Mexican coastal real estate continues to be hit hard by the downturn in the U.S. economy. Sales volume fell about 70 percent in 2009 for Coldwell Banker, according to Phillip Hendrix, director of the company's Mexican division.

Prices are down 20 to 30 percent since the peak, estimated Tom Kelly, author of Cashing in on a Second Home in Mexico.Values of properties within an hour's drive of the U.S. border have declined as much as 40 percent, he said, because of the crackdown on illegal immigration and smuggling, which has made border crossing more difficult for all.