Mientras que muchos de los hispanos que trabajan hoy en día en Estados Unidos, se las arreglan para seguir realizando enviar dinero a México y a otras partes de Latino América, también se las ingenian para invertir su dinero en comprar su primera vivienda. Esto se ha dado tan frecuentemente, que los expertos inmobiliarios creen que el deseo de los latinos por tener un lugar propio puede tener un rol fundamental en el mercado en los próximos años.
De acuerdo al informe de 24 páginas publicado por la Asociación Nacional de Profesionales Hispanos de Bienes Raíces, NAHREP (por sus siglas en Ingles), hoy en día, los latinos son el grupo de más rápido crecimiento en el mercado inmobiliario. Esta tendencia ha sido única en toda la historia de Estados Unidos y los llamados compradores "vírgenes de casas" han marcado todo un record.
Por ejemplo, durante los últimos 12 años, más de la mitad – 51 por ciento – del total del incremento neto de las viviendas ocupadas por sus propietarios, han sido hispanos, o lo que se traduce en unos 355.000, según los informes del RIS Media.
Juan Martínez, quien ha sido recientemente nombrado presidente del NAHREP, dijo que este escenario es sólo uno de los últimos signos de la positiva influencia que los latinos han traído al bienestar del desarrollo de la economía eestadounidense.
Agregó que debido a que muchos hispanos hoy en día son responsables con la forma en que administran su dinero, el mal crédito no es un problema que en un futuro les impida a los latinos convertirse en propietarios de sus viviendas.
Lo que podría afectar esa realidad es el ritmo acelerado con que hoy se están comprando las casas – el cual es más rápido que la actualización de los niveles de inventarios que los constructores de viviendas realizan.
Poca oferta, limita a la industria inmobiliaria
Esto ha sido un problema desde hace varios meses. Por ejemplo, en el último informe publicado por la Asociación Nacional de Agentes Inmobiliarios (NAR, por sus siglas en Ingles), las ventas pendientes de casas – que son las transacciones de bienes raíces sobre la base de cuántos contratos se han firmado – se redujo aproximadamente cinco décimas de un por ciento en febrero. La razón de esta disminución se dio por la poca cantidad de casas disponibles.
Lawrence Yun, jefe economista de NAR, indicó que las empresas de construcción tienen la llave para frenar esta disminución.
"Realmente, sólo la construcción de nuevas viviendas puede ayudar a aliviar la escasez de inventario, la construcción de viviendas tiene que incrementar en al menos un 50 por ciento desde los niveles actuales", dijo Yun.
Predijo que la curva en que la compra de propiedades se desplace a lo largo de los próximos meses, dependerá en gran medida de la mejora de los niveles de inventarios limitados, lo que él dice podría ser efectuada si las regulaciones para las empresas de construcción fuesen menos pesadas. Evitando así, algunos de los trámites burocráticos involucrados con la producción inmobiliaria.
Si bien, los latinos parecen ser el principal motor detrás de la compra de la primera casa, los niveles de propietarios hispanos han caído sobre una base porcentual.
Según el informe del RIS Media, alrededor del 46 por ciento de los hispanos son dueños de una casa, en comparación con el 47,5 por ciento del 2010. Esto significa una baja porque hoy en día hay más personas de origen latino en los Estados Unidos que hace tres años.
El informe también revela otros aspectos de la vida de la comunidad latina en los EE.UU. Por ejemplo, el poder de compra – o la cantidad que una determinada comunidad contribuye a la función económica de un país - la cual se ha incrementado considerablemente entre los hispanos. En la actualidad supera el $ 1 billón y se prevé que alcance los $ 1,5 billones en el plazo de dos años.
Mucho de esto puede derivar de los niveles de educación que los hispanos están logrando. El informe de la NHAREP muestra que los latinos representan el segmento más grande de las minorías matriculados en las universidades. Ellos lo están haciendo bien, pues una vez que se gradúan de las escuelas, también siguen teniendo un buen desempeño, ya que cuatro de cada 10 ganan un promedio de aproximadamente $ 50.000 cada año.
Latin American natives perhaps have the best understanding of the type of quality and delicious taste Mexico-based produce has, seeing as how they're from there and spent much of their life enjoying the fine cuisine there. Some individuals may favor it so much that they're willing to send money to Mexico in return for a shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables from their local farmer's market.
