The 5 Best Countries to Buy Property in as the U.S. Dollar Soars

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Guatape, Colombia
jeremykingnz /

The thought of retiring abroad — perhaps to sunnier and more moderate climes — has a strong pull on some Americans.

Combine that with the increased buying power of your U.S. dollars in some countries these days, and you have a winning formula that is likely to entice many.

But which countries offer the best deals on real estate while the U.S. dollar is soaring?

Lee Harrison, Latin American editor and senior property correspondent for Live and Invest Overseas, has taken the time to analyze different countries and determine where the U.S. dollar is likely to benefit you the most when buying property.

Harrison ranks the following countries as “the five most-heavily-discounted property markets” as of July.

5. United Kingdom

Sven Hansche /

Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)

Currency exchange controls: No

Increase in buying power of U.S. dollar from Jan. 1, 2013, to July 9, 2019: 37%

The United Kingdom — made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — offers a high quality of life, and many aspects of living in the country are similar to what Americans are used to, Harrison points out.

The U.K.’s legal system, language and a certain degree of shared heritage with the U.S. make it a little easier for Americans to integrate compared with some of the other countries on this list.

The U.K. also offers a relatively easy situation for would-be entrepreneurs. The World Bank ranks it among the 10 easiest places in the world to do business.

If you’re more interested in retiring in the U.K., you will be able to receive your Social Security payments while living there, provided you’re eligible for them, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration.

However, Harrison warns, you might not want to wait to buy property in the U.K. since it’s in a state of upheaval over Brexit — the planned exit of the U.K. from the European Union.

“Bystanders may ultimately find themselves with a pound that’s more expensive than it is today,” he says.

4. Chile

Santiago, Chile
Marianna Ianovska /

Currency: Chilean peso (CLP)

Currency exchange controls: No

Increase in buying power of U.S. dollar from Jan. 1, 2013, to July 9, 2019: 46%

Americans have seen a significant increase in buying power of the dollar in Chile. In the past, Chile was much more expensive, but now buying property offers you a great deal, Harrison says.

He points to the lifestyle that comes with Chile, including on a wide range of climates and terrains. The country also offers a high quality of life, with low corruption and good infrastructure.

In fact, according to a recent Investopedia ranking, Chile is among the safest and cheapest nations for American retirees.

3. Mexico

Aleksandar Todorovic /

Currency: Mexican peso (MXN)

Currency exchange controls: No

Increase in buying power of U.S. dollar from Jan. 1, 2013, to July 9, 2019: 51%

Mexico features a wide variety of terrain and settings, and many Americans are fairly comfortable in Mexico due to the fact that English is spoken widely.

Harrison notes:

“Mexico is still the #1 overseas destination for Americans, with more than a million American expats calling it home … myself included. Properties trade in U.S. dollars or Mexican pesos … and the latter is where your increased buying power lies.”

Ignore the myth that foreigners can’t buy coastal property in Mexico, Harrison says, if that’s where you want to get a deal. However, the property must be held in a trust (that you can control) if you want to make a purchase.

2. Colombia

Medellin, Colombia
Luis Echeverri Urrea /

Currency: Colombian peso (COP)

Currency exchange controls: Yes

Increase in buying power of U.S. dollar from Jan. 1, 2013, to July 9, 2019: 83%

The first thing to understand about buying real estate in Colombia is that there are currency controls. That means you can’t have a bank account in U.S. dollars or use U.S. dollars to buy property.

You’ll need to make government declarations when transferring money internationally. But Harrison, who has purchased property in Colombia, says the process is easy, and took him just a few minutes.

He also points to the increased safety of living in Colombia, with the days of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar more than two decades in the past, and the very temperate weather. He recommends Medellin as a great city to live in.

1. Brazil

CP DC Press /

Currency: Brazilian real (BRL)

Currency exchange controls: Yes

Increase in buying power of U.S. dollar from Jan. 1, 2013, to July 9, 2019: 85%

Like Colombia, Brazil has currency controls. Still, Harrison, who owns property in Brazil, says investing in Brazilian real estate can be well worth it.

He points to the huge increase in buying power of the U.S. dollar in Brazil in recent years, as well as the diverse climate and cultural influences. Many expats from around the world have settled here, providing a hodgepodge of experiences.

With the recent economic difficulties in Brazil, Harrison points out that now can be a good time to get in. Using increased buying power to invest in Brazilian property could pay off handsomely down the road as the nation’s economy and currency rebound.

In what foreign country would you most like to buy real estate? Let us know why by commenting below or on the Money Talks News Facebook page.

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