Corner: Mexico City Suffers From A Wave Of American Domestic Workers And Rising Rents | Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Catholic statue dressed 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 resists gentrification (gentrification of the area due to the influx of high-income people).

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

Created by Mexican activist Sandra Valenzuela. She said she thought Mexico City was a growing threat to her community and the rest of the world, and built the statue to unite her neighbors against it.

The city’s cafes, parks and private accommodation are overrun with visitors from all over the world. Most of them are Americans, remote workers who have been freed from their daily commute as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Mexico City-based writer and content creator Marco Ayling walks through the popular Condesa neighborhood. The area is lined with “for rent” signs alternating with trendy cafes and vegetarian restaurants.

Eyring is from San Diego, California. “If you can earn in dollars and spend in pesos, it sure is very profitable,” she said. “He has actually tripled my income.”

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But housing activists and some researchers believe that in Mexico City, known for its stark disparity between rich and poor, the influx of “digital nomads” has accelerated inflation and led several districts to open up to foreigners. . turning into a high-end “bubble”.

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

According to the Mexican Statistical Authority, in 2020, the richest 10% of households in Mexico City earned more than 13 times more income than the poorest 10%. But the income gap between the United States and Mexico is so great that even wealthy Mexico City residents may find themselves unable to pay 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 AirDNA data. Although the Mexican government stopped publishing average rents in 2018, rents in Mexico City fell slightly in the year from December 2020 to December 2021, according to a study by real estate site Ramdi.

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

One August afternoon, Juan Coronado sneaks into a booth in a tree-lined restaurant, opens his laptop and gets ready to eat and work.

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

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“I don’t drive for free. I’m contributing to the local economy,” Coronado said. “For the locals, though. The fact that I work here doesn’t change the fact that rents are going up.”

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

Residents have reported not only rising rents, but subtle changes in the area as well, 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 the hub of a vibrant nightlife and friends say they have left the city.

“Digital nomads” are described as people who work remotely while 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 nomads” are more likely to settle in residential neighborhoods, spending money on local businesses, Waxmus said. But it also creates demand for services that longtime residents don’t find rewarding. “For example, a grocery store turns into a restaurant”.

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

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

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

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