Thursday, July 31, 2008

Low Cost Mexican Housing - Casas de Interes Social


Some people have asked what low-income Mexicans do for housing. Buying a piece of land and building a little at a time has been the normal way in the past. However, today many more Mexicans are formally employed and have greater access to credit. Fonavit is one of the options many worker have when it comes to home loans.
Fonavit is similar to FHA loans. It is a one-time loan where the worker has to earn points from working. This is accumulative just like Social Security credits. Once credits are earned, they can be combined with a spouses and a loan of up to 500,000 pesos can be obtained. This applies to all Mexicans and is a program guaranteed by the federal government. Some middle and upper class workers use this loan in combination with a standard home loan from a bank paying a lower fixed-interest rate with no loan amount limit depending on income.

So what happens if you only earn 300 dollars a month? If you are formally employed and registered with social security, you are entitled to a home loan. What do you get for that kind of money? Here is the list, it is meager, very small but is a starter home and it is a decent shelter. The house is complete in terms of windows, doors, bathroom and floor tile. There are no kitchen cabinets or appliances.

Imperial Home Plan (located on the outskirts of Monterrey) Priced at 20,000 dollars

•1 story

•18ft by 45ft lot

•460 sq ft of construction

•1 bedroom

•1 tv room

•1 complete bath •living room/dining room •kitchen •parking area •outside laundry area•Small grassy area

This has a double-edged sword. One, it brings some semblance of organization to city planning and provides dignified living conditions forcing rules for construction and building materials. The other side is that it creates high-density areas. These areas can become conflictive as young couples have children and become teenagers. My first house here 20 some odd years ago was interes social, but it was a lower-middle class one bedroom and added a second bedroom, purchased the empty corner lot next door to make a big yard. It was a nice neighborhood and we are still friends with some of our ex-neighbors. Some can be very nice and the price ranges, home styles, levels of living run from 20,000 dollars up to 50,000 dollars which can be very nice and even gated communities. The only problem, at least in the expensive Monterrey area is the small lot size leading to high density.

Also, you can imagine, the living space would be or is very difficult for two adults and two children at least on the lower end of the spectrum.


  1. I continue to be impressed by the Social Programs offered by the Mexican Government. The USA and Canada could do well to emulate Mexico in many of these programs.

    These tiny homes can be made quite pleasant to live in. We were in Lee's Mazatlan Casa which she has made into a beautiful home by incorporating the outside areas.

  2. There are many type of loans available in the market. Its very important to examine all your options first before settling with your final choice. Thanks for the info!