You diversify your investments by investing in real estate. When you invest in international real estate, you limit your exposure to your home market. Both real estate and the stock market will tumble if the US economy hits a speed bump. Even if the rest of the world is in turmoil, you may still make money if you discover the appropriate location and the right transaction.
Plus, there’s nothing quite like touring the world for both pleasure and profit. I’ve been exploring and searching for decades and will never tire of it.
Finding profitable real estate opportunities is not a black art. It takes endless hours of research, numerous trips to different sites, and smart thought… With a thorough understanding of various real estate markets.
Every year, I spend six months on the road, check out website. My scouting itinerary takes me across North, Central, and South America, as well as Europe and Asia. Much of the research and travel is for naught. For every chance I recommend, 200 others are passed over. It’s sometimes because the statistics don’t add up…or because a promising market turns out to be less exciting once I’ve put my feet on the ground. But there are some places on the planet where I’m particularly concentrated at any one time.
The following are 15 areas where I believe we can make a lot of money.
1. Riviera Maya, Mexico
Members of Real Estate Trend Alert have taken advantage of fantastic discounts all throughout the Riviera Maya.
Over the last decade, I’ve visited Mexico’s Riviera Maya more times than I can remember. With sugar-white powder sand and brilliant blue Caribbean waters, it has some of the world’s best beaches.
I’ve seen it transform from a location only the most daring tourists knew about to one on the rise.
Every year, more tourists and expats flock to the city. But there are still new delights to be found. Every time I go, I discover a new hidden beach… The only sound is the swish of the waves on a length of sand lined with palm trees that is uninhabited but for the odd curious iguana.
The Riviera Maya, which stretches from Cancn to Tulum, is a Caribbean beachfront at its best. Members of Real Estate Trend Alert have done very well by buying wisely in this market.
Tourists arrive at Cancn’s major international airport. Some people stay in Cancn. Others continue down the coast, along a modern roadway to the cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. They come to play golf… Visit hip and high-end restaurants, boutiques, and high-end retail stores, and more. It’s well-developed, comfortable, and has a First-World feel to it.
And those holidaymakers go out to see the natural beauty of the area. This is a tropical flora and animal paradise. The world’s second-longest coral reef surrounds the coastline, packed with beautifully colored tropical species. You can go scuba diving, snorkeling, or swimming with turtles. You can also view Mayan ruins by trekking through a lush forest interior. It’s a heady mix of modern conveniences, natural beauty, and old history. All of this attracts to both holidaymakers and expats who are migrating to this part of the world.
The Riviera Maya, however, was not always so developed. Cancn was the first to develop. Cancn, which now has a population of about 700,000, was formerly only a coconut plantation with a few local fisherman and plantation workers.
However, the Mexican government saw its enormous potential. As a result, they proceeded to significantly invest and market Cancn in order to make it a success. They began constructing roads, water, electricity, and other infrastructure. In 1974, the first hotels were built. The new international airport opened in the same year. Cancn’s early investors made a huge profit.
The chance to succeed now rests further down the shore.
The same Path of Progress that saw Cancn grow rolled alongside Playa del Carmen, about a 40-minute drive away.
The phenomenon whereby an event occurs that will push land and real estate values higher is referred to as a Path of Progress by me. The specific incident differs from instance to case. Sometimes, like in Cancn, it is government investment. Other times, a new airport or road opens, allowing access to a lovely but previously inaccessible location. It could also be a new industry that opens in a certain region, bringing additional people and money to the area. Whatever the circumstance, knowing how to recognize and get ahead of the proper Path of Progress means profit for a knowledgeable real estate investor.
As the Path of Progress went through Playa del Carmen in recent years, I discovered some incredible prospects. Playa used to be a peaceful fishing town. It is now one of Mexico’s most rapidly rising cities.
It’s on an incredible upward trajectory, and it’s quickly becoming a major, globalized metropolis. In some respects, it’s reminiscent of Miami’s transition in the 1980s. Good weather, low taxes, space, and freedom enticed people from northern states to relocate their businesses or retire to the Miami area back then.
That is exactly what is going on in Playa right now.
It attracts mobile business professionals and entrepreneurs from all over the world like a magnet. They come here to vacation, sell goods, buy goods, and produce goods. It’s a thriving Caribbean beach town that’s charging ahead. Beautiful beaches are right outside your door, as are some of the coast’s most popular restaurants and nightclubs… and a cool, contemporary atmosphere
All of this adds up to Playa del Carmen being one of the most profitable spots on my beat. However, chances to get in and profit are limited. Finding the best discounts here takes patience, research, and on-the-ground knowledge. When you do, the potential is immense.
