Today, we reach the final part of our three-week series. So far, we’ve covered seven of our top 10 markets to watch over the next year. The places we’ve already checked off our list (in Part 1 and Part 2) are:
Now to the final three of our hot spots for 2020…
Tourism in the Dominican Republic is booming. Growth of 6.2% in 2018 puts it above the world average growth of 6% and makes the DR the most popular Caribbean destination—representing 20% of all traffic to the region.
Las Terrenas, on the Samaná Peninsula, is the place we’ve identified as offering the best lifestyle in the country. What sets Las Terrenas apart in the DR—and possibly from any beach town in the world—is its sophisticated lifestyle. This is a town that was settled generations ago by the French. Their descendants are now the ones helping to manage and run the town, along with the British, Italian, and German expats that followed over the years. This explains the pâtisserie-baked pains au chocolat, fine French and Italian wines, authentic German sausages (and beer), Swiss cheeses, and real American cheeseburgers you’ll find around town.
Harder to explain are the local property prices—figures that would be unheard of in most other parts of the Caribbean…
Today, you can buy a condo close to one of Las Terrenas’ most beautiful beaches from US$86,100. Villas start from under US$200,000. And, if you’d prefer to build your own dream home, ocean-view lots start as low as US$30 to US$40 a square meter… while building packages for a two-bedroom villa start from US$160,000.
Local appreciation is currently around 3.5%, and rental returns on the best beachfront units we’ve seen are generally in the 9% to 12% range.
As a bonus, the Dominican Republic is offering an easy and affordable permanent residency program right now—a property purchase of US$200,000 fast tracks you to eligibility.
After eight years of falling prices, Cyprus’ real estate market now appears to be on a steady upswing, with the rate of sales and new builds both increasing over the last couple of years. The first half of 2019 shows that property sales overall have increased on the island by 24.4% over 2018, and construction permits have increased by 38.4% in 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
Capital city Nicosia as well as Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, and Famagusta all show significant increases in residential prices over the last year for both apartments and houses, with Limassol leading the pack for apartments and Famagusta seeing the largest price jump in houses. The first two urban locations are driven primarily by local demand, with the last three coastal resort destinations driven by foreigner demand.
A large part of the recent growth has been fueled by foreign, non-EU interest—largely attributed to the government’s efforts to encourage investment in the country through the citizenship-by-investment program. Luxury properties are in particularly high demand. To qualify for residency and citizenship in Cyprus through a real estate investment, you must spend at least 300,000 euros on local property. But not just any old property… the catch is that it must be a new property in a government-approved development. The time-in-country requirement is a minimum one visit every two years.
With an average 320 clear-sky days a year, Cyprus is one of the few spots in the Mediterranean where it’s still possible to enjoy a quiet lifestyle at an affordable price. Writing for Overseas Property Alert last year, American expat Dean Lewis who lives in Northern Cyprus reported that he paid just 42,000 pounds (approximately US$56,322 at the time) for his two-bedroom, two-bath apartment located about 50 meters from the sea.
All real estate in Northern Cyprus is priced in pounds. With the Greenback gaining strength against the pound over the past few years, that’s good news for those with U.S. currency to spend.
Though Mexico entered a mild recession early this year, the housing market is strengthening. Over the first three quarters of this year, the nationwide house price index rose by 4.96%—its biggest jump in three years. And, U.S. dollar holders still have strong buying power in this country…
Areas south of the border that we’re watching closely include Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán (both on the west coast of the country), as well as the Riviera Maya, on the Yucatan peninsula, that takes in the coastline south of Cancún all the way down to Tulum.
Senior Real Estate Correspondent Lee Harrison, who now calls Mazatlán home much of the year, says that his Mexican hometown “offers the best beachfront lifestyle you’ll find in Mexico… It boasts over 10 miles of sandy beaches, which vary from bustling and energetic stretches conveniently near town, to sections of isolated shoreline where you can get away from it all.
“But what sets this city apart is its Spanish-colonial historic center. Having a colonial city on the beach is what drew me to Mazatlán. Both the beach and colonial lifestyles offer countless options for fine dining, quiet coffee shops, energetic and friendly bars… as well as a dynamic and active real estate market.
“Properties are inexpensive compared to almost any beachfront world market. You’ll spend less in Mazatlán for seaside properties than you’ll spend in Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, or even Tulum.
“Taxes are negligible. I own a large, new condo of 228 square meters (2,450 square feet) on the waterfront at the edge of the historic center. My tax bill was US$104 for 2019.”
Meanwhile, over 25 million visitors passed through Cancún airport last year. When it gets its new terminal, that number is expected to reach 40 million tourists… many of whom will travel on down south to the Riviera Maya. Property sales on the Riviera Maya (Mexican Caribbean) are increasing by 9% per year… 2% ahead of the national average.
Attractive studios we’ve found in Tulum start at US$83,000… with one-bed apartments from US$120,000 and two-beds from US$183,000. With average occupancy in the area at 80%, investors can see net rental yields of up to 14%… plus, right now, that tidy 9% annual appreciation.
And that, dear reader, concludes our list…
But you can look forward to hearing more about these markets over the next year.
I’ll be keeping up to date on progress… checking in with our contacts on the ground… and bringing you news of the best property opportunities worthy of your consideration in 2020.
We have an exciting year ahead…