But what these same individuals may not realize is that the fruits that they eat in the U.S. could very well be from Mexico, especially if one of their favorites things to eat are avocados.
As its name suggests, avocados from Mexico is a business that operates out of Mexico and mass produces the pear-shaped fruit for markets around the world through exports. And while the company has long served the U.S. it has recently stepped its marketing campaign in order to encourage more people to enjoy the fine tastes of Mexico and the health benefits that come from the leathery skinned food.
Eduardo Serena, marketing director for the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico, noted that while the campaign hopes to encourage everyone to eat more avocados – thanks in large part to their richness in essential fats, vitamins and minerals – its key demographic are Hispanic consumers.
He also stated that since the Super Bowl, demand for avocados has been swift and with the NCAA college basketball tournament just around the corner, APEAM expects sales to continue operating in the black.
"Avocados from Mexico will keep the momentum going by supplying the right volume, quality and sizing, as well as powerful marketing programs through the coordinated efforts of APEAM and [Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association]," said Serena.
Many grocery stores taking part in marketing campaign
Throughout much of the U.S., APEAM and Avocados from Mexico have set up display cases promoting avocados in grocery stores and supermarkets. Some of the signs show pictures of NCAA college basketball players taking the ball to the rim, with headlines over the picture like "Guacamole – A Slam Dunk." Guacamole is a type of dip often served at party gatherings that's primarily composed of mashed avocado, mixed in with various seasonings, diced tomato, onions, garlic and occasionally chili peppers.
Not only does avocado consumption enable Mexicans to get reacquainted with their Latino roots, but the fruit is also one of the healthiest foods one can eat. According to MyHealthNewsDaily, including avocados into one's regular diet can help improve a wide variety of well-being indicators. Researchers from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey came to this conclusion after reviewing health statistics gathered between 2001 and 2008, following people who ate avocados regularly with those who didn't. The health experts discovered that people who ate the fruit frequently were more likely to have higher levels of HDL – which is the "good" type of cholesterol – were more likely to have a lower body weight have a smaller waist circumference and to eat a well-balanced diet.
"These findings suggest a role for avocados in improving dietary quality and possibly reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome in the United States," the report stated. "Further research is needed to verify this epidemiological data and study the potential association between increased intake of avocados and other dietary components."
While avocados are one of the few fruits that has fat, it's primarily comprised of the monounsaturated kind, which health experts say are crucial to a health heart, skin and reducing the risk of disease. These fats are also found in oils and nuts such as olive oil and almonds.
With each passing day in the U.S., the country moves closer to spring – a season of renewal and revitalization. Before the season arrives, however, many schools have winter vacations planned, where students are able to get away from the classroom for a week so they, too, can reinvigorate their minds before the final push toward the end of the school year.
While some kids and their parents may stay in the U.S. while on holiday, it's not uncommon for families to go on vacation in a different country. In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by brand agency Digitas, 30 percent of Americans intend to frequent international destinations in the second half of February.
Immigrants who send money to Mexico may want to take advantage of this time period in order to head home and enjoy their families and perhaps take in some parts of the country that they may have never experienced prior to moving to the U.S.
Similar to what Washington, D.C. is to America, Mexico City is to Mexico. Both serve as their respective nations' capitals and both are filled with activities that parents and their children can enjoy. Within the past year, CNN published a feature on Mexico City, the metro area that the news source describes as North America's "maximum city" – or the place that can reasonably be described as one of the most "enjoyable places on the planet."
Once again, similar to D.C., Mexico City has a variety of historical places that are worthy of experiencing. Perhaps the most popular is the city's main plaza, where the historic Zocalo is located. It's here that visitors will get that extra sense of patriotism they feel as being native to Mexico, thanks to the historical ruins that are found on virtually every corner. There's lot to see and enjoy at the Zocalo, including Madero Street, which is cordoned off to any vehicle traffic, as it's meant for pedestrian travel only. CNN notes that pageants are often held in this part of the City that are free and open to the public.
But for those who want to get a real taste of what life was like in ancient times, they can't miss the pyramids located in Teotihuacan, which is just north of Mexico City. CNN says that if there's any location in Mexico that visitors – or people who are native to the country – have to see, it's Teotihuacan, which at one point was larger than ancient-day Rome. The pyramids that tower into the sky are a sight to behold.