And RETA has a good track record in Playa del Carmen.
My first ever Playa suggestion was in 2013. From $136,500, I recommend one-bedroom condos near the city’s action. One of those units could now be listed for $230,000… and might potentially earn $24,000 each year
RETA members were able to secure two-bedroom condos for $193,800 in April 2017. Vacation rentals make a fortune for owners of identical properties in Playa del Carmen. One person I know earns $57,477 per year from a two-bedroom condo. Others are earning $41,055, $48,363, and $53,109 each year.
One surviving condo in the RETA-owned building was advertised for $282,900 in late 2019. On that condo type, our RETA-only pricing was $203,991. We’re getting close to the six-figure profits that I expected.
More opportunities in Playa del Carmen are on the way…
However, this isn’t the only profitable location on the Riviera Maya.
Consider the bargains we found in Tulum…
Tulum is the final destination on the Riviera Maya’s Path of Progress. Literally. On one side, you have the Caribbean Sea… on the one hand, a vast, protected biosphere reserve… On the property south of Tulum, there are tight planning and permitting restrictions. There’s just so much progress that can be made. And once Tulum is full, there are no other options for development.
The population is fast increasing, the town is developing, and visitor numbers are increasing. Every time I go, I discover new shops and restaurants. Tulm is undergoing a transformation into a bustling, fashionable location. In high season, nice rentals go for $300 per night, and 400-square-foot studios go for $210,000. A new road will increase beach access and reduce traffic congestion. This is desperately required, as Tulum’s traffic is growing increasingly congested.
Members of RETA have benefited from this transition.
I initially visited Tulum in 2004 and have returned several times since then. For a long period, though, the market was still in its infancy. Some wealthy people built condos for friends and family, but nothing that compared to a RETA transaction.
As the market rose to the next level, we became extremely busy. In October 2017, I introduced RETA members to a $154,500 home in the Tao Tulum community. I accepted a $225,000 bid on the condo I bought as part of that agreement just a few months ago. That $225,000 is most likely under market value. That’s all right. My personal belief is that any offer that is twice the amount of money invested is acceptable.
RETA members could get superior condos for for $230,556 with the Tao Tulum bargain. A pricing list came across my desk about this time last year, when a premium condo in Tao Tulum was listed for $449,000. That’s an extra $218,444.
Our most recent deal in Tulum was in Natal, where RETA members could own for as little as $749 per month thanks to developer financing and terms. I estimate that the magnificent condos we can purchase at $143,000 will be worth $199,000 three years after delivery, a $56,000 increase. I believe the rental potential is huge, with double-digit yields almost inevitable. And these condos will be a beautiful spot to spend your time…
The most recent condo I looked at for sale near Natal was a two-minute drive from where we have our opportunity in Natal and had a $210,000 asking price. It was only 330 square feet in size. The condominiums we could buy range in size from 865 square feet to 865 square feet with a terrace.
These are the kinds of profits you may expect to make in the Riviera Maya. (To be clear, I advise buying and holding for the middle term.) These aren’t flip purchases.)
The Riviera Maya attracts visitors from all around the world. Last year, the Cancn airport handled 25 million people… When you put that in the perspective of any global tourism market, it’s huge.
Europeans flock in droves in the summer, North Americans flee the cold, and Latin Americans flock on holidays such as Easter…
There are direct flights from Russia, and visitors from Japan and China are arriving…
Visitors are always welcome.
That correlates to one of the best short-term rental markets on my RETA beat. You have the option of renting by the night, week, or month. The peak season is growing in length as more tourists arrive from all over the world. The best rentals are snatched up months in advance during the peak season, the holidays.
That is why…
You may achieve amazing double-digit rental returns with the appropriate style of property in the right location on the Riviera Maya.
And our chances here are growing…
As I write, I’m working on numerous more transactions. The Path of Progress is a juggernaut that has rolled through the Riviera Maya. It’s also proven to be one of the most successful RETA venues.
Since the 1940s, Cabo’s breathtaking coastline has been a favorite celebrity getaway.
Let me paint a picture for you if you haven’t visited Los Cabos in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The bright-blue Sea of Cortez, teeming with colorful fish and marine life, meets the enormous Pacific Ocean in Los Cabos. Pacific beaches stretch for miles. Aerial view of the desert and cacti landscape at night. Professionally built golf courses with spectacular clifftop vistas. Yachts and sport fishing vessels abound in this marina. Designer-label shopping malls include Burberry, Cartier, Carolina Herrera, and Tag Heuer.
