High prices, a high mortgage rate, and dwindling supply… Prospective homebuyers in the United States face a near-impossible situation, and home sales are suffering as a result. They’re at their lowest levels in 13 years.
Instead of waiting on a frozen market to thaw, those interested in buying property for lifestyle or investment should look beyond the borders of the United States, where the best deals are found.
Northern Cyprus—47% Savings Relative To The U.S. Market
- Average cost per square foot: $118
- Estimated cost of a 1,000-square-foot apartment: $118,000
Northern Cyprus is a region and de facto state of the Republic of Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It’s known for its long, sandy shores, abundant sunshine, excellent cuisine, and friendly locals.
Historical tensions between the north and south of Cyprus have meant that, until recently, tourism and development have been focused on the south. Today, relations are relaxed, and it’s business as usual on both sides of the border.
This creates an opportunity for real estate investors and people looking to buy a home abroad because prices are more affordable in Northern Cyprus, and it’s headed towards a tourism boom. New hotels are opening, as well as casinos, golf courses, and luxury marinas, as the world catches on to its appeal.
For now, real estate in Northern Cyprus remains fantastically affordable. The best deals are in pre-construction developments, where you can buy property for even less than the per-square-foot average I quote.
Also, property trades in British pounds in Northern Cyprus. Bargains for U.S. dollar holders could be enhanced in 2024, since the pound is forecast to drop in value against the dollar.
Brazil—38% Savings Relative To The U.S. Market
- Average cost per square foot in Fortaleza: $138
- Estimated cost of a 1,000-square-foot apartment: $138,000
Brazil is a global powerhouse with one of the strongest, most diversified economies in the world. Because it’s largely self-sufficient, it’s well-insulated from global crises, and savvy investors seek it out as a safe place to store their money.
It’s also massive—the fifth biggest country in the world, home to over 4,500 miles of coastline, pristine beaches, the Amazon rain forest, rich culture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and more.
If you’re looking to buy a beach property abroad, Brazil should be on your radar. It offers some of the best beachfront real estate opportunities to be found anywhere in the world today.
Where in Brazil should you be looking to buy property? Instead of crowded cities like Sao Paulo and Rio, follow the locals to domestic vacation destinations like Fortaleza and the surrounding areas, where you can buy a home by the beach for $70,000 to $140,000.
Colombia—34% Savings Relative To The U.S. Market
- Average cost per square foot in Medellin: $145
- Estimated cost of a 1,000-square-foot apartment: $145,000
Following years of steady price increases, housing markets are decelerating in Colombia’s major cities. But where affordability meets value, real estate in Colombia is hard to beat.
Medellin is one of the most in-demand cities in the country, commanding strong tourism numbers and offering perfect weather, attractive surroundings, and a sophisticated cosmopolitan lifestyle. Forward-thinking and innovative, it continues to win awards in areas like urban design and sustainable development.
For coastal property, look to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast instead of the famed Cartagena, where property prices and costs of living are inflated.
Santa Marta is a domestic tourism draw, offering much of the same appeal as Cartagena (beaches, Spanish-colonial architecture, culture, and more) at a better price.
Currency can accentuate savings for U.S. dollar holders, and the Colombian peso remains weak against the dollar by historic standards.
Another benefit of investing in Colombia is that it grants residency to investors who make purchases above certain financial thresholds. Invest 350 times the minimum monthly wage (about $112,000) in real estate, and you could become eligible for a three-year temporary residence permit.
Montenegro—32% Savings Relative To The U.S. Market
- Average cost per square foot: $151
- Estimated cost of a 1,000-square-foot apartment: $151,000
Montenegro is a tiny country in Southeast Europe. It has a long coastline along the Adriatic Sea—arguably the most beautiful body of water in the Mediterranean that also laps the shores of Bari, Italy.
Although it’s not a household name in the United States yet, people in the know have been buying property in Montenegro for some time—particularly the ultra-wealthy. Billionaire developers have built luxury marinas where the one percent moor their superyachts.
Prices for real estate in Montenegro are on the rise, increasing by more than 9% during the year to Q2 of 2023. Despite this, it remains one of the most affordable markets in Europe.
My top choice for where to buy property in Montenegro is Kotor Bay, home to the country’s most beautiful, best-appointed stretch of coastline. It’s a deep inlet of the Adriatic that contains sparkling waters, towering mountains, and medieval stone villages as well as luxury developments.
If you’re in the market for a buy-to-let investment, the best deals are in pre-construction developments around Kotor Bay where your investment can be fully turn-key.
Montenegro may be joining the eurozone in the next few years. When that happens, there should be a significant and rapid appreciation in property values.
Properties in Montenegro trade in euros. The euro is down about 10% relative to the U.S. dollar over the past two years and about 20% lower than long-term trends. This presents a low-cost buying opportunity with a chance for further appreciation if exchange rates revert to historical rates.
Greece—23% Savings Relative To The U.S. Market
- Average cost per square foot in Chania: $171
- Estimated cost of a 1,000-square-foot apartment: $171,000
Greece’s property market is red hot. It recorded the biggest year-on-year house price increases in 20 years during the first half of 2023. Sales are being fueled by economic growth and an increase in foreign interest in its real estate market.
That said, there are big price differences between its urban and rural areas. Athens commands the highest home prices, at about $214 per square foot.
For the best property deals, look to bigger islands that are far enough away from the capital to not be considered weekend getaways for Athenians. Greece has 6,000 islands and a collective coastline length of over 10,500 miles.
Corfu and Crete are among my top choices for real estate investment in Greece. Both islands are big enough to offer a range of property types and prices and are popular with British and other European tourists.
Chania, Crete, stands out for its colorful historic center that’s full of trendy shops, restaurants, and cafés housed in ancient Venetian architecture and tucked away among narrow backstreets.
Greece still offers a golden visa program—one of the few remaining in Europe. Investors can gain residency by spending 250,000 euros on real estate in a low-density area of the country or 500,000 euros on real estate in a high-density area (Athens, Thessaloniki, and elsewhere).