MexicoPlaya del Carmen

Playa del Carmen Real Estate Guide for First-time Buyers

Many Riviera Maya real estate properties that offer a high ROI are beachfront Playa del Carmen homes and luxury living ocean-view condos. Most real estate listings in PDC are managed by brokers and real estate agents, but there are still some for sale by owner properties here, including those purchased straight from developers. 

Why Playa

Owning tropical real estate in a cosmopolitan resort town located in the heart of the Riviera Maya near the Caribbean Sea is a very attractive proposition to both retirees and property investors. When you add in the beautiful beaches and a chic, European feel, you can also understand why millions of tourists flock here.

Fondly called Playa by the locals and digital nomads who call it home, PDC has seen major growth in all areas over the past few years. It was also recently dubbed one of the fastest-growing tourist cities in all of Latin America, which presents a lot of opportunities to buy high-value real estate.

Real Estate Market

One of Playa del Carmen’s best assets is its proximity to gorgeous white sand beaches, offshore snorkeling, and endless rows of boutique stores and shops. Even a far-end development or a holiday apartment at a golf course resort here in PDC will be just a 10-minute drive or less from the famous Fifth Avenue (La Quinta Avenida in Spanish).

Target Audience

Playa del Carmen is popular with tourists from Europe and North America who are looking for that dream property somewhere warm and beautiful. The tourism industry is heavily linked to the real estate market in Playa del Carmen, as well as wealthy Mexicans, retirees, and ex-pats who come here looking to invest. The resort living mindset also attracts a younger generation of digital nomads who are looking for a beautiful place to live and work.


The stunningly beautiful surroundings, combined with convenient amenities, super-sized grocery stores, and a Walmart have attracted a plethora of local and international developers to erect luxurious living buildings at affordable prices. Construction is steadily increasing here, and the number of newly erected condos and homes for sale in Playa Del Carmen in 2023 is currently on the rise.


A population boom over the past few decades has also caused the new development of apartment blocks, condominiums, and vacation homes to spread northwards. As demand increases for Riviera Maya real estate, so do prices, as developers continue to look for ways to influence potential investors into buying real estate.

Where to Buy

Everything in Playa del Carmen is located within a 10-minute drive from the beach. But, when it comes to real estate, the most popular areas to buy or rent are between the 307 highway and the beach.


Tourists tend to stick to the downtown core or nearby boutique hotels and all-inclusive resorts. The investment areas to the west, on the other side of the highway, are mainly for locals, families, and retirees. Long-term rental prices here are much lower than in the Playa del Carmen Centro where rental availability and demand increase exponentially for high-season vacation rentals.

Transportation also plays a major factor when investing in Playa del Carmen real estate. The downtown core is very walkable with no vehicle required to eat, go shopping, or enjoy the nightlife. This is a very pedestrian-friendly area with Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) being foot traffic only, while Avenida 10 has bike friendly.


Playacar is a charming residential neighborhood on the south side of Playa del Carmen with two gated communities – Playacar Phase 1 and 2. You will find some gorgeous homes here but will need transport to get to the shops and restaurants in central Playa.

Investment Property

One of the most popular areas for Playa del Carmen rental properties is between Calle 8 and Calle 46 between the beach and 25 Avenida. The two upscale neighborhoods that bookmark the north and south ends (Grand Coral and Playacar) also contain very popular properties for sale. Playa del Carmen also offers many more things to do than places like Tulum, Puerto Aventuras, or Puerto Morelos, with short-term rental opportunities here matching the best interests of many property investors.

Properties that can double as holiday rentals of a few days or a week, along with being rented month-to-month in the off-season will produce a much higher return on investment. Rental rates are also at their highest during special holiday seasons like Easter, Christmas, and New Year. With the property manager or real estate agent, you can see an ROI of 8-13% annually.


Many developers in Playa del Carmen will start selling real estate to property investors that want to start the buying process prior to construction or during specific phases of development.

Early purchases allow owners to choose the development lot, apartment, or condo unit on a first-come, first-serve basis. This priority selection provides an opportunity to own the property with the best morning light, the closest parking space, or the unit farthest from elevator noise. Some developers will also allow pre-construction owners to change small details in the design plans, such as adding more storage space or choosing their own furniture and finishes.


Real estate listings along Playa Del Carmen beaches are limited due to the many, resorts and businesses, owning the land. The few luxury homes and condos with beachfront access come with a steep premium attached.

The gated community in Playacar Phase 1 is a quiet neighborhood where you can purchase a luxury vacation home along the beach. If you are in the market for a condo near the sea, then take a buyer’s stroll along CTM Avenida, and in Playa’s north end between Calle 28 and Calle 46.


Most of the oceanfront between Benito Juarez Avenue and Calle 26 is lined with a variety of hotels, beach clubs, and restaurants with a few condominium buildings thrown in. When looking at Playa del Carmen condos for sale, look for developments that are at least four stories tall to ensure full or partial views of the Caribbean Sea. Most buying options that fit into the luxury living category will feature shared rooftop swimming pools and sun decks with glorious ocean views of Cozumel.

Vacation Rentals

The best properties for short-term rentals can be found on or near Avenida CTM, Avenida Constituyentes, and La Quinta Avenida. Most newer buildings between Calle 1 and Calle 46, between the beach and 25 Avenida can be found with full rental calendars on Airbnb and VRBO during high season. Playa del Carmen homes with beachfront access, like those found in Playacar, are also some of the most sought-after Mexico real estate listings.

Lots and Land

The cost of land in Playa del Carmen is usually priced according to its building potential. Land or lots in the downtown are typically developed into multi-story buildings, while land in outlying neighborhoods is better for villas and housing projects. Building approvals are required in PDC, so be your notaria thoroughly research any restrictions for the entire process of development including allowable height.

A good area to look for land to build a house is Centro Maya, which is just west of the highway. This quiet residential area has plenty of space and available lots. This is centrally located with a short drive to the tourist areas, and they will allow you to design your own home here.

While the designs are usually set in other secure and gated communities, many beautiful properties for sale in Playa del Carmen can be found in Ciudad Mayakoba, and El Cielo.