Colombia’s movers and shakers—politicians, business executives, and celebrities—have long used land ownership and country homes as a way to show their money and influence. The more beautiful the setting of their residences, the more bragging rights they have.
When it comes to city living, most people have a few priorities in mind: Easy access to all parts of the city through roads, public transportation, or even walking trails is usually high on the list, plenty of activities and entertainment, and a feeling of safety along with aesthetic beauty tends to complete the package.
Costa Rica is known for its lush, wildlife-filled jungles lining deserted white-sand beaches. It’s a favorite photo for the tourism board. The whole country appears wild…untamed. There is a lot of that out there. And having the whole beach to yourself while capuchin monkeys scamper in the trees above is quite a thrill.
When most people consider moving to a tropical country, they have one thing on their mind: the beach. But while Costa Rica is a tropical country and has some beautiful beaches, not everyone wants to live a sand-filled life in shorts and flip-flops. Luckily, there’s a solution…the Central Valley.
South America has many fine cities. Montevideo is known for its European flair and charming architecture. Beef and wine connoisseurs can’t do better than Buenos Aires. And Quito has its breathtaking colonial center. But there’s a new South American city on the rise: Medellín, Colombia. Largely ignored for decades, Medellín is now enticing expat retirees with its tree-filled streets and arts-rich character. A strong dollar makes today an ideal time to explore (and invest).
Two years ago, I made my ﬁrst recommendation on jet-set Cabo, at the tip of Baja California. Members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group could buy a luxury condo in a luxurious community for $336,516. Those who locked down one of these condos—including me—have done well. A comparable condo now retails at $428,301—a paper gain of $91,785.
When you move abroad, it’s an adjustment. It’s a new culture, a new lifestyle, new customs, and new ways of doing things. But one way to ease your transition is to settle in a place where you don’t have to learn a new language, too.
The world is roaring toward food shortages. According to the World Bank, at least 50% more food is needed by 2050 to feed nine billion people. And it’s not just more food that’s needed; this fast-growing, global middle class wants different foods—producing meat takes a lot of water and animal feed. China, for example, has added 100 million new middle-class mouths in the past decade. Brazil has seen its middle class grow by 40 million from 2005 to 2011. Now 54% of the population, or 103 million people, fall within Brazil’s middle class.
What makes for a great place to live? An ideal climate…modern services and conveniences like high-speed internet…high-quality but low-cost healthcare…a no-hassle visa or residence program…a lower cost of living. And good-value real estate. In many places around the world you can have all this, plus little luxuries like having someone else clean your house, your yard, and do your laundry.
One of the best-known places to enjoy colonial living is San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands. Even among colonial towns, San Miguel is famous. It’s been dubbed ”the most beautiful town in Mexico,” and it may just be. Colorful, well-preserved colonial buildings line its streets, and fountains tinkle in quiet squares. Brightly painted doorways open onto shops that overflow with colored textiles, hanging stars, and lamps of hammered tin, and pottery or sculptures. Walk down cool stone passageways to open-air patio restaurants or to upstairs terraces where the city opens out below you.
For most folks, the perfect way to start a day is with a stroll on the sand or a dip in the ocean. Owning a beach home so that they can do it every day is at the top of many wish lists. Many people think they can’t afford to do that. Understandable: When you take the limited supply of beach property and combine it with strong demand, what do you get? Sky-high sticker prices. But you can still bag a beach bargain in some overseas destinations
It feels likes standing in a virgin wilderness. In front of you are some of Panama’s finest white-sand beaches. Tropical birds call from the trees behind you. The land is undeveloped and quiet. You won’t meet many people here. Occasionally, you’ll see a kite surfer or someone walking an almost-deserted beach.
I first came to scout Panama City 11 years ago. Back then, the city was on the cusp of a massive growth spurt. It was primed for big things—set to transform into one of the commercial hubs of the Americas. That growth played out just as I expected. Since then, I’ve watched the city change almost beyond recognition.
