Imagine yourself walking along a cobblestone road lined with centuries-old buildings and the distant sea. You’re not in a fantasy or on vacation, this is your real home. It didn’t cost a fortune either. )
If you’ve ever dreamed of buying an affordable house in a foreign country and moving there to live the expat life, 2023 is a great time to buy cheap real estate around the world, according to Ronan McMahon, an expert in international real estate.
“There’s a growing scarcity of quality real estate in highly desirable locations–but in the meantime, demand is surging,” McMahon told me in an interview. He is the editor of Real Estate Trend Alert (a publication that tracks the best places in the world to invest in real estate), a trusted contributor to International Living, and the author of three books on international real estate. He’s the editor of Real Estate Trend Alert (a publication that tracks the best places in the world to invest in real estate), a trusted contributor to International Living and the author of three books on international real estate.
At the recent International Living conference, McMahon unveiled his new special report,
The Best Places to Buy Real Estate in the World 2023
, where he shared his top global real estate picks for 2023.Sveti Stefan island in Montenegro, which is one of the cheapest places to buy real estate right now.getty
A view of Boka Bay in Kotor in Montenegro, one of the cheapest places to buy real estate.
In the early 2000s, real estate buyers flocked to Croatia, snapping up ground floor opportunities in historic Dubrovnik and Split. The opportunity to invest in Croatia is now gone. McMahon says that real estate prices are now in line with those of other Mediterranean destinations. However, the situation is different on the southern Dalmatian coast. Montenegro has the same beauty as Croatia but hasn’t experienced the same success as Croatia. Real estate prices in Montenegro are still low. Today, you’ll need to budget for multiples of that amount. Yet, in Montenegro, homes with views of the county’s prettiest bay can still be got for EUR100,000,” says McMahon.
McMahon sees Montenegro right now as a land banking play. He says that the cost of developing land in and around Bay of Kotor remains extremely low by international standard. Spend as little as EUR80-EUR100 per square meter, or $8-10 per square foot for land that is easily developed and has great views. This land is only 15 minutes away from Kotor. Then you sit and wait as development rolls in and prices rise.”Insider Tip:
It’s rumored that Montenegro will join the European Union by 2025–which makes for an interesting investment proposition. McMahon says that if Montenegro joins the EU you may see a strong increase in value. “I believe you have the chance to perhaps triple your money or more in five to ten years.”
Aerial view of the Bay of Cadiz along Portugal’s Silver Coast–a great place to buy cheap real …
gettySilver Coast, Portugal
: “You don’t need to pay cash,” says McMahon. “Banks in Portugal will lend to foreign real estate buyers, as in Spain.”Reclining in a hammock in Manuel Antonio in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica, one of the cheapest
(and best) places in the world to buy real estate right now.getty
Southern Zone, Costa Rica
The Location: Costa Rica’s Southern Zone stretches three hours south of the capital city of San Jose, encompassing towns like Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal. McMahon says that the Southern Zone is what second-home buyers and tourists in Costa Rica are looking for. “It boasts unspoiled beaches, sharp mountains covered in forest, national parks and wildlife on your doorstep–and the opportunity for all kinds of outdoor activities (sea kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife watching).”
Overlooking the Mediterranean sea in Nerja on Spain’s Costa del Sol–a great place to buy real estate
… right now and live abroad.
Costa del Sol, SpainThe Location
: The Costa del Sol has long been one of Europe’s top tourist destinations–and it’s a great place to buy cheap real estate right now and enjoy a lower cost of living.
“This strip of stunning coast ticks a lot of boxes. With 320 sunny days per year, the weather is fantastic. “It’s easy to reach, just a short trip from most European cities with a great airport in Malaga,” McMahon says. “And, it has something for everyone: top-notch golf, marinas, historic towns, museums and shopping, dining and nightlife.”And it’s becoming more and more desirable. It’s become more popular for people to combine a vacation and work at home. The Scoop:
“Los Cabos has emerged as one of the world’s hottest luxury destinations–2023 has already seen another record smashed for visitor numbers,” says McMahon. “Cabo is popular with Hollywood celebrities, tourists and the work-from-home set. It’s also a great place for those who want a piece of southern California, but without the high real estate prices.” McMahon says that the progress in every direction from Los Cabos is exploding. “Cabo and the Baja is the perfect place for folks like us to figure out where and how to be ahead, do deals and make smart investments.” The Scoop
: There are deals all over the area, but one place that really excites McMahon is La Paz, the capital of the state of Baja California Sur. It’s located on the Sea of Cortez and is a 2-hour drive away from Los Cabos. La Paz is an area where real estate dollars go a long way. Even in Cabo where prices are higher than La Paz but still affordable when compared to what you would pay in the U.S. Spend $300,000-$400,000 on a condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms in a desirable community, with high-end amenities. It may even have views of the ocean or golf course. McMahon says that the median home price for California is $800,000. It has topped $1 million in Orange County, and $1.4 in Bay Area. To these people, a $500,000 condo is an absolute bargain. That bodes well for re-sales and is a big factor on the inventory squeeze in Cabo (both for real estate sales and rentals).” It’s also appealing to renters (both long- and short-term) who are looking to generate an income stream.
Insider Tip: “I think we’re just at the beginning of Cabo’s full potential. “I think we’re just at the beginning of Cabo’s full potential. You need to invest in communities that are built at the highest standards and located in prime locations. These places will be attractive on the re-sale market, as well as being on the radar of potential short-term and long-term renters. You need to invest in communities created at the highest standards in prime locations, places that will be very attractive on the re-sale market and will be on the radar of potential short-term and long-term renters.”
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