If you live in a real estate hot spot such as New York City or San Francisco, the dream of homeownership may be just that — a dream. But as we all know from watching dozens of Disney movies and hours of House Hunters International, fantasies do come true. Sometimes those lofty aspirations just need to be adjusted to fit in with reality (in this case, the reality of a modest bank account balance). While a SoHo loft or SoMa condo might be out of reach, an international vacation home that’s just a flight away could actually be affordable.
Yes, we know that there’s LOTS to consider when buying property in another land (from issues with non-citizen ownership to being so far away), but there are perks (extra income from renting it out to always having your own spot at your disposal). Plus, if things get too cray cray here in the good old US, you have your getaway plan ready. Interested? You know you are! Here are eight places around the world where you property dollars will go far.
1. Cayo District, Belize (Price: $40,000 and up): It only takes about two hours to get to Belize from places in the US like Houston or Miami, which makes it super easy for many to visit on the regular. Lucky for us, non-nationals can buy their dream home with full title to land and property in Belize. Another factor that makes it attractive to Americans is that the official language is English so trying to recall Spanish 101 won’t be necessary, but you can learn some Belizean Creole or one of the three Mayan languages that are spoken there if you’d like to impress the locals. (Data via Belize Property)
2. Algarve, Portugal (Price: $85,000 and up): South of the capital of Lisbon lies the splendor of the Algarve with its Mediterranean beaches, sandy nooks and coves, and those stunning orange-hued cliffs. It’s a hot spot for European vacationers who go for the sun, sea, and year-round temperate temperatures. Plus, you could bump into Madonna when visiting nearby Sintra, where she bought an 18th-century Moorish mansion. She’d practically be your neighbor! (Data via Algarve Property)
3. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Price: $32,000 and up): If you live on the West Coast, it’s a quick flight to Puerto Vallarta (only about three hours from LAX). And given that Mexico is such a popular destination, it’d be pretty easy to rent out your casa when you’re not using it. (For those on the East Coast, don’t feel left out! You can snag a place a little closer to your side of the country in Playa del Carmen.) Note that when purchasing a home in Mexico, the property is placed into a bank trust called a fideicomiso, which allows non-nationals to use and have control of the property. (Data via Realtor.com)
4. Samaná Peninsula, Dominican Republic (Price: $63,000 and up): If you have your sights set on a Caribbean getaway, the Dominican Republic is an economical choice (although we still dream of buying our very own island). DR has a large population of expats, retirees, and foreign vacay homeowners who forgo the plethora of all-inclusive resorts on the island for their very own slice of paradise. (Data via DR Properties)
5. Abruzzo, Italy (Price: $2 and up): If you’re looking for an Under the Tuscan Sun experience, get a fixer-upper in the Italian countryside. It’s a romantic notion for sure, but if done correctly it can be truly epic. If you don’t want to brush up on your Italian so you can get to work alongside the construction crew, there are plenty of turnkey apartments and homes available (but those will cost more obvs). Another option is to see if there are any homes left in the Italian town of Ollolai as part of the “Case 1 euro project” where you can buy a home for one euro. Yes, ONE EURO! (Data via Abruzzo Reality)
6. Medellín, Colombia (Price: $65,000 and up): Colombia has undergone a tremendous transformation and replaced its bad rep with good press, like the UK’s Telegraph piece “How Medellín Went from Murder Capital to Hipster Holiday Destination.” And hip it is. Medellín, AKA the “city of eternal spring,” has a distinctly European vibe with top-notch restaurants and a thriving café culture that coexist with destinations like Barefoot Park and unique boutiques, not to mention plenty of nature sprinkled throughout. Apartment costs in the city have been going up every year, but they’re still affordable. (Data via Escape Artist)
7. Freeport, Bahamas (Price: $55,000 and up): Ever since we saw our friend’s unbelievable vacation home/rental in Bora Bora, we’ve been a wee bit obsessed with the idea of an island home of our own. Prices in French Polynesia tend to skew towards the high end (and yes, there are several private islands you can snag in the area). So instead we started daydreaming about the way more affordable Bahamas, especially after experiencing the bliss that is Castaway Cay. There are many options for condos right near the water, and while the condos might be tiny, odds are you’ll be at the beach most of the time anyway. (Data via The Bahamas MLS)
8. Brittany, France (Price: $24,000 and up): Cozy cottages, barns begging for restoration, and old stone homes are available in the northwestern region of France known as Brittany with a gorgeous coastline, lush forests, and oodles of French charm. It’s about a four-hour drive from Paris, so while not super close, it’s still closer than being home in the states. Another place to consider is Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a picturesque area that is famous for its cows and cognac, as well as the wine region of Bordeaux. (Data via Green Acres)
Which location would you buy a vacay home in? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know.
(Photos via Getty)