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Second Homes in the Americas: Canadians’ Top 30 Most Popular Homebuying Locations in 2022

With an 87% increase in the number of monthly searches, El Salvador recorded the largest spike in interest from Canadian homebuyers, while the U.S. Virgin Islands saw the most significant drop (-30%) compared to the previous 12 months.

by Andra Hopulele
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7 min. read
  • Already getting the most attention from buyers of second homes, real estate searches in Mexico really took off in the past 12 months: The number of monthly searches for real estate-related keywords increased by 28%.
  • Mexico, U.S. and Costa Rica remained Canadians’ absolute favourites when it came to the most popular locations for buying a second home or a vacation home.
  • With a 34% jump, the Dominican Republic saw the most significant increase in the number of monthly searches of all of the countries in the top 10 most desirable homebuying locations.
  • Despite an 87% increase in monthly searches — the biggest jump among the 30 countries analyzed — El Salvador only came in at #27.

The last 12 months proved that Canadians are getting bolder about buying a vacation home. Compared to our previous analysis, searches for keywords like “homes for sale in Hawaii,” “real estate in Tulum” and “condos for sale in Punta Cana” have increased. Canadian homebuyers are also getting clearer on the locations that they want: While certain spots fell from grace, others gained in popularity and rose in the top 30 best homebuying destinations.

So, what changed and what stayed the same in the dreamy realm of second homes and vacation properties in the last 12 months? Are Canadian homebuyers loyal to their now trusted locations or are they changing their preferences? To see what the new trends were, we analyzed search volumes for more than 2,000 real estate-related keywords in islands, countries and cities across the Americas.

Most Popular Second Home Buying Locations for Canadians#1 Top Contender: Mexico Remains Canadians’ First Choice

Just like their neighbours to the south, Canadian homebuyers are determined to get their own slice of paradise in the vacation oasis that is Mexico. Attracted by the country’s ravishingly beautiful beaches, gorgeous colonial architecture and not in the least by its hyperpalatable cuisine and low-octane lifestyle, vacationers from all across Canada feel the need for a more permanent foothold in the country.

In the past 12 months, there were nearly 40,000 monthly searches for real estate-related keywords associated with the country, which is a 28% year-over-year increase — and no wonder: In absolutely dreamy locations like Puerto Vallarta, Tulum or Cabo San Lucas, home seekers aren’t just looking for their next vacation home, but also a more laid-back lifestyle and their very own piece of heaven.

And what are the most sought-after locations currently? Recently, Canadians had their sight set on Puerto Vallarta, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Below are just some of the stunning properties that go for approximately the median home price in Canada (or much less), which reached a staggering $665,850 in June, according to CREA:

#2 Hawaii, New York & Las Vegas Remain Real Magnets for Canadians Looking for a Home Across the Border

The U.S. retained its appeal for Canadian homebuyers. Whether they’re looking for a vacation home, a second home or a forever home south of the border, one thing remains obvious: Canadians’ interest in U.S. real estate is only going up. After a 20% Y-o-Y increase, the number of monthly searches currently hovers around 18,000.

Just like last year, the three locations that were top of mind were Maui, New York and Las Vegas. The well-known, popular entertainment hubs and iconic cities like New York and Las Vegas obviously attract many home seekers, but amazing, tropical-weather destinations — like Hawaii and Florida — were also real magnets for snowbirds and vacationers alike. These search patterns show that, while some Canadians are interested in the more notorious or legendary American cities, others move south for the amazing weather in Texas and Arizona, or the beaches in Florida.

Here are some lovely properties that Canadian home buyers could start to call home in the most popular U.S. homebuying locations:

#3 Tropical Paradise Costa Rica Lands on the Podium for 4th Year

For Canadians, it seems as though Costa Rica has become synonymous with laid-back lifestyle, relaxation and a joyous love for life. In short, “pura vida.”

To that end, the three most popular locations for Canadians looking to buy a vacation home were Tamarindo, Jaco and Nosara. Tamarindo and Jaco known for their beaches and amazing national parks, as well as great surfing and other water sports and activities are perfect for the active and adventurous types.

Alternatively, those who’d like to experience slow living and leave the busyness behind should head over to Nosara. Popular mostly for its varied world-class yoga retreats and studios, this place will surely help those who move there to leave the world behind and truly relax.

If you’re already thinking of moving there, check out some of the best homes that money can buy in Costa Rica’s most-wanted cities:

Number of Searches for Vacation Homes Increased Most in El Salvador & Grenada

With 87% and 66% jumps, respectively, in their number of searches, it’s obvious that El Salvador and Grenada have exploded on Canada’s home buying scene for those in search of a second place. Although the number of searches remained low, the fact that they nearly doubled compared to the previous 12 months is indicative of Canadians’ growing interest.

However, the two countries that saw the most significant increases in interest and the number of monthly searches didn’t make the top 30: Real estate-related searches in Guyana and Dominica went up 254% and 112%, respectively, but that wasn’t enough to earn the two locations spots on the list.

In the last year, searches increased for 17 countries on this list and fell for the other 13 (although they still made the list due to their significant search volumes). Notably, the largest drop in the number of real estate-related keywords was for the U.S. Virgin Islands (-30%), followed by Turks and Caicos Islands (-29%) and Ecuador (-29%).

 

Expert Opinion

For more on how foreign homebuyers influence local real estate markets, we looked beyond the data for advised opinions. Here’s what our Dominican Republic expert had to say on recent developments in his area and what Canadian buyers and investors can hope to find once they buy a home in another country:

Felix Del Valle, Project Manager — Bienes Raices Dominicana Real Estate

What are the most significant changes you’ve noticed in your local market this year compared to last year?

We have experienced exponential growth, and this is due to several factors. First of all, it’s worth highlighting the knowledge of more than 14 years in the real estate area that added to the tools we use and the incorporation of more than 16 agents nationwide, along with all the advertising established in the different social networks. This added to the issue that we all know about the pandemic and the desire of people to go out and invest in other destinations. At that point we understood that the attraction to our country is due to the excellent investment climate offered by the economic stability and great opening offered by the central government, the Dominican Republic being one of the first countries in the region to open its doors to tourism and foreign investment for economic reactivation. All these factors have generated this real estate movement in our country.

 

Methodology

  • To discover the most-searched destinations for Canadians who were looking to buy property abroad, we analyzed more than 2,000 keywords related to real estate in combination with all of the countries and territories from the Americas.
  • We used Ahrefs.com to extract the average number of searches per month, for the past 12 months (June 2021 to June 2022).
  • We then ranked these locations based on their accumulated number of searches.
  • For this study, we analyzed the same keywords, during the same periods of time as in previous editions (2015, 2018, and 2021) to be able to accurately assess and compare the evolution of homebuyers’ interest.

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