The Housing market is booming south of the Border
Check this video and you will understand Baja Sur:
The housing slump has sent many Americans shopping south of the border.
Existing-home prices in the U.S. dropped considerably, according to S&P/Case-Shiller. But they are still climbing in much of Latin America and the Caribbean.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Buyers are being enticed by the kind of double-digit appreciation that has all but disappeared in the States. In addition, a growing number of new developments are targeting Americans looking for good deals and a lower cost of living.
Prices remain low compared with those in the U.S., particularly for waterfront properties. Because Americans generally buy and sell properties throughout the region in dollars, not the local currency, home prices don't fluctuate with the various exchange rates, as is the case in Europe. What's more, the dollar generally buys much more house in these countries than it does in the U.S., because labor and land are less expensive.
LIKE FLORIDA IN THE '50s
Still, the rapid appreciation is drawing growing numbers of bargain hunters, making good deals scarcer and causing some customers to look beyond the usual vacation hot spots. In the Dominican Republic, Century 21 broker Dean Brown says that 80% of his buyers this year have been Americans, compared with half last year. Softec, a real-estate consulting firm, says in the past three years, investments in vacation homes in Mexico, primarily by buyers from the U.S. and Canada, have shot up by 60%.
Some buyers are buying sight unseen. Shams Deitrick, a Walnut Creek, Calif., financial adviser, recently bought a furnished, two-bedroom "ocean view villa" for $375,000 in Canto del Mar, a new 35-unit development in the southern Costa Rica town of Dominica; the project has already sold out. "All I saw was the Web site, which showed a sloth 30 feet from the unit, and monkeys everywhere," Mr. Deitrick says.
He snapped up the home on the advice of a gym buddy, who said his own Costa Rican properties have quadrupled in value over the past four years. Although Mr. Deitrick isn't looking forward to the daylong flight to Dominica when he visits for the first time in February, he says he's glad he bought the property: "It just doesn't make sense to buy in the U.S. right now."
This article was published on the Wall Street Journal, all rights reserved
Don't be the one left out, like Mark Twain said: "Last time I've heard, they are not making any more land"