We are now truly living in the time of the remote worker.
A quick Google News search of “digital nomad”(the term used to describe remote workers who can do their jobs from anywhere with an internet connection) throws up results like “The rise of ‘digital nomads’ in Greece” International Tax Review, “Cities should be quick to capitalize on growing numbers of digital nomads” Buenos Aires Times, and “Just how much do digital nomads spend in Croatia?” Dubrovnik Times.
But it takes more than a Google search to truly understand what’s going on in the world right now as more and more workers break free of their offices, accelerated by (but not started by) the pandemic that hit last year.
While Google might tell you about remote workers in Greece, Argentina, or Croatia, I look at the remote worker trend through a real estate lens and combine the phenomenon with my expertise in international real estate to identify the best places around the world to capitalize on the Zoom Boom through property.
Here are some of the places I recommend as Zoom Boom towns worth your interest as a real estate investor.
Tulum, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, is easily one of the most popular work-from-home destinations in the world right now. It benefits from easy access by air, good weather, beautiful scenery, fun things to do, conveniences and amenities, and, of course, high-speed internet.
Importantly, it’s also in the same time zone as the U.S., which makes it far easier for folks to make the transition.
Even last year, during the height of the pandemic, Lonely Planet called Tulum a hotspot for digital nomads, and a New York Times reporter wrote about her experience working from the beach town.
There are signs up in Tulum for new malls and commercial areas. Luxury furniture stores are springing up on the highway on the way into town. These kinds of stores are rare in seasonal vacation destinations. In the past, folks here would have furnished their apartments by making a run to the city of Playa del Carmen an hour down the highway. Now, Tulum is becoming self-contained, and a city in its own right.
Renters in Tulum today don’t stay for just a couple of nights, but a couple of weeks, sometimes months. This means higher occupancy, even in the shoulder seasons. They stay long-term but are happy to pay short-term rates if it gives them flexibility.
Colombia has been squarely on my RETA beat for nearly a decade. And livable, internationalized cities like Medellín are drawing in mobile, creative, and productive remote workers untethered by the Zoom Boom.
Today, the old cartel and bad reputation that dogged this beautiful city in the days of Pablo Escobar have faded into history.
They have been replaced with a hip, “must visit” city that has much to appeal to the Zoom Boom crowd.
Modern Medellin is one of the most modern and sophisticated cities on my beat. Young digital nomads huddle in trendy watering holes plotting the next Facebook or hang out at the open-air workout areas that can be found here.
The locals are warm, welcoming, friendly, and honest. They feel genuinely happy that foreigners are beginning to visit them.
The Algarve, Portugal
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that the Algarve is where you’ll find the most profitable real estate deals in all of Portugal.
The Algarve is indeed something special. It offers perfect weather, amazing beaches, and world-class golf. It’s easy to get there, the cost of living is low, the food is great, and it’s safe…peaceful. All factors that attract Zoom Boom remote workers.
The Algarve is the kind of place that does well in good times and bad. It attracts a huge mix of markets. It’s an internationalized destination that draws Northern Europeans, North Americans, and even folks from as far away as Asia…
In particular, I’m laser-focused on the historic town of Lagos. It’s a place where the best-in-class property is in incredibly hot demand. By getting in early on the right condos, in the right locations, we can do very well. Demand is surging, supply is scarce, and there are constraints that put serious limitations on availability.
Last year, despite the lockdown, I hear some property owners in Lagos were still pulling in gross rental yields of 7%.
Given what was going on in the world, that’s impressive. And as the Zoom Boom strengthens the rental market here, I predict this will only get better.
I make it my business to stay ahead of trends that could spell real estate profits, and this Zoom Boom is one of the most promising I’ve seen in a while.
I suspect you’ll be hearing more from me about the places on this list as the trend develops.
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