Since the 1940s and 1950s, the super-rich and celebrities have flocked to Los Cabos. I’m referring to John Wayne, Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Bing Crosby, and Burt Lancaster, to mention a few. They arrived at a time when Los Cabos was not a popular tourist destination. When you couldn’t get here since there were no modern roads or planes. They flew in private jets or traveled by boat. They spent their days deep sea fishing, sunning on uninhabited beaches, and lounging poolside at one of the few hotels here (of course, five-star) with fancy cocktails.
They established Los Cabos as a luxury jet-set destination. And contributed to its development into the tourist destination it is today. They brought their celebrity buddies, as well as money and prestige. Los Cabos has grown from a small beach outpost to one of the most opulent resorts on the planet. It’s the kind of area where you might easily pay $350,000 for the rights to three weeks in a time-share each year. There’s also a $10,000 maintenance cost for those three weeks.
People who visit want to return again and again. I’m one of them. It’s a spot where I enjoy spending time.
In 2015, I purchased a home in the Copala enclave of the 5-star Quivira Resort, which is known as the “Pebble Beach of Mexico.” At the time, the RETA price in Copala for the type of unit I bought was $336,156. Since then, we’ve seen prices climb and comparable condos sell for far more—I’m talking six-figure gains.
When you enter Quivira’s gates, you’ll see opulent residences, a five-star hotel, and a long stretch of beautiful beach in front of you. There’s the eye-catching oceanfront golf course, which is said to have cost more than $40 million to construct… a beach club…an award-winning spa…a gym…hiking trails… On-site gourmet eateries are available. The Market (a city market “influenced by European food halls”) serves Mexican, Asian, and Italian cuisine, as well as wellness smoothies and salads, coffee, luxury chocolate, and ice cream.
All of these amenities are provided in a breathtaking environment of rolling hills and low cliffs that descend to a cream-sand beach with crashing Pacific waves.
Another Quivira community, Mavila, has also seen significant paper increases. RETA members could get a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom Mavila apartment for $259,800 in June 2018. The idea was revealed to the Cabo broker community in March 2019. Similar remaining units had a retail price starting at $357,000, a gain of $97,200 on paper.
These advantages are the result of a huge transformation of Cabo—a massive investment planned by a number of different parties and interests. More than $4 billion has been invested in the region. The money will be used to build new infrastructure, golf courses, and 20 new resorts. Some of the most well-known resorts are Montage, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Hard Rock, and Nobu.
And they aren’t wasting their money in the hopes of attracting tourists. They’re putting through long hours to fill their rooms… and putting pressure on the government and tourist boards to assist them. It’s bearing fruit. The airport is expanding, and new flight routes are being added.
They’re aiming for high-end travelers with plenty of cash. They’ll find them… Cabo is changing as a result of their efforts.
This kind of shift has happened to me before. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the real estate market exploded. The late 1990s saw Dublin’s rise as a multinational hub. Panama’s 2004/2005 explosion. In 2009, Fortaleza was in northeast Brazil. Values increased dramatically.
To be honest, I’ve never been in on the ground floor of a surge the size of the one I’m experiencing in Cabo. It’s one of a kind because it’s so large.
It’s also generating an opportunity for savvy real estate investors—one that no one else sees. While this massive shift is taking place… and these mega-resorts are on their way… Other types of rental accommodations are becoming scarce.
Every level of accommodation is in short supply—by the night, by the week, and by the month. You’ll encounter a brick wall if you try to reserve a comfortable location on short notice. For $100 a night or less, you may obtain a cheap condo…in an older building with limited amenities, worn furnishings, and obsolete fixtures—the kind of home you’d rather conceal than brag about to your friends. You can also get accommodations for $500 per night +… all the way up to a staggering $15,450 per night
However, there is a sweet spot when demand is high but not being met. That’s where we can pounce and profit handsomely from rental money…
Cabo is attracting a new type of visitor: upper-middle-class tourists willing to pay up to $200 per night to stay in nice accommodations. Thanks to new aircraft routes, they can get here faster and easier than ever before. Furthermore, comfortable condos for the corporate sector are scarce.
You may make a profit by securing the condos that these tourists and business renters will want to stay in.
