Central America has drawn US investors to its palm lined shores for decades. The promise of a cheap real estate and is proximity to home are contributing factors, but so too the area’s growing tourist trade and increasing receptiveness to foreign investment. However, investing abroad can be both exciting and daunting, and there’s always plenty to think about—from managing the initial purchase to ensuring your real estate investment is fully legal.
Of course, deciding on which country you in which you plan to sink your hard-earned funds should be among your first priorities, and with such a wealth of fantastic opportunities lying just a few hours across the border, it makes sense to make a firm decision and then build from there. For US investors thinking about making the leap, this article is designed to help you along the way. Take a look at the five best places for real estate investment in Central America and make sure you’re making your money work for you.
Many US investors will automatically look at Mexico as a potential destination for real estate investment thanks to its easy accessibility. Just a short hop across the border will offer plenty of exciting opportunities, and Mexico is already home to a number of large US expat communities. This means that the purchasing process is already well understood and there’s plenty of support for new investors. In addition to this, the Mexican economy is considered strong for the region and the tourist industry continues to grow at a startling rate.
If Mexico has long been considered a safe bet for US investors, then Costa Rica is perhaps even more so. As one of the most politically and economically stable nations in the world, US expats and investors have been flocking to this spectacular slice of Central America for a very long time. Again, the buying process is well documented and there’s a wealth of information online—such as this guide to buying property in Costa Rica</a>—as well as in the existing expat communities. Affordability, an exceptional standard of living, and a large tourist trade all help to make an investment in Costa Rica a win-win for investors of any type.
Although less popular than our first two suggestions, Belize has plenty going for it as a real estate investment destination. English is the first language of Belize and the exchange rate is pegged at 2.1 to the dollar—ensuring you get a big bang for your buck. Foreign buyers enjoy the same property rights as citizens, and while there’s not as much documented information on the buying processes in Belize, the system is considered particularly transparent. Additionally, as an up-and-coming vacation destination, there’s plenty of opportunities to tap into the growing tourism industry.
As Central America’s southernmost country, Panama is more difficult to access for investors from the US. However, it still holds some promise as a place for real estate investment thanks to its broad appeal. Panama, of course, is known as one of the most strategically important countries in the world thanks to the Panama Canal. As a result, there’s excellent opportunities in the commercial sector and even within the farming industry. A healthy tourist industry also provides the chance to purchase properties along some of the countries beautiful coastal regions.
For many US investors, Nicaragua suffers from a variety of misconceptions regarding safety and security—something which has kept foreign real estate investment to a minimum. However, as attitudes change and more data is released on just how safe the country is, these misconceptions are proving a boon to savvy investors looking for rock bottom prices on property. There are already a few small expat communities and some support exists regarding the purchasing process, however, the cost of living combined with low property prices are the real draw.
Originally from Nottingham, England, Richard Lacey founded Coldwell Banker Tamarindo in 2011 with the idea of sharing his knowledge and experience of Costa Rica so others could find their dream home. A fluent Spanish speaker and long-term resident, Richard is committed to working with his clients to source the best real estate while balancing the needs of local communities and Costa Rica’s fragile ecosystem.