In a newfound world that embraces the remote work revolution, Canadians are increasingly directing their real estate dollars outside of Canada and into second homes in dreamy -- and often much warmer -- spots.
This comes at a time when the cost of recreational properties in provinces like the already notoriously pricey British Columbia and Ontario soared to sky-high levels not long after the onset of the pandemic.
One scroll of social media last winter would reveal that a good handful of Instagram “friends” relocated -- at least temporarily so -- to warmer pastures in places like Nosara, Costa Rica and Miami. Many relied on sublet accommodations, but some actually bit the bullet and purchased second homes.
To discover this year’s preferences in out-of-country home-buying, Point2 analysts examined the search volumes for more than 2,000 real estate-related keywords in islands, countries, and cities outside Canada to find the 30 most popular locations for second homes in the Americas in 2022.
Mexico maintained its #1 position as the most popular home buying location, recording a 28% increase in searches, with dreamy locations like Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen being the most searched destinations.
South of the border, the United States retained its #2 position on the podium, with Maui, New York, and Miami in the top preferences for Canadian homebuyers.
Costa Rica takes the #3 spot for the fourth year, with a 23% increase in monthly searches, of which Tamarindo, Jaco, and Nosara took the largest share.
Meanwhile, Canadians’ interest grew the most over the previous 12 months in El Salvador and Grenada, with real estate-related searches for these locations increasing by 87% and 66%, respectively. With a 34% jump, the Dominican Republic saw the most significant increase in the number of monthly searches of all of the countries in the top 10 most desirable home-buying locations.
"We have experienced exponential growth, and this is due to several factors. First of all, it’s worth highlighting the knowledge of more than 14 years in the real estate area that added to the tools we use and the incorporation of more than 16 agents nationwide, along with all the advertising established in the different social networks," says Felix Del Valle, of Bienes Raices Dominicana Real Estate.
"This added to the issue that we all know about the pandemic and the desire of people to go out and invest in other destinations. At that point we understood that the attraction to our country is due to the excellent investment climate offered by the economic stability and great opening offered by the central government, the Dominican Republic being one of the first countries in the region to open its doors to tourism and foreign investment for economic reactivation. All these factors have generated this real estate movement in our country," he continues.
It should be noted that the two countries that saw the most significant increases in interest and the number of monthly searches didn’t make the top 30: Real estate-related searches in Guyana and Dominica went up 254% and 112%, respectively, but that wasn’t enough to earn the two locations spots on the list.
In the last year, searches increased for 17 countries on this list and fell for the other 13 (although they still made the list due to their significant search volumes). Notably, the largest drop in the number of real estate-related keywords was for the US Virgin Islands (-30%), followed by Turks and Caicos Islands (-29%) and Ecuador (-29%).
Not surprisingly, the common denominators are that most of the top spots are in a warm climate (and -- judging from last year's brutal winter -- why the heck not?) and feature relatively affordable real estate compared to parts of Canada.