Food in Mexico City is world-renowned
The food in Mexico City is quite eclectic. Pujol, Casino Espanol and Contramar CNN cites as perhaps the best dining facilities in the entire metropolitan area, many of which have been open for between 10 and 100 years.
There's lots to see and do in Mexico City, which is home to 8.8 million of the country's people and 300 neighborhoods. How vacationers plan their time there will have a tremendously positive impact on the city's economy, as the goods and services there represent more than 20 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product and 4 percent of its total national GDP, according to government statistics.
Nothing screams spring quite like the crack of the bat and the smell of worn-in leather, as every Major League Baseball team is in training camps preparing for the upcoming season. Spring training is anxiously anticipated by baseball enthusiasts throughout the country, many of whom will send money to their local team so that they can secure tickets.
But before MLB's official Opening Day, there's the World Baseball Classic to prepare for, which comes around once every four years.
For the third time since its inception in 2006, 16 teams throughout the globe will compete in the World Baseball Classic, a tournaments that was created by the International Baseball Federation, MLB and the MLB Players Association seven years ago.
While the U.S. has fared relatively well in the two previous tournaments, international teams have dominated the competition. For example, in 2006, Japan won the WBC after defeating Cuba at San Diego's Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play their home games. Some of the best performances were had by Japan's starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who earned the tournament's coveted Most Valuable Player Award.
Four years later, Japan continued its dominance over its competitors, winning the WBC for a second time by topping runner-up South Korea. Japan finished the tourney with the stellar record of seven wins and only two losses.
This year, Japan is expected to continue its strong performance, but there are a variety of indications suggesting that Mexico may be among the tournament's most elite competitors, with the games beginning in the first days of March.
How Mexico has fared in past WBC tournaments
In 2009, Mexico finished had a less-than-sterling showing. The Mexican National Team ranked in the 11th position out of 16 teams after sweeping their competitors in the first round of play.
The initial round has proven to be one of great success for the Mexico, as they also went undefeated in 2006, surrendering just seven runs in 27 innings played.
The team hopes to build on its success with a strong pitching staff, led by David Hernandez of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Fernando Salas of the St. Louis Cardinals, Luis Ayala of the Baltimore Orioles, Alfredo Aceves of the Boston Red Sox, Marco Estrada of the Milwaukee Brewers and Miguel Gonzalez of the Orioles.
The team also sports a strong lineup as well, led by Rod Barajas and Ali Solis – who will assume catching duties – players who suit up for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively, in MLB play. Other members of the team include utility infielder Alfredo Amezaga of the Los Angeles Dodgers – and several other members from LA, like Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez – third baseman Jorge Cantu of the San Diego Padres and second baseman Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals.
In some of the initial performances by the Mexican National Team, the starting nine have performed well. For example, in the Caribbean Series – which started on February 2 – Mexico blanked Puerto Rico after winning the first game 3-0. Luis Mendoza threw the first two-thirds of the game, while former MLB starters Dennis Reyes and Jose Cobos kept the game scoreless by pitching in the final three innings. Jose Cobos, Adrian Ramirez and Oscar Villarreal – all of whom still play professionally today – were also involved in the combined relief pitching effort.
As for the WBC, Mexico's first game will be held Thursday, March 7 against Italy.
Exhibited by the frequency with which dance halls are packed with people, not to mention the steps having their roots in Latin culture, Mexico is a hub for dancing. Some of the industry’s most well-known dancers are of Mexican descent.
In light of this, a Mexico City native hopes to draw on Mexicans’ enthusiasm for dance by creating a dance competition that has the potential to be as popular as the salsa, rumba or samba. Much like the steps to these dances, the steps to completing an international wire transfer can be tough without practice. Luckily, Xoom makes it easy.
According to The City 2.0 – the news division arm of a non-profit called TED – Gabriella Gomez-Mont hopes to establish a dance competition in Mexico’s capital city that she believes will provide Mexico’s people with a greater appreciation of their heritage, a sense of camaraderie with their fellow countrymen and as an outlet to exercise.