The best aspect is that those high-end resorts do the tough labor and invest a lot of money to bring more visitors down here. We can benefit from their efforts by purchasing at a low cost. And by focusing on a sector that has been largely ignored in this frenzy.
As I write, I’m working on discounts for RETA members who will participate in this metamorphosis. We’ll focus on the upper-middle-class vacationer or second homeowner with a budget of $250,000 to $500,000 for a property or $200 per night for a rental.
We are preparing ourselves for some substantial cash gains ahead of this change by getting in on the ground floor. Also, to make money from rents.
That isn’t the only opportunity I see in Baja California Sur…
For a few years, I’ve been visiting Todos Santos from my base in Cabo. It’s a very unique environment… There are no large luxury resorts here; instead, boutique hotels.
The town is only a short distance from the coast. Imagine a 10-mile stretch of coastline with hills and lookout places. Whales come so near to the coast that they can be seen from the cliffs. Some beaches are ideal for swimming, others for surfing, and still others for simply enjoying the solitude of the ocean.
The Hotel San Cristobal, which opened in 2017, is one illustration of what’s going on here. The beachfront boutique hotel, which has only 32 rooms, is dubbed “the hippest in Mexico.” It’s a lengthy dirt road that leads in from the Pacific Ocean. The cheapest nightly rate I could find was $610. And that’s assuming a room is available at all.
Major highway improvements in the last decade have brought Todos Santos within reach of a considerably larger number of the wealthy West Coast set who like its artsy culture and natural beauty. Vogue, Conde Nast, and Jetsetter have all featured the town. Celebrities marry in this location. They spend their vacations at the beach. Art galleries, boutique businesses, and farm-to-table restaurants may be found along the town’s cobblestone streets. You may attend a yoga retreat, purchase a kaftan or dreamcatcher, or go surfing. That final point is critical; the beaches here are among the greatest in Baja.
Expats include a mix of rich hippies and people with a gypsy soul. The town’s location, between the beaches and the high Sierra de la Laguna mountains, makes it suitable for outdoor activities all year.
Todos Santos has a lot in common with Tulum, the Riviera Maya beach town where RETA members have gotten some of our greatest prices. It has a similar hippy chic ambiance, with a wellness focus. Boutique, small-scale resorts compete with large all-inclusive resorts.
Todos Santos was designated as a Pueblo Mágico by the Mexican government in 2006. There are only about 100 of these towns in the entire country, and it’s a way of indicating that the location is unique…culturally rich…beautiful.
Todos Santos, though smaller, is as charming. With its red-brick structures, it seems more like a movie scene from an old Western.
Along with the extensive road improvements, the town has received a significant makeover. Streets were dug up and bricked over. Sidewalks have been enlarged to accommodate strolling. Old building facades have been restored.
Cabo San Lucas, which is less than an hour distant, is booming. However, a luxury resort is not for everyone. Todos Santos is now less than an hour and a half from the airport thanks to road improvements.
I’m working on several prospects right now, and as soon as I have more information, I’ll share it with RETA members.
Last but not least, water is essential to any game in Baja. There are significant water and infrastructure shortages. Todos Santos is gaining popularity for this reason… It’s a fertile paradise with simple market gardening. If there is enough water, the Baja soil is exceedingly fertile.
3. Panama City and the Pacific Coast of Panama
I invested in Panama before starting Real Estate Trend Alert. Panama was on top of the world in 2005.
People from all over the world were flocking to the country’s expanding economy, hoping to profit from its extraordinary growth. I was also there to profit. I paid $147,630 for a one-bedroom condo in Panama City that was still under construction. I sold for $220,000 shortly after completion… and made $72,370 in profit.
That was an extraordinary buying opportunity…one that would not be duplicated in Panama anytime soon. Despite keeping a close eye on Panama’s progress, it took another decade for me to be ready to make a recommendation to Real Estate Trend Alert subscribers.
However, in recent years, I’ve made various…
A second outstanding buying opportunity has presented itself.
Think “early in” Singapore… Panama City is one of the world’s fastest-emerging global centres.
It’s a secure, stable, and rapidly expanding international financial and commercial hub…
a metropolis at the crossroads of global trade that draws visitors from all over.
My Panamanian insider ties are extensive, and RETA members in Panama benefited greatly from 2020. Members who purchased beachfront condos in The Palms project at Playa Caracol, for example, have already made $100,000 in paper gains. In 2017, members invested in The Palms. A similar-sized condo in Playa Caracol, further back from the beach and with only a side view, was listed for $299,000 in August 2019, a $100,000 paper gain in just two years.
