International Land Purchases: 5 Countries to Set Your Sights On


Interested in buying land abroad? There are plenty of reasons to consider other countries when purchasing land, including vacation opportunities, stretching your retirement dollars, and diversifying your land investment portfolio. But to do it right, you want to be sure to buy land in countries that hit the right marks in terms of culture and economics.

In 2018, international real estate firm WIRE Consulting asked Americans to rank their top 10 picks for where to buy land abroad. Here’s what the survey came up with as the top five, as well as some of the reasons these countries are appealing to foreign buyers.

1. Mexico

Mexico is an easy choice for a lot of Americans who want to purchase land for sale, mostly due to its low cost of living and close proximity to the U.S. border. The Mexican government has encouraged foreigners to buy land in the country with legislation like the Foreign Investment Law, which allows non-citizens to purchase land anywhere in Mexico with just a few restrictions.

2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become a popular spot for Americans who want to buy vacation land that eventually turns into a retirement spot. The only restrictions for foreign buyers are that they may not own 100% of a property that resides in a Maritime Zone and they cannot buy land that the country has donated to local farmers (known as INDER property). Other than that, foreign buyers can purchase land as they please and enjoy all of the same rights as Costa Rican citizens, save for voting rights.

3. Canada

If you’d rather go north than south, Canada presents a wide range of opportunities for foreign land buyers, with a culture that is familiar for most expats. There are some restrictions on buying land in Canada from the U.S., however, including a requirement that you must live in the country for a year before purchasing land and that you may only own one residential property (native Canadians can only own two).

4. Philippines

It may be across the world, but the Philippines boasts a large English speaking population and a cost of living that is appealing to many U.S.-based land investors. There are quite a bit of hoops to jump through if you want to buy Asian land, however, so be sure to work with a real estate agent and attorney who have experience with U.S.-to-Asia land purchases.

5. United Kingdom

Is the English countryside calling your name? Many Americans buy land in the U.K. because it feels similar to home, with a stable economy and an ease of communication with locals. Cash buyers are generally in the best position to purchase land in the United Kingdom since home investment mortgages can be hard to come by for foreigners in the country. But if you’ve got capital to spare, it’s hard to go wrong with an investment in U.K. land.

When buying land abroad, it’s critical that you bring some experts on to your team who are familiar with the process and the legal and tax specifics. Look for brokers and attorneys with experience with international land purchases, and get a translator too to ensure that nothing gets lost in communication while you’re settling your deal.