The mountain town of Boquete is undoubtedly familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in living or buying a home in Panama.
While the notion of getting away from it all on a tropical island has near universal appeal, coconut phones and signal fires won’t cut it with today’s savvy expats. Let’s face it. You want to have your solitude, but also remain connected to the outside world through high-speed internet service and modern transportation options. Particularly […]
You sit in your courtyard at a sturdy hardwood table, enjoying the first cup of coffee of the day. The sounds of the city waking up are muffled by thick stone walls, as the tinkling fountain next to you provides a soothing soundtrack. A small pool to the side is the perfect antidote to hot days. You’re surrounded by heliconia, ginger, and bougainvillea vines. As you head inside through a tall, arched doorway for a second cup, your eyes pass over the intricately patterned tile floors, the vaulted ceilings with heavy timber beams standing out against the bright-white ceiling, and the dark wood doorframes perfectly complementing the yellow walls.
I ﬁrst visited Northeast Brazil in April 2008…speciﬁcally the beach town of Cumbuco. I made a bold prediction about this sleepy little spot… I predicted that it was set to embark on a big, upward trajectory. It did, and for folks who got in then, it’s proved proﬁtable. Now a special situation has created another buying moment here, right in the middle of Northeast Brazil’s great growth route.
As the savage North American winter begins to bite and the snow and ice pile up, many of us ﬁnd ourselves yearning for warmer climates elsewhere. Imagine a place that’s never too hot or too cold—just perfect. Outside, the birds are chirping, while gardens and wildﬂowers bloom in multicolored glory. You can walk around in a light tee-shirt at any time of year. Throw out your coat and boots. Forget about heating and air-conditioning bills and suffering through sweltering heat and humidity.
What a delight to wake up each morning to a glorious sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. You head out to the veranda to sip a rich, dark Guatemalan cup of Joe while gazing out at frothy waves breaking on the world’s second largest barrier reef less than a mile from shore. What a tranquil way to start the day…
Sunlight streams into your bedroom. The birds sing and the soft lapping of the ocean on the beach lures you to your front patio. The light is golden as it glides across the water to bathe the palm trees.
Roatán offers an appealing expat lifestyle, diverse and healthy food, easy access to North America, and great infrastructure for such a small island (only about 50 square miles in size). You’ll find an international airport, two cruise line ports, paved main roads, two hospitals, a golf course, and several high-quality grocery stores that stock North American gourmet items. The lifestyle is also highly affordable for the Caribbean. I met one expat couple who own their own home and live comfortably on less than $1,200 a month.
You wake in the morning and throw open the shutters to see a pure blue sky. Just as it was yesterday. And the day before. You return to your bed, content to gaze at the fluttering of the plane-tree leaves and terracotta rooftops outside your bedroom window, as you contemplate the delicious possibilities the day holds for you.
Rich in sunshine, vineyards, culture and cobblestones, Umbria in central Italy is where I chose to base myself a couple of winters ago. Umbria borders the tourist’s favorite, Tuscany, but it’s just as laidback and soaked in that ”wine-with-lunch” Italian culture. It’s the perfect place for long walks down cobbled lanes and through mist-shrouded parks, shopping for stylish Italian clothes, sipping hot cappuccinos while people-watching from cafe windows, and getting to know the diverse, international group of people living and studying in the area.
The short stretch of coast you find south of Barcelona is called the Costa del Garraf. Here you’ll find a string of three small towns that offer upscale amenities, relaxed living, easy access to Barcelona, and great-value real estate…
It’s a sunny morning, and you have plans to meet friends at a nearby café. You go down the elevator and are greeted by the porter on your way out. Your little studio apartment is a building near the corner of 21 de Setiembre and Ellauri in the neighborhood known as Punta Carretas in Montevideo, Uruguay.