Gomez-Mont says she was inspired to do this in light of the current health crisis facing many Mexicans today as it pertains to limited exercise and weight gain. As The City 2.0 website points out, diabetes is a major issue in Mexico, which is a blood sugar issue that largely stems from obesity. Approximately 90 percent of diabetes cases in the country derive from issues with weight. This could pose a serious issue for health services in Mexico if the problem isn’t addressed and diagnoses aren’t reduced.
Diabetes is no respecter of persons, either, as its prevalent both among Mexican women and men. Health estimates say diabetes is responsible for 70,000 deaths in Mexico each year, far higher than incidents involving violent crime, according to McClatchy Newspapers.
Dance is an ideal form of aerobic exercise
Research has shown, however, how effective an active lifestyle can be in limiting one’s risk for diabetes. And according to the American Diabetes Association, one of the best forms of exercise is dancing, as it increases the heart rate in the same way that running or walking briskly can.
It’s this knowledge that Gomez-Mont hopes to impart to her fellow Mexicans so that they will become inspired to live a healthy life as they dance their way to a lighter weight and healthier heart.
“What if we could turn a whole megalopolis into one gargantuan dance floor, and promote an active lifestyle while having fun and tapping into the playful, social and happily competitive side of the city?” said Gomez-Mont.
This won’t be an effort she takes on entirely herself, though. The City 2.0 notes that she will also draw on the help from other people at the TED non-profit, including Pablo Landa, Clora Romo and Constanza Gomez-Mont, whom she’s related to.
The Latin dance craze has been on display in the U.S. for decades. A few years ago, The New York Times produced a feature story on Latin dance clubs in the city, which are numerous.
“Anybody can try it,” said Talia Castro-Pozo, a Latin dance instructor, told the newspaper in 2010. “Just look around and you’ll see: there are not just Latinos here, but people of all ages and ethnicities and backgrounds and levels of experience, all of them dancing happily with each other.”
Many of today’s dances have their roots in Latin America, including the salsa, meringue, cha-cha, bachata, mambo and rumba. Other dances that aren’t performed quite as frequently as these – but still have derivations in Mexican culture – are the hat dance, the deer dance and the Mexican agricultural dance.
For many immigrants who send money to Mexico, these types of transfers aren't enough when it comes to staying in touch with their loved ones. Phone calls and emails may help make the separation less burdensome, but nothing beats being able to hug and kiss a spouse or child after several months apart.
It's because of this that many Mexicans will leave their life in the U.S. for a short period and reconnect with their native land, spending quality time with their friends and relatives.
While on vacation, staying at home with loved ones for the entire week or month may be perfectly fine. But for those who hope to take advantage of life in Mexico while they're away, there's plenty that can be done this time of year. The Associated Press recently discussed some of the great destinations the whole family can enjoy.
One of the best take-ins is the Soumaya Museum, which is located in Mexico City in the Polanco neighborhood. Not long ago, Carlos Slim built the museum, which has six floors that are filled to the brim with works of art from impressionists, muralists and craftsmen deriving from Mesoamerican cultures that have never been fully identified.
For those who would rather spend their time in the great outdoors, the Zocalo may fit the bill, the AP notes. Also located in Mexico's capital, the Zocalo is a wide open plaza where most of the country's government leaders congregate, as federal offices and meeting houses are all situated in this part of Mexico City. It's not all business here, however, as street vendors, Aztec dancers and other performers are virtually always in attendance, hoping to entertain those who are visiting as well as those who frequent the area regularly.
Plenty of beautiful parks in Mexico
Nothing beats a leisurely walk in the park and Chapultepec Park is an ideal place to go for a stroll. The news agency points out the park has received a number of improvements in recent years, as it's now teeming with a variety of bicycle and walking trails. Railroad enthusiasts may also find the park pleasing, as one of the country's oldest is here as well. The park is open in the daylight hours only and is closed on Mondays.
That's not the only park to choose from in Mexico, as there are several others that are just as fine. This includes Viveros de Coyoacan. This park hasn't gone through the same renovations as Chapultepec because it's smaller in size but exercise enthusiasts will have plenty to choose from, as it is also filled with pedestrian and cycling pathways, AP notes.
There's something nice about rustic, country living, where residents can mingle with friends and shop at craft stores. The Coyoacan may best exemplify this theme. The Associated Press says that the small village is rife with art galleries and corner shops and can be quite crowded on the weekends.
