Tourist development has driven up land prices even on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta. For example, a small plot of land 40 feet by 24 feet, with no services, costs about $12,000 – $15,000 Canadian dollars and interest rates for housing loans are often 20% or more. Many families squat on their land as they make payments for years before they become land owners and can begin to build a proper home. In the meantime, they survive in wood and tarpaper shacks and lean-to shelters that are hot in summer, wet in the rainy season and a haven for scorpions and bugs.
Moving from a cardboard and tarpaper shack to a real house transforms lives forever. Children are healthier and can stay in school while having a place to study, and parents are less stressed and are blessed with dignity and renewed hope. A simple concrete block house costs as little as $10,000, plus extra to secure the land, but results in an invaluable metamorphosis for families and future generations.