Playa Caracol is the nearest best-in-class beach neighborhood to Panama City, with about a mile of coastline. It is beachfront, master-planned, and creatively designed.
In April, I offered members the chance to get oceanfront condos in Surfside, Playa Caracol’s market maker.
The hotel and residential complex Surfside will elevate this authentic coastal neighborhood to new heights. It’s the market maker for what I expect to be a robust rental market. Furthermore, there are significant potential gains. Our RETA-only pricing was only $214,300, and I estimate returns of $135,700 after five years.
We were aided by what I refer to as “the Great Bailout.” The Panamanian government is making a major effort to promote and grow tourism along the country’s Pacific coast. A large portion of the building is being paid for by the Panamanian government. They want more people to visit Panama. They are looking for locations to stay. And there’s nothing like being entirely oceanfront in a stunning master-planned neighborhood that’s quickly becoming the go-to location near the city. I convinced the developer to give RETA members a portion of the savings in the form of a substantial discount.
We have the opportunity to purchase magnificent condos in the Gardens at Playa Caracol starting at $137,000 in June 2020, owing to the Great Bailout. I estimate that five years after delivery, those units will be worth $300,000.
In September 2020, I offered RETA members the opportunity to stay in the Playa Caracol Suites. We had a plug-and-play deal on two self-contained luxury hotel suites for only $219,000! Fully equipped and furnished. Turnkey. Offering fantastic income and capital growth potential.
All of our Panama possibilities are based on the same patterns…
This is a world-class metropolis on the rise. The city’s and economy’s rapid growth is boosting demand for real estate, but the best land, like that in other global cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, is extremely scarce.
That’s why constructing islands in Panama’s Bay made perfect sense…
That is why the ordinary wealthy will spend top price to rent a luxury home in Santa Maria and live a country club lifestyle…
It’s why buying a condo in Playa Caracol, right on the beach, is a no-brainer.
RETA members in Panama have the opportunity to own in and near an emerging global hub city for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere, and with far more profit potential…
Panama City has grown into a flourishing metropolis, a worldwide crossroads, and a regional powerhouse.
It has acquired the moniker “Baby Singapore.” Both cities benefit greatly from their strategic shipping and trading locations. Between China and India is Singapore, while between North and South America is Panama. The Panama Canal links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It’s one of the world’s most important marine routes.
Panama, like Singapore, has built a strong wealth fund and invested heavily in infrastructure. It developed a legislation and tax structure that is attractive to foreigners and businesses, and it is today a major player in global trade, banking, shipping, and big business.
Panama now boasts the second-largest free trade zone in the world. It is Central America’s largest beneficiary of foreign direct investment. It’s also drawing a growing number of global corporations searching for a welcoming regional headquarters.
As a result, it has one of Latin America’s best-performing economies and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the last 15 years. Panama’s GDP increased by 5% in 2019 and is expected to grow by another 5.4 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.
Despite this, real estate in Panama is ridiculously cheap by international standards. A fantastic bargain. You can locate once-in-a-lifetime possibilities if you know where to search and how to look…
There are three major drivers of real estate prices in global centres like Singapore and Hong Kong. Population increase, land scarcity, and high demand are all present in Panama City.
Panama’s population increased to 3.3 million inhabitants in 2010. This figure has now surpassed 4.2 million. By 2050, the population is expected to reach 5.8 million, with more than half of the population residing in and around Panama City. This is a huge rise in a short amount of time.
Panama City has established itself as a destination for young professionals and entrepreneurs from Central and South America, and the city’s growing population is driving up housing demand. This happened in Hong Kong, where the population increased by 25% since 1997, while real estate values increased even more.
Land Scarcity: Another important aspect influencing real estate price increase in Panama City is land scarcity. There is a scarcity of prime developable land in the city. It is hemmed in on one side by the Pacific Ocean, and on the other by enormous swaths of protected territory and the Panama Canal’s watershed. Except in the extreme east and west of the city, there is very little room for urban growth, resulting in a very long commute. As a result, existing real estate values will face significant upward pressure.
High Demand: Changing urban zoning, occupying abandoned buildings, and developing out onto the sea are all hot topics in cities around the world. Meanwhile, home values are continuing to rise.
Panama City is in a similar situation. As the population rises and developable land becomes scarce, a massive real estate shortage will occur. And when the great squeeze hits, real estate values will only go one way: up.