Here’s Why 92% of Rich Americans Are Considering Buying Property Abroad

·4 min read
Aleksandar Todorovic /
Aleksandar Todorovic /

For the country’s highest-income earners, the American dream might not be in America at all.

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According to the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Report, an eye-popping 92% of the country’s most affluent households were looking to purchase real estate overseas last year.

That’s just about every rich person in America.

So why is the monied class looking for the exit, where are they going and what do they hope to find when they get there?

Remote Work Liberated the Rich Just Like Everyone Else

Many elites considering overseas moves already have one foot in — or out of — the door. About 67% already own property overseas, but now the monied masses want to transform their foreign investment properties into primary residences or buy their first homes abroad.

According to the luxury market publication Robb Report, one of the primary reasons is familiar even to the average American with an average income: The rise of remote work has given the wealthy the option of living elsewhere without upending their careers for the first time.

Even the aristocrats, it seems, felt that work shackled them to their ZIP codes.

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The Wealthy Want What We All Want — Sun and Space

Another thing that binds the ultra-rich and commoners alike is the desire for a higher quality of life at a more affordable cost, which is apparently out of reach even for many members of high society, just as it is for typical wage earners.

The Coldwell Banker report found that nearly a quarter of wealthy Americans want to own homes they can afford somewhere warm, preferably near the water.

More than one in five want suburban homes with lots of space. Roughly the same percentage prefers life in a big city with access to amenities and attractions while another 20% would rather buy remote dwellings with large plots of land. A slightly smaller 16% want homes in the mountains.

Mobile Millionaires Want to Future-Proof Their Wealth

Opportunity and a higher quality of life are two driving factors, but money, of course, also plays a role. The USA Wealth Report 2023 from London-based consultancy Henley & Partners found that most affluent Americans are not fleeing to avoid taxes but are seeking greener investment pastures and better opportunities to grow and guard their wealth.

The Coldwell Banker research concurs that high-net-worth Americans feel that high inflation, a souring housing market and rising interest rates are stifling their investments here.

A Robust Dollar Here Means More Purchasing Power There

According to Forbes, the resilient U.S. dollar defied nearly every other asset class in 2020 — and strong dollars can buy more overseas when converted to local currency.

The Coldwell Banker report confirms that dynamic, citing a strong dollar as one of the three main reasons so many wealthy Americans feel that now is the time to pull the trigger on that long-dreamed-of property abroad.

Do You Feel Like Things Are a Mess Here? The Rich Do, Too

Another common thread between the Henley & Partners report and the Coldwell Banker study is that affluent Americans — like so many others — are disturbed by the political and cultural climate in the States. Rising crime, intense political polarization, terrifying gun violence and increasing cultural tensions, in general, are driving the rich to do what so many others would like to but can’t: Get out while they can.

Golden Visas at the End of the Rainbow

Thanks to the Golden Visa program, the rich have a much easier time securing second passports, overseas residency and even citizenship — as long as they promise to bring their money with them.

In short, the program fast-tracks wealthy individuals with plans to invest or launch businesses in foreign countries — and many high-net-worth Americans are punching their golden tickets.

So, Where Are They Taking Their Millions?

Both of the previously cited reports agree on many of the same top destinations for the rich. Closest to home are Mexico and Canada, but the hottest spot of all is Central America, which 23% of prospective transplants are eyeing as their new home away from home — Belize, Panama and especially Costa Rica garnering the most interest. Asia, in general, is one of the top contenders, as well as France and Portugal for those with a yearning for the European lifestyle.

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This article originally appeared on Here’s Why 92% of Rich Americans Are Considering Buying Property Abroad