What Canadian hasn’t dreamed of a tropical getaway where they can enjoy warm temperatures all year round? While getting away from the cold is in itself a strong motivation, the reasons that drive people to purchase property south of the border are far more diverse. Whether they are simply looking for a vacation home, a place for retirement, or an ambitious investment opportunity, Canadians have some great home buying destinations on their wish list.
To find out where they want to purchase a second home, we analyzed Canadians’ Google searches from January 2017 to January 2018, using keywords regarding homes for sale abroad, in countries located in the Americas. We then ranked these countries based on average monthly search volume. You’ll find the results quite surprising!
Here are the 30 most popular home buying destinations in the Americas today:
Let’s check out the top 5 most looked-up locations in more detail. If you want to jump directly to one specific market, click on its corresponding button below:
#1 Mexico – 18,780 monthly searches from Canada
Mexico is the number one choice for Canadians who want to purchase a second property. Actually, Mexico remains the top go-to place, based on a similar report we launched back in 2015. And let’s face it, who doesn’t dream of living in a tropical paradise with turquoise waters and golden beaches? Here are the top 5 most sought-after Mexican locations for Canadians:
Puerto Vallarta stands out as the most looked-up destination in the country, with 2,940 monthly Google searches. The second place is held by Playa del Carmen, the fastest growing real estate market in Latin America, accounting for 1,470 searches. Cabo San Lucas is the third choice on Canadians’ wish list (960 searches per month). The city of Mérida is the fourth (830 searches), famous for its rich Mayan and colonial architecture. The most expensive location in the country, Cancún, is in fifth place in the ranking with 800 searches.
Mexico is considerably more affordable than Canada when it comes to housing, with the average home selling price here (52,325 CAD) being more than 11 times less than it is in Canada (where the MLS® Home Price Index Benchmark Price is at 602,100 CAD). So, if you’re wondering what 600,000 CAD can get you in Mexico, here are a few stunning options:
- a 3-bedroom condo in Puerto Vallarta with traditional furnishings
- a 3-bedroom apartment in Playa del Carmen with a private swimming pool
- a 2-level 3-bedroom penthouse in Cabo San Lucas
#2 United States – 11,300 monthly searches from Canada
The United States holds the second place in our top home buying destinations ranking, a jump in popularity compared to 2015 when it came in fourth.
In fact, according to NAR’s Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, foreign investment in the States reached a new high in 2017, with most sales activity confined to sunny Florida, California, and Texas.
In terms of housing affordability, our southern neighbor is more accessible than Canada. The median home selling price in the U.S. (312,482 CAD) is roughly half the Canadian one (602,100 CAD), which could be yet another incentive to purchase property south of the border.
As you may guess, the options available in the U.S. are quite a few and can offer a lot. Check out what 600,000 CAD can get you here:
- a 5-bedroom detached home in Texas, with a lake view
- a 2-story 5-bedroom home in California
- a 4-bedroom house in Florida, with a private pool
#3 Costa Rica – 9,770 monthly searches from Canada
Costa Rica is the third most sought-after location by Canadians, falling one place compared to three years ago when it held the second spot. Living an exotic lifestyle in Costa Rica sounds like something many of us would enjoy, right? The country’s motto, ‘Pura Vida’, meaning ‘Pure Life’, makes for an attractive statement.
Even though the country is still rebuilding itself after the hit it took from Tropical Storm Nate last October, it still has a lot to offer. Here are the top 5 Costa Rican destinations that are most looked up by Canadians:
Tamarindo is the first choice when it comes to buying a second home on the island, featuring 570 monthly searches. The second most sought-after location is Jacó (270 searches), boasting luxurious homes as well as sites. The province of Guanacaste comes in third (250 searches). Playas del Coco stands out as the fourth option on Canadians’ wish list, in a tie with Santa Teresa, Dominical and Manuel Antonio (140 searches per month). Last in the top 5 list is Ojochal, accounting for 130 monthly searches.
The median price of a home in Canada (~600,000 CAD) will get you:
- a luxurious 2-bedroom oceanfront condo in Tamarindo
- a 3-bedroom beachfront apartment in Jacó
- a 2-bedroom home in Santa Teresa, with a private swimming pool
#4 Belize – 6,290 monthly searches from Canada
Belize ranks fourth in Canadians’ preferences, falling one spot in the rankings compared to three years ago when it was third. The country has recently been included in CNBC’s picture-perfect locations for retirement and is sure to impress with its huge number of islands (450 to be exact), not to mention its beautiful coral reef, the second largest in the world.
According to the financial website The Street, there are several places here one should consider moving to. For those looking to buy a second home, the most popular options are the Ambergris Caye island, the inland Cayo District, and the coastal communities of Corozal and Placencia.
Getting around is as easy as it comes since Belize is officially an English-speaking country. And so is investing in real estate—foreigners are subject to modern legislation, so they enjoy the same rights as locals when it comes to home ownership and can also take advantage of the low real estate taxes and the low overall cost of living.
For the median price of a home in Canada (~600,000 CAD), in Belize you can buy:
- 0.554 acres of oceanfront land in Ambergris Caye
- a 3-bedroom detached home in Belize City, with a private garden
- a 4-bedroom villa in Corozal, private pool included
#5 Dominican Republic – 4,790 monthly searches from Canada
According to the website Travel Pulse, over 800,000 people from Canada visited the Dominican Republic in 2017, making it the number one Caribbean destination for Canadian tourists. The country also holds the fifth spot on their wish list of buying a second home, climbing up the rankings compared to 2015 when it came in sixth.
The most popular Dominican places to live in are capital Santo Domingo, coastal cities Puerto Plata, Sosúa and Cabrera in the north, and Samaná and Punta Cana in the east, and inland destinations Santiago de los Caballeros, Jarabacoa and Constanza.
The Dominican Republic’s recovery after being hit by Hurricane Maria last September was rather speedy and tourism has been up and running for quite some time. Moreover, investment in real estate by foreigners is highly encouraged, with Law 171-07 providing attractive incentives in the form of tax benefits.
For the median price of a home in Canada (~600,000 CAD), one can buy:
To see specific figures on all the 30 destinations included in the top home buying destinations ranking hover over the bars in the chart below:
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