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Hot Locations: The 30 Most Popular Second Home Buying Destinations in the Americas

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When it started almost two years ago, the pandemic upended people’s lives. Hobbies were forgotten, all activities that were not hand washing and mask buying were set aside, and all plans were put on hold. Travel plans were chief among them, as planes and trains and ships all ground to a halt in the weeks and months that followed the first lockdown.

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Travelers and those interested in moving abroad were hit especially hard by the new restrictions. However, the temporary clamp down only seemed to make Americans more eager and more determined to try and find a better home, a bigger property or a sunnier backyard somewhere south or north of the border.

With much more time on their hands and with precious else left to occupy their imagination, many Americans took to travel planning and house hunting in the virtual space. And as the analysis of search patterns by real estate platform Point2 revealed, some countries and places in the Americas take precedence when it comes to Americans’ preferences for second home locations.

Compared to 2015 and 2018, some countries have retained their privileged position at the top, while others were dethroned by newly minted, second home and vacation home heavens.

So, which are the most desirable destinations for second home buying? Mexico and Canada remain the most popular destinations in which to buy a second home in the Americas. Puerto Rico — the third-most sought-after location in 2018 — dropped to number four, switching places with Costa Rica. Newcomer Honduras kicked Jamaica out of the top 10 most-wanted locations. New countries to enter top 30 include: El Salvador, Grenada, Anguilla, and Peru.

  1. Mexico’s Fabulous Beaches & Enchanting Lifestyle Continue to Attract American Homebuyers

No other country was able to surpass Mexico so, in 2021, it remains the most popular destination for Americans looking to buy a home abroad. Gathering more than 80,000 monthly searches, Mexico is the obvious vacation choice given its wide array of activities, leisure opportunities, and spectacular gastronomic options.

Also, with beaches for miles, relaxing waves and colorful wildlife, looking for homes for sale in Puerto Vallarta or San Miguel de Allende makes sense for many of the people who feel trapped inside crammed city apartments.

Puerto Vallarta is the most-searched destination, followed by San Miguel de Allende and Cabo San Lucas. Boasting the most Google searches of all of the real estate markets in the country, these superlative resort-style cities have all the sand and sea, captivating architecture and entertainment options that anyone could wish for.

San Miguel de Allende is a hidden gem that’s sure to make repeaters of all of its first-time visitors and, moreover, turn many visitors into permanent residents. Proof of the city’s incredible magnetism, as well as its acceptance and harmonious living are the 63 different nationalities living together and calling San Miguel home.

The third most-researched Mexican destination is Cabo San Lucas. Americans who want to move here are mostly fascinated by the pristine beaches and spectacular water vistas, as well as the city’s busy night life, abundant food and dining options, and vibrant art scene.

  1. Canada Retains Its Appeal for American Second-Home Buyers

Jumping from the 7th place in 2015 straight to #2 in 2018, Canada has managed to retain its place on the podium in 2021 as well. The U.S. neighbor to the north has become a mainstay, in large part due to its proximity and ease of access but also to Canadians’ famed deference and politeness and to the country’s amazing ski resorts, endless hiking trails and breathtaking northern lights spectacle.

Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON are the most popular locations for Americans looking to buy a second home. Coming in at #3 — but definitely trailing behind the first two markets in terms of number of searches — is Hamilton, ON.

But for those who are more interested in the best cities for young people, more specifically Canada’s top millennial hot spots, the cities that are the most attractive are Québec City, QC; Ottawa, ON; and Kingston, ON.

  1. Tropical Paradise Costa Rica Earns Spot as In-Demand Second-Home Location

Costa Rica has something for everyone: Those who simply want to relax in the sun all day can take advantage of the country’s endless beaches while the adventurous types can spend as much time as possible surfing, white-water rafting, visiting the hot springs of Arenal or watching wildlife.

And what are the top three most-desirable locations for Americans? Tamarindo, Jaco and Santa Ana. If Tamarindo and Jaco are known for their beaches, great surfing, water sports and activities and amazing national parks, Santa Ana is famous for its professional 18-hole golf course, a bustling downtown area with plenty of shopping venues and restaurants.

No matter the place they choose, with a bit of luck, American second home buyers are sure to find their own home away from home in these countries. Garnering tens of thousands of searches, tropical havens and oases of adventure or tranquility such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, or Canada might be the perfect places to escape and unwind.

Top Destinations for Buying a Second Home