Ezra Lipton’s Guide to Secondary Suites – A Strategy to Promoting Density


Ezra Lipton, a former IMPLAN Los Cabos intern, has developed an illustrative guide promoting and explaining Secondary Suites in Los Cabos, an affordable and inclusive housing solution for the projected 400,000 new residents of the next 25 years


Ezra’s guide would provide local residents with all the important information about building, renting, financing, construction permits, laws, benefits and design options of secondary suites. This guide would be available for FREE in print and electronically.


Los Cabos is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico. In 2014 the population was 238,000 residents and it is expected to triple by 2040. This explosive growth in population is due to the fast growing and lucrative tourism industry in the area. As rapid growth occurs, the population moves to satellite areas, away from city centres, making them more car-dependent communities and isolated from education, health and social services. New infrastructure to accommodate new residents will cost the city an estimated $9.5 billion CAD according to an IMPLAN-Los Cabos study done in 2012. Secondary suites give a more inclusive housing option for newcomers. Secondary suites would be built in neighbourhoods that have roads, markets, medical services, schools, banks and access to transportation. In addition to being a convenient option for new residents of Los Cabos, it will also benefit home owners as it could be an additional source of income and it will benefit the economy of the neighbourhoods by bringing more demand. Instead of investing in new infrastructure and maintenance, the city can focus and finance: green spaces, sidewalks, transportation and bicycle routes for the population.


This guide will apply to the municipality of Los Cabos. 75% of the houses one can find in the municipality are only one storey, perfect infrastructure for a secondary suite. In addition, these suites come in different forms and are flexible for different contexts.

For example, a secondary suite can be used for commercial purposes as well, first story commercial and the second one residential. Some of the construction options are:


This guide will be available to residents online and government agencies where home owners would go on a regular basis.


In Los Cabos secondary suites can happen anywhere and one can find some examples of secondary suites in the city. House owners would be responsible for building the secondary suite on their property and they can only be rented out. The only approval process is getting a construction licence.


As a new intern of IMPLAN-Los Cabos, I am amazed at the end result of the former interns’ seed fund projects, they have raised the bar high. After my first week in Los Cabos, I can see how Ezra’s idea is a great solution to help and improve the quality of life of newcomers to the city. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Ezra.






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