The tourism industry is a major contributor to Mexico's overall economy. While the summer and early winter tend to be the peak times of year for people to tour the country, virtually every month finds a considerable number of people from other countries who are interested in what Mexico has to offer.
Besides Mexico City, other metro areas known for drawing a considerable number of tourists comprise Oaxaca, Puebla and Chihuahua, to name a few. Beaches that are reputed for drawing massive amounts of people include Acapulco, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta. According to Mexico Explorando, nearly 70 percent of tourists come from the United States.
When Latinos send money to Mexico, they are transferring money to a country that’s increasingly becoming a global leader in environmental sustainability.
According to Bloomberg, Mexico is one of a handful of countries that has made significant strides toward improving the world’s environment by passing legislation that help reduce the carbon footprint nations leave behind from everyday living.
In a recent statement emailed to the news source from the Globe International Alliance of Lawmakers, Mexico was listed as one of 33 countries that’s made considerable headway toward cutting carbon production and increasing the efficiency of man-made technologies such as industrial products and vehicles.
Christiana Figueres, a United Nations diplomat, said that real change can only came through policy and Mexico – along with other industrialized nations – helps make this change a reality.
“The clean revolution we need is being carried forward by legislation,” said Figueres, according to Bloomberg. “Domestic legislation is critical because it is the linchpin between action on the ground and the international agreement.”
The Globe International Alliance of Lawmakers additionally noted that of all the nations that made environmental improvements to policy last year, Mexico serves as a “standout country.” Among the initiatives taken include creating a law that requires companies to reduce carbon production by 30 percent between now and 2020.
Other nations that the Globe says made significant headway in improving environmentally friendly standards in 2012 were Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, Bloomberg reports.
Traffic major contributor to carbon emissions
Mexico hasn’t always held the distinction as being among the nations most environmentally responsible. According to a 2011 report in National Geographic magazine, residents of Mexico’s capital – Mexico City – described the commute there as one of the “most painful” they’ve ever experienced, primarily due to the significant number of traffic jams, accidents and carbon dioxide emissions from running engines.
But in the short time since then, the country’s capital has been awarded with the Sustainable Transport Award from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Walter Hook, chief executive officer of the ITDP, said that the improvements observed in the past 12 months in Mexico City are as stark as night and day.
“Mexico City was like a patient sick with heart disease, its streets were some of the most congested in the world,” said Hook. “In the last year, Mexico City extended its great Metrobus BRT system straight through the narrow congested streets of its spectacular historical core, rebuilt public parks and plazas, expanded bike sharing and bike lanes, and pedestrianized streets.”
He added that Mexico’s capital city is once again a vital part of the country’s future growth and development.
Recent previous winners winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include Medellin, Colombia; San Francisco in the U.S.; Guangzhou, China and Ahmedabad, India.
Some of the most impressive elements of Mexico City earning the award – in addition to the more environmentally sustainable laws that have been put in place in Mexico at large – stem from how densely populated the country and city is. Approximately 115.2 million people live in Mexico, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, and 20 million of that total live in the city’s capital. And as the Christian Science Monitor points out, one out of every four Mexico City residents owns a car.
Yet despite this, officials are confident that the Mexican people will commit to environmentally sustainable living practices, accomplishing the goal of a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.
Mexico has been in the news a lot lately and not just because of the country’s recent presidential election. It’s also because Mexicans who now live in countries like the U.S. have been looking to send money online more often.
While there are a variety of ways in which to send money online, one of the most common forms is by sending a bank deposit to Mexico, as this better guarantees the money that’s needed will be quickly received. And, provided it’s done with Xoom, customers are sure to be pleased with the process.
Money transfers to a bank account are ideal for pretty much everyone because they provide a great deal of convenience and peace of mind. With a few keystrokes and button clicks, the money you send is transferred electronically, which helps prevent human error.
It’s also ideal because it’s fast. For example, one of the most popular banks many of Xoom’s Mexican customers have accounts with is Bancomer. Deposits here normally take about 15 minutes to complete from start to finish. Banamex or Banorte usually take about one hour, only because there’s a little bit more involved. EVen with other banks the transfers only take 24 hours.
No matter which you choose, though, you’re sure to be pleased by the results, as customers come back to Xoom again and again because of its reliability and quality customer service.
Make your next bank deposit with Xoom so you can experience all that it has to offer.