The trend is clear: more and more Canadians and Americans are heading south to buy vacation property in Mexico. And why not? The chance to soak in some sun, enjoy the fabulous Mexican culture, and get a better bang for your buck are some great reasons to head south.
And don’t just take my word for it: a 2019 Forbes article stated that, at that time, over 500,000 Americans owned property in Mexico. Can you imagine what that number is today, following the pandemic?
An article from Mexico News Daily gives us a little insight into that, stating that from 2021 to 2022 there was a 60% increase in U.S. internet searches related to purchasing Mexican real estate. Canada saw a decrease in search volume (no surprises there), while many Central American nations such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, and Panama also saw increases, although not close to that of Mexico.
So, what is it about Mexico that is so compelling these days?
People are over the drama at home
Doesn’t it feel like we are constantly jumping from outrage to tragedy to government scandal to social unrest and back again? And guess what? The constant drama going on in Canada and the U.S. is exhausting, and people are OVER it.
So, they are voting with their dollars and opting to buy their vacation homes somewhere where they can escape the insanity of home and actually relax away from the perpetual bad news. Isn’t that the whole point of a vacation – to get away from it all?
While Mexico is definitely at the top of the list, people are also increasingly ignoring the fear porn and heading even further south into Central America, to countries like Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua.
Better bang for your housing buck
If you are in the market for a vacation home, perhaps at a nearby lake or in the mountains, be prepared for some sticker shock. And multiply that by a factor of 10 if you are interested in a place on the beach. This is especially true in Canada, where we have a massive real estate bubble making it difficult to purchase a primary residence, let alone a vacation property.
While the United States is not as bad as Canada for overall affordability, the cost of vacation homes in both countries is high. According to this 2022 Forbes article, the average cost for a vacation home in the U.S. in 2022 was $429,000 USD. According to this 2021 Global News article, the average cost for a vacation home in Canada was just over $500,000 CAD. Naturally, this varies widely across regions and, the more desirable the location, the higher the price.
Regardless, that’s a pretty penny to spend for a vacation home, especially at today’s interest rates.
Even with the surging Mexican peso, the average American and Canadian can stretch their money much further in Mexico. This is because inputs such as construction costs are so much lower, even if the cost of materials is similar. Your $500,000 could buy you a beautiful beach villa with a private pool in Mexico, while perhaps only getting you a rundown mobile home (but it’s lakefront!) in Canada. That is a true story, by the way.
Lower cost of living
It is no secret that the cost of living in Mexico is much lower than it is in the U.S. and Canada. Escape Artist did a whole article about this back in August, detailing how a retired couple could live comfortably on US$2300/month. That figure even includes rent, so if you own your vacation home outright, your monthly costs would likely be less than that!
How much are your groceries costing these days? How about your gas? And your electricity? Now, imagine how much you could save by dipping out of the country for a few months at a time.
If you are in the market for a vacation home, it definitely makes sense to look to other jurisdictions where your money can stretch further on both your vacation home itself, and your monthly expenses.
Better climate – obvi!
I mean, is there even much to say about this one? It’s pretty self-explanatory. We all dream of living somewhere warm, particularly as we age and have hit our expiry date for snow shoveling.
BUT, I think more and more people are answering the call of the tropics and heading to Mexico to invest in a vacation home for other reasons than just the weather itself.
I used to think there was a fair tradeoff for living in the frozen cold north: our society was relatively safe and we were paid well. That gave us the freedom to vacation in places with much better weather, like Mexico. While we would gripe about it being too cold at home – I say this as I look outside at the cold grey day, gnashing my teeth – we knew we had it pretty good from a quality-of-life perspective.
Take away that quality of life with gems like:
- Excessive taxation
- High cost of living and inflation
- Societal unrest and decay
- Oppressive, corrupt government
And, suddenly, I’m not feeling like putting up with this cold weather much longer. You know what sounds good? Soaking up vitamin D on a beach and playing with my kids in the ocean waves. Voting with my feet to spend my time and money somewhere else that, despite having faults of its own, at least has good weather. We had a deal, Canada, and you broke it.
Better access to healthcare
The healthcare system in Canada is in a state of disarray right now. You literally risk dying while waiting for that “free” treatment you’ve been promised.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article about 1.3 million Canadians abandoning ER waiting rooms over the past year, and this article about how 11,000 people in the province of Ontario ALONE died on surgical waiting lists. Closed ERs and years-long waiting lists are the norm here.
So, if you have a pressing medical issue that is most likely not going to be addressed any time soon in Canada, Mexico’s healthcare is going to be a breath of fresh air for you. With top-of-the-line facilities across the country, you can access medical care quickly and for a fraction of the price you’ll be paying at home.
For those looking to purchase a vacation home, this is a huge plus, because they know they will be able to receive medical care when they need it. This is especially important for those with young children, those with existing medical conditions, and those at or near retirement age, when the potential need for medical care increases.
Healthcare insurance for expats/travelers is easy to come by and quite affordable, as well. Our partners at Safety Wing offer some great insurance options for travelers, so make sure you check them out!
The bottom line here is that for all the posturing about our amazing healthcare systems, Canada and the U.S. have not kept pace with other developing nations and are now falling behind. So, it’s a great idea to start looking at improving your access to healthcare as another important reason to consider Mexico for your vacation home purchase.
Attention Vacation Home Buyers: Mexico is Calling
If you are in the market for a vacation home and you are looking to stretch your dollar further, Mexico is a great place to consider for your investment. It’s a relatively easy transition for Canadians and Americans due to the proximity and because it’s not a huge culture shock. It’s called “USA-lite” for a reason!
Apart from its fabulous culture, you can get better bang for your buck on a vacation home plus enjoy an all-around lower cost of living. You get the amazing, warm climate and access to timely and affordable healthcare. And, perhaps the biggest plus of all, is you can get away from all the craziness at home for awhile and see that not everywhere else in the world is as absorbed with drama like we are up here. People are out there living their lives, smiling, laughing, and enjoying their families. Taking part in celebrations and being thankful for all the blessings in their lives.
If you are in the market for a vacation home, perhaps it’s time to expand your horizons and look further afield. Mexico is calling. Will you answer?
I hope you enjoyed this week’s article. As always, make sure you subscribe to Escape Artist Insiders magazine for the most up to date information and insights from our offshore experts, delivered right to your inbox every month. If you are beginning to build your Plan B or just want to stay on top of the latest offshore news, you should definitely check it out. See you next week!
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