It’s been a year and a half since readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine voted San Miguel de Allende the No. 1 City in the World, but the effects are still being felt.
According to San Miguel realtor Greg Gunter, the city has witnessed an exponential growth in visitor traffic stemming from Condé Nast designations.
“Visitor traffic in 2014 was substantial,” says Gunter of the tourism publicity, “but this year is exponentially greater, with larger numbers of investors looking for a second home. And many of them are American or Canadian expats.”
It was in the fall of 2013 that readers gave San Miguel the No. 1 ranking. The following year the city dropped in rank but still held on to the fifth best spot internationally. Similar awards by Food and Travel and Travel & Leisure magazines have also boosted awareness of the city internationally.
“Expat population numbers here vary,” Gunter adds, “but with around 16,000 expats, San Miguel has proven a lure to retiring Boomers.” He notes that many expats are looking to invest in a home and lifestyle more suited to their golden years, where staff is affordable and the lifestyle is active. San Miguel more than fits the bill.
Evidence is in the growth of gated communities offering all the amenities expected north of the border — whether it’s New York, Denver or Seattle — at a fraction of the price and with an even more affordable homeowners’ association (HOA) fee.
As an example Gunter points to a 21-home gated luxury project called La Fuente in the center of the city. Home prices start at $595,000 and for an HOA fee of under $300 per month, owners enjoy hotel-style amenities: swimming pool, clubhouse, concierge services, 24-hour on-site security, underground parking, and most importantly, a three-minute walk to the city’s main plaza, the Jardín.
“The European lifestyle — that abundance of joie de vivre — is what draws expats to San Miguel. And never needing a car is essential to that lifestyle.”
Properties in San Miguel, Gunter notes, are valued by their distance to the Jardín, which is the heart of the city, and their sightline to the Parroquia church, the city’s architectural monument.
“Just like Paris values are tied to their sightline of the Eiffel Tower.”