Absolutely!!! Foreigners are able to own all kinds of property in Mexico. In fact, the majority of prime real estate in Playa del Carmen is owned not only by Mexicans, but more and more by Americans and Canadians.
You are not just legally allowed to buy e.g a condo in the Riviera Maya, the Mexican government actually has been doing a lot of extra efforts in order to make it safe and simple.
It is legal and absolutely safe and my job as a realtor is to guide you through each step.
You will own your piece of paradise in one of two ways:
Through a Banktrust ( e.g. Scotiabank ) or a local Corporation
What is a banktrust?
You choose which bank acts as the Trustee,
but it is you and those you designate, who are the Beneficiaries of the trust.
It is you maintaining complete control over the Fideicomiso/Banktrust.
This is not a lease, it is equivalent to a Living Trust in the US.
Here is what you do: enjoy, lease, improve, mortgage, sell, inherit and will.
In my opinion it always creates trust that you own through a entity administered by a Mexican bank on your behalf
What is the Historical Background:
To own in the restricted area, the government requires foreigners to use a banktrust.
Outside that area, you can own rightaway in your name.
The "restricted zone" is any land within 31miles (50 km) of the coastline and 62 miles (100 km) of the borders.
Mexico created and added the fideicomiso to encourage foreign investment in the highly desirable areas, specially where those amazing white sandy beaches are located.
In the 18th and 19th century Mexico suffered from enormous land loss and the government decided if foreign investor work hand in hand with the Mexican Enteties, this won't happen again.