Hot Spots: Top 30 Home Buying Destinations in the Americas

by Cristina Oprean
7 min. read

Let’s face it, we all dream of owning a vacation home in some exotic location where the sun shines brighter and the weather is warm all year round. Or how about a remote place for retirement where tranquility is the natural order of the day?

We wanted to see exactly what locations people in the United States look up online the most when they think about buying a second home. To do this, we checked out U.S. users’ Google searches from January 2017 to January 2018, using keywords regarding homes for sale abroad, in countries located in the Americas, and we then ranked these countries based on average monthly search volume. The findings are quite surprising.

Here are the 30 most popular destinations in which to buy a second property 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 – 63,890 monthly searches from the U.S.

Mexico is the number one choice for American residents. In the United States, there were almost 64,000 monthly searches for homes for sale here during the course of the last year. Compared to 2015, when we launched a similar report and Mexico ranked fourth, the country managed to climb up the rankings quite a lot. And who wouldn’t want to live in a place that combines charming cities with sandy beaches? Here are the top five Mexican destinations on Americans’ wish lists:

Puerto Vallarta stands out as the most sought-after location in Mexico by U.S. residents, with the most Google searches (10,230). Its international airport announced that they received over 3 million foreign passengers in 2017, out of which half were visitors from the U.S. alone.

San Miguel de Allende is the second favorite, with 6,990 monthly searches and the guarantee of an alluring cultural scene. The city was named the world’s top urban destination in 2017 by Travel + Leisure magazine, an award based on their readers’ travel experiences.

The real estate market in Playa del Carmen is the fastest growing in Latin America with more and more investors showing interest in purchasing exotic homes here. It is also the third most looked-up Mexican destination by U.S. residents, accounting for 6,510 searches on Google.

Places with turquoise waters and pristine beaches continue to be among the most tempting locations, such as Cabo San Lucas, which is the fourth most tracked-down destination for buying a second property (6,000 monthly searches).

Cancún ranks fifth in Americans’ preferences, with 5,380 searches, even though it stands out as the most expensive of any area in the country.

While still recovering from the severe earthquake which struck in September 2017, capital Mexico City accounts for 2,660 monthly searches on Google.

Overall, Mexico is considerably more affordable in terms of housing than the U.S. The average home selling price here (40,275 USD) is more than five times less than in the States (median price of 240,500 USD). 240,000 USD in Mexico will get you:

#2 Canada – 55,290 monthly searches from the U.S.

U.S. residents aren’t only interested in moving south anymore. They’re also considering going north, with Canada emerging as the second most attractive destination for buying another home. Compared to 2015, when it held the seventh spot in the ranking, the Great White North managed to spark Americans’ interest quite a lot this past year, showcasing over 55,000 Google searches per month on average.

Although temperatures here are not as nice as they are in tropical countries, rest assured that Canada has a lot to offer. Maple syrup, lengthy ski seasons, the northern lights and the unyielding politeness of people are just a few of its attractions. And for those who like nature, the country impresses with its wildlife and beautiful landscape.

Even though Canada recently stood out as the least affordable nation in North America, with its biggest urban centers Vancouver and Toronto taking most of the heat for expensive housing, it has plenty of other attractive options, such as Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.

For those looking specifically for millennial hot spots in Canada this 2018, the top 5 destinations to keep in mind are Quebec City, Victoria, Guelph, Halifax, and Ottawa.

For the median home price in the U.S. today of ~240,000 USD one can buy:

#3 Puerto Rico – 46,600 monthly searches from the U.S.

Puerto Rico ranks third on Americans’ wish list, the same position that it had three years ago. As one might expect, the interest in homes for sale here saw a downward trend after the devastating Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017. Even so, five months after the disaster, things are looking up for the island.

Electricity has been restored almost everywhere in the country, mobile reception is available in most places and hotels have started receiving guests. Many establishments took advantage of the situation and renovated their properties or upgraded them. Puerto Rico welcomes tourism and real estate investments as they help with the country’s rehabilitation.

For the median price of a U.S. home (~240,000 USD), in Puerto Rico you can buy:

#4 Costa Rica – 39,620 monthly searches from the U.S.


Living in a tropical paradise such as Costa Rica would be a dream come true for many of us. The country’s motto ‘Pura Vida,’ meaning ‘Pure Life,’ captures its sense of peace and tranquility perfectly. The country ranks fourth in Americans’ preferences for buying a second home, falling two spots compared to 2015 when it was second.

Costa Rica is still recovering from the disaster caused by Tropical Storm Nate last October, but it has much to offer. Here are the top 5 most looked-up Costa Rican destinations by Americans:

Tamarindo is U.S. residents’ favorite spot, with 1,920 searches per month this past year. A long-time surfer’s haven, this beach is perfect for both beginner and advanced wave masters.

The second most sought-after location in Costa Rica is Jacó, accounting for 1,380 searches. Jacó Beach is known for catering to those who want to live a life of luxury.

The province of Guanacaste comes in third (790 monthly searches), and is already famous to U.S. retirees who seem to be fueling local development.

The fourth place is held by Santa Teresa, or ‘the Next Tulum’ as it is also called, with 610 searches, and the fifth by none other than capital San José (560 searches), which has recently been named a top destination on the rise by TripAdvisor.

For the median price of a U.S. home (~240,000 USD), in Costa Rica you can buy:

with access to private swimming pools for each.

#5 Belize – 30,910 monthly searches from the U.S.

Home to the second largest coral reef in the world and comprising no less than 450 islands, Belize is most certainly a tropical paradise. The country is the fifth most looked-up destination by Americans (with an average of 31,000 Google searches per month), dropping four spots since 2015 when it was the top-ranked destination.

The country was recently included by CNBC in its top seven picture-perfect locations for retirement. Several places here have been attracting attention, according to financial website The Street, so if you’re looking to buy a second home, you might want to consider the Ambergris Caye island, the inland Cayo District, and the coastal communities of Corozal and Placencia as locations to settle down.

Foreigners enjoy the same rights as locals when it comes to home ownership in Belize. With a low cost of living and low real estate taxes, this English-speaking country has a lot going for it. For the median price of a U.S. home (~240,000 USD), in Belize you can buy:

To see specific figures for each of the 30 destinations included in the ranking hover over the bars in the chart below:

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We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the story in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

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