyday expenses, making it an attractive destination for those on a fixed income.

There's also the potential for property appreciation, thanks to a stable economy, low property taxes, and a growing expat community. If you're thinking about rental income, the region's appeal to retirees and expats can provide a steady stream of tenants.

On the flip side, if you're planning a short-term stay or value flexibility in your living arrangements, buying property might not be your best bet. Real estate transactions come with costs and commitments that might not align with your needs.

Additionally, if you're uncertain about Mexico's economic stability or the region's growth prospects, it might be wise to hold off on property purchase. While Mexico has shown relative stability, economic conditions can change. There are also property-related risks to consider, like ejido land issues, fideicomiso complexities, and water rights challenges. Without a good grasp of Mexican property law or reliable legal advice, these issues can be daunting.

Lastly, buying property purely for speculative investment might not be wise unless you're well-versed in the local real estate market. While there's potential for appreciation, it's crucial to do thorough research rather than relying on hopes of quick profits.

In short, Lake Chapala can be a real estate gem, but it's essential to align your goals and circumstances with its unique offerings and challenges.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Lake Chapala

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Mexico. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market Lake Chapala

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.