After a day of socializing and swimming at the beach, you’re walking to your home in the La Aguada community in La Paloma, Uruguay, with your beach chair and umbrella. The sky is blue, and the sun is warm. You feel relaxed from head to toe. Like your lifestyle here, your home is simple and […]
Punta del Este, Uruguay, is to South America what the Hamptons are to North America and Saint-Tropez is to Europe. It’s a picturesque beach town that buzzes with vacationers and activity during the summer high season. And over the last decade, Punta del Este is growing in popularity as an expat haven. As you’d expect […]
If you’ve seen pictures of quintessential Ireland, you’ll probably have seen photos of the lakes of Killarney in Ireland’s County Kerry. Having these glorious landscapes on your doorstep costs far less than you may think.
After living in Medellin, Colombia, for a few months it struck me that I was enjoying San Diego weather at a quarter of the cost of living.
Blessed with some of the country’s best beaches—as well as great golﬁng—Hua Hin has been a Thai holiday hot-spot for almost 100 years. More recently, foreigners have also discovered everything this town of 80,000 people has to offer. New condo complexes and housing developments are springing up within a 10-mile radius, hand-in-hand with a burgeoning infrastructure of new malls, international restaurants, and tourist attractions that were much more difﬁcult to ﬁnd just a few years ago.
European real estate is on sale…at least in a few select locales. You know the story by now. In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. It became a gold rush. A mad frenzy. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. Credit dried up. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply underwater.
The Romans’ influence stretches down the millennia into architecture, literature, theater, warfare, politics… They are a pillar upon which Western civilization is built. At its height, the Roman Empire held sway over much of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. Its borders expanded over the centuries as the Romans took new lands… or shrunk in the face of barbarian hordes that invaded as the empire declined.
If you’re considering a home in the Emerald Isle, now is a great time to buy. After years of price falls and stagnation, the property market is starting to come out of the doldrums. And for North American buyers, the currency exchange rate means that your dollars now go further than they have in a decade.
Imagine a land like something from a fairy tale. Magnificent châteaux have spiky black turrets resembling witches’ hats. Immaculate Renaissance gardens prove that horticulture is indeed an art form. Riverbank towns with timber-framed houses, ancient arched bridges, and openair markets dot the landscape. Vineyards give way to wheat fields studded with scarlet poppies and scarecrows that are far too prettily dressed to be outside scaring crows.
There’s a situation right now worth your attention south of the U.S. in Mexico. Mexico is set to become a developed country in the coming decades. You can benefit most from this economic transformation in the beach city of Playa del Carmen. The strategy? Buy best-in-class real estate, particularly the type of real estate that will appeal to the mobile entrepreneurs and young, new, upper middle-class families that are moving there.
Before the automobile came along, people lived life on a more intimate scale. You shopped at the local butcher, baker, and grocer (whom you knew by name). The café downstairs, or down the street, was your second home, and its patrons your second family. You scheduled your day by how long it took to walk from place to place…and nobody was in a rush, anyway.
Five years ago I moved to Malaysia. It’s a fun-loving, outdoorsy, and welcoming country. It’s friendly and English speaking—even the road signs are in English, and the roads in Malaysia are some of the best that I have seen anywhere in the world.
Cheerful songbirds greet you as you enjoy a rich Italian coffee on your terrace. The sun rises from the direction of the Adriatic Sea—a mere half-hour drive away.
Ireland is about the best place I can think of for genuine hospitality. Folks speak English—which is a big plus—and hopping around Europe from your Emerald Isle retreat is a synch thanks to low-cost airlines. (For example, flights of a couple of hours to France cost from $80.) I’m sure you know the country’s real estate market took a beating during the crisis. It’s picking up, but there are still great-value properties to be uncovered.
Mexico is set to become a developed country in the coming decades. We can benefit most from this economic transformation in the beach city of Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen, a veritable boom town today, is already a well-recognized name among tourists. But today it’s becoming something more than just a hot spot for travelers.