In the realm of real estate dreams, 2020 and 2021 have been years like no other. Eager to escape the pandemic, who among us has not fantasized about vacation homes, retirement homes or investment properties nestled among tropical flora or on pristine ski slopes?
According to a recent study, potential home buyers in the United States are looking for locations in North, South and Central America. By examining real estate-related words and phrases used in Internet searches in the United States, Point2, a Canadian company that studies real estate trends, was able to rank the popularity of destinations in the Americas. Three reports, completed in 2015, 2018, and 2021, each examined a year of research (the latest covering the year ending September 10, 2021) and found some changes over time, but most importantly a continued interest in areas individuals.
Mexico was the most sought after destination in 2021 and 2018, dropping from fourth place in 2015. This makes sense, given its proximity, low cost of living and warm climate. It is important to note, however, that mortgages are difficult to obtain in Mexico, and almost all sales are processed in cash. Foreign buyers also face certain restrictions when buying near a coast or border, with transactions in these areas being made through a Mexican bank trust or a Mexican company with the help from a lawyer.
Canada ranked second this year and in 2018, dropping from seventh place in 2015, the biggest move among any destination in the top 20 since 2015. Foreign buyers currently face some restrictions in Canada, and More could be on the way: Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau has vowed to ban foreign buyers for two years in a bid to curb price hikes triggered by the pandemic.
Costa Rica moved from fourth place in 2018 to second in 2021, where American internet users focused on the cities of Tamarindo, Jaco and Santa Ana this year. Costa Rica also imposes minor limits on purchases of real estate by foreigners, 80% of which are from the United States.
Puerto Rico finished in fourth place in 2021, followed by Belize and the US Virgin Islands. This week’s chart shows Point2’s top 20 real estate destinations in 2021 based on US web searches and the average number of monthly searches for each.