With high volatility in the U.S. housing market, a strong dollar, and the normalization of remote work, interest in buying real estate abroad is higher than ever. Homes in the U.S. sit longer on the market as the median home price hit $436,800, according to St. Louis Fed data. Meanwhile, real estate in other countries appears to attract U.S. buyers more than ever, according to the latest Google search data.
But where in the world are Americans looking to buy homes?
Do Americans find Europe or the Americas more attractive when it comes to buying a home abroad? According to My Dolce Casa‘s analysis of Google searches for homes abroad in the past 12 months, real estate in Italy tops the list, totaling almost 800,000 real estate searches in the last year alone. Out of the 85 countries in Europe and the Americas analyzed, Americans dream about owning a home in Italy the most.
Two Central American countries claim the second and third spots. Costa Rica real estate is a close second favorite for U.S. home seekers interested in property overseas, being the subject of more than 700,000 online searches in one year. Homes in Mexico are the third most popular, according to Google data, which shows a total of around 580,000 online real estate queries for Mexican real estate in the same period of time.
Here are the top 10 most searched countries for buying real estate abroad:
- Costa Rica
To determine the most popular destinations for buying homes abroad, MyDolceCasa.com analyzed over 1,200 real estate terms searched on Google from the U.S. between May 2022 and April 2023, for 85 countries in Europe and the Americas. The data analyzed focuses on Google searches such as “homes in Italy”, “Mexico real estate”, and “houses for sale in Panama”, totaling over 1,200 queries that show a high intent to buy a home.
Additionally, to identify the countries where real estate is rising in popularity the most, we also looked at the highest increases in the monthly number of searches compared to one year ago. These are trending home-buying destinations to keep an eye on, if you’re considering a move abroad in the future.
1. Italy real estate
Homes in Italy are more sought-after than real estate in any other country. A lifestyle change, safety, warm weather, and affordability are the most common reasons for U.S. nationals who consider moving to other countries, and Italy checks all the boxes. Additionally, buying property in Italy has been widely popularized by celebrities like Rachael Ray and Giada di Laurentiis, making the move look that much more appealing.
What’s really making Italy attractive for foreign homebuyers is that prices have managed to stay low compared to other top-tier countries where Golden Visa Programs have pushed house prices upwards. The average home price in Italy is around $380,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home, or $190 per square meter, and it has been relatively the same for quiet a while. With no residency incentive programs for foreign real estate investors, the Italian housing market has been very stable and predictable in recent years, registering an annual price increase of less than 2%.
2. Costa Rica real estate
Costa Rica has long been a popular destination for Americans looking to buy a second home abroad, facilitated by friendly residency and taxation laws. Costa Rica’s housing market is attractive both for those looking for more affordable homes, but also for wealthy investors who are buying luxurious vacation homes in paradise-like settings.
3. Mexico real estate
America’s attraction to the Mexican lifestyle is nothing new and no secret. The United State’s neighbor to the south has been a long-time top vacation and second home destination for U.S. nationals. Its incredibly beautiful places like Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, or San Miguel de Allende, great weather, as well as its convenient proximity to the States make Mexico a perennial and easily-accessible favorite location.
4. Portugal real estate
The second European country in the top five favorites for buying real estate is Portugal, where a Golden Visa Program has been largely fueling the demand for Portuguese property in the last few years. Through the initiative, the country has managed to attract almost 7 billion dollars in foreign investment in Portuguese real estate in the past ten years.
The program has become particularly popular among Americans, who represented the number one source nation for real estate investments in Portugal in 2022. However, this has also had a negative effect on the affordability of homes for the Portuguese people, thus prompting the government to put a stop to the program this year. The average price of a 2,000 square-foot home in Portugal has surpassed $500,000.
5. Jamaica real estate
Jamaica has the vacation vibe certainly working in its favor. Buying a home in Jamaica comes with living in a lush landscape, with the blue waters and white beaches of the Caribbean on your doorstep. U.S. retirees, snowbirds and many others find Jamaica an affordable paradise.
What are the up and coming destinations for buying property abroad?
If you’re looking for that (still) underrated, next big destination to invest in property abroad, look towards Europe once again. In this category, Croatia steals the spotlight, with the sharpest rise in real estate-related searches among the countries analyzed. The average monthly searches for Croatian homes from the U.S. rose from 5,650 in May 2022 to 10,700 in April 2023, up 47.2%.
Here are the top trending countries ranked by the highest increase in real estate-related searches in 2023:
- To compile the ranking, My Dolce Casa’s research team analyzed the number of Google searches from the United States for real estate abroad in over 80 countries in Europe and the Americas.
- The total number of searches for each country is the sum of the search volumes for 15 real estate-related terms: [country] real estate, [country] real estate for sale, buy real estate in [country], houses in [country], [country] houses for sale, buy house in [country], homes in [country], [country] homes for sale, buy home in [country], property in [country], [country] properties for sale, buy property in [country], villas in [country], [country] villas for sale, buy villa in [country].
- Time period analyzed is 12 months starting in May 2022 and ending in April 2023.
- The final ranking of the top 30 home-buying destination countries is based on the total number of Google searches in the 12 months analyzed.
- The ranking of the top trending home-buying destination countries is based on the highest percentage increase in searches in the most recent month analyzed compared to a year prior.
- Searches for the U.S. and U.S. territories were excluded.
- Countries with an average monthly search volume under 1,000 searches were excluded.
This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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