Gentrification Pricing Out Residents in Digital Nomad Hotspots


Key Takeaways

  • Digital nomads in Mexico City cause a housing crisis, evictions, and protests due to increased rent prices and property conversions.
  • Mexican authorities criticized for lacking relocation and business support plans.
  • Lisbon embraces digital nomads but faces housing challenges with vacant apartments.

Digital Nomad InfluxSparks Mexico City Housing Crises

Mexico City–An increasing inflow of digital nomads into areas of lower housing costs in Mexico City has resulted in a housing crisis and protests among residents.

Facing evictions and having to relocate, the working class in areas like Juarez, Roma, and Condesa are taking to the streets.

Since the pandemic, a large population of urban workers in the United States and worldwide has moved to areas with relatively lower living and housing costs.

This influx of ‘digital nomads’ has led landlords to convert residential apartments and buildings into short-term stays or Airbnb’s and charge much higher rents, pushing locals to seek cheaper alternatives.

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Joanna Gill and Diana Baptista of Reuters spoke with ‘Mexico ¿Cómo Vamos?’, a new initiative by two of Mexico’s leading think tanks: Mexico Evalúa and IMCO.

“Mexican authorities are responsible for the absence of a plan to relocate locals or to provide credits to affected businesses,” Sofia Ramirez, director of ‘Mexico ¿Como Vamos?’, told the outlet.

The report also investigates the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, which has become a ‘digital nomad hotspot.’ Olivia Benton, a Romanian fitness app entrepreneur who runs Lisbon’s Digital Nomad ‘Meetup’ group, revealed in the report that residents there were not unfriendly towards foreigners and digital nomads as in Mexico City.

According to the report, this is because, like in other major hotspots like Aruba, Barbados, Cape Verde, Croatia, Estonia, Indonesia, Malta, and Norway (which now offer digital nomad visas), Lisbon “authorities had taken measures” and had embraced nomads.

Lisbon’s Housing Challenge

A separate investigation by Euronews into the same issue in Lisbon revealed a slightly different picture. Like in Mexico City, there is a boom in real estate development and renovation projects and construction of short-term stays, and due to high rents, a large portion of them remain empty. The report finds that there are 48,000 unoccupied apartments in Lisbon.

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“People who suffer the most from the housing crises are mostly women. Usually, they are alone and taking care of children, working precarious jobs,” said Sara, a representative of NGO ‘Stop Despejos (Stop Evictions)’, Lisbon, in the report. “Also, there are women who are getting older and don’t have any economic independence.”

What We Think

The surge of digital nomads in Mexico City causes a housing crisis, with rising rents and protests, while authorities lack effective plans.

Lisbon is welcoming to digital nomads but grapples with vacant apartments. Managing the impact of digital nomads on local communities is crucial, balancing economic benefits and community needs.


Aqil K
Aqil K
Aqil writes about travel, tourism, and covers the many aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle.


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