Hottest foreign second home markets for 2007
Here's where Americans will be turning to this year for second homes abroad.
By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Published: January 20, 2007
New York (CNNMoney.com) -- Americans have never taken much to living abroad, at least not to the same degree the British have. Some 5.5 million Brits, about 10 percent of that nation's total population, now live as expatriates, with 200,000 more every year.
The massive Brit presence in the heart of Tuscany's wine region has given it the nickname Chianti-shire.
For Americans, though, most other countries were too far away to tempt us. Some Yanks did buy second homes in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, but the majority were content to shop within the nation's borders.
Today foreign lands are drawing more Americans than ever. According to State Department estimates, some 6.6 million Americans live abroad, a larger number than the Brits claim, but, at 2.2 percent, still a smaller percentage of the U.S.'s total 300 million population.
There are many reasons for the big build up. More Americans work for multi-national companies, which often take them for long stints overseas. And foreign vacation travel is booming as well. This means a lot more exposure to other countries and cultures.
The big destinations for Americans to buy second homes abroad are still the usual suspects. In addition to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, there is increased buying activity in Western Europe and some newer markets, such as Costa Rica.
According to one expert, when Americans shop for a second home they're looking for rest and relaxation.
Some of the largest American ex-pat communities of all are in Mexico, scattered about different areas of the country. Lake Chapala, San Miguel Allende and Guadalajara are in the central highlands. Then there's the Pacific coast populations concentrated in Baja California, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.
These days Americans have started to explore a little farther afield and one of the places they've discovered is the state of Oaxaca. This region has an extensive native-American population that still follows many of the traditional ways. The city of Oaxaca's Saturday market is justly famous; the display of woven goods and other handicrafts draws visitors from all over the world.
South of the city is a beautiful stretch of Pacific coast filled with long beaches and secluded bays. The Mexican tourist development agency Fonatur (which created Cancun), has started to develop the area near Puerto Escondido. Progress has been slow, but that means that the area retains much of its old pace, charm and natural beauty.
Their location choices have always been affected by costs as well. In the past, cheap living have driven and sustained strong expatriate movements. Members of the "Lost Generation" in Paris during the 1920s, for example, were able to survive there on a song.
As he related in "A Moveable Feast," Hemingway, along with his wife and baby, managed to get by on about $5 a day then, and still go out to cafes, take ski trips and go fishing in Spain. Things were cheap.
That may not be as true as in the past, but the cost factor is still a major determinant of where a lot of Americans choose to buy.
So where are the prime up-and-coming markets for second home buyers?
Kelly says the top six hottest markets for 2007 will be The Bay Islands of Honduras, Belize, the South Coast of Mexico, Croatia, Turkey, and Panama.
Original article at http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/18/real_estate/hottest_foreign_second_home_markets/index.htm