Where Are The Nicest Beaches In The Caribbean

Panama was the first place I ever invested overseas. That was 2004, and the window of opportunity was brief, but worth serious upside to anyone who got in before it closed.

Today, a second wave is creating an even stronger opportunity than the one I found when I first invested. And that's one of the most important reasons to invest in international real estate. You get to follow big "once in a lifetime" transformations and play them far more often than once in your life.

Specifically, I've identified two opportunities with the potential to double your money. One of those is again in Panama City, the other is the finest white-sand beach within an easy drive of the city--a beach that's only become accessible in recent years. Get in on either of those two opportunities and you could ride two waves of development that are bringing strong profit to smart real estate buyers.

There are two big opportunities in Panama City now: buy ahead of a new wave of growth in Panama City...and buy ahead of a Path of Progress on the Pacific Riviera to the south of the city.

Panama's strategic location for shipping and trade drives its growth. It lies between North and South America with the Panama Canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Since before I ever set foot in Panama, it's been rapidly transforming from a sleepy outpost to a regional powerhouse. And boy is it booming. It's truly global now, attracting wealthy and well-heeled folks from all over the world.

The city has always been a thriving hub of trade, starting with its role in the Spanish Empire's silver route. But it was during World War II when prosperity hit unprecedented levels as U.S. military personnel and their families took up residence. Entire neighborhoods of the city are like something straight from the U.S., with big, modern malls, and movie theaters where you can catch a movie in English and use the dollars in your pocket--Panama uses the U.S. dollar.

Panama's success is largely down to following the Singapore model. Like Singapore, Panama created a wealth fund and poured money into infrastructure. Generous tax breaks and easy visa requirements for those setting up a business or hiring employees mirror the Singapore model. Today, Panama is the biggest recipient of foreign direct investment in Central America. And, it's attracting more and more multinationals looking for a friendly regional base.

In 2019 the World Bank declared that over the past decade Panama has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. In fact, Panama is now ranked as a high-income nation by the World Bank. The strong economic growth has added more folks to the upper-middle-class bracket over the last 10 years. And Panama's safety and stability is a big draw for wealthy Latins, too, who feel comfortable flaunting their designer bling and Lamborghinis.

Panama City has seen a surge of demand in recent years from a growing, upwardly mobile, population. Yet, the city has a shortage of developable land. On one side, it is hemmed in by the Pacific Ocean, and on the other it is constrained by large parcels of protected land and watershed for the Panama Canal.

There's very little room for urban sprawl. And this will put huge upward pressure on existing real estate prices.

A "Big Squeeze" is coming, but thanks to my contacts in Panama, I have a window to lock down the kind of real estate that the well-heeled folk coming to Panama want.

The kind of place you could rent long term to young entrepreneurs, older retirees, and executives working for a big multinational in the business districts close by. And where you could see rapid appreciation as demand continues to rise against supply in Panama City.

The second opportunity is to meet the same market demand by owning something truly special within a short commute of the city. Playa Caracol is on the Pacific Riviera, the 50-mile or so stretch of coastline west of Panama City. It's the closest beach to the city on this Riviera of its caliber, in fact, the nicest beach by far within an hour of the city. And it's set to be even easier to reach thanks to the mammoth Path of Progress.

Millions of dollars of development and infrastructure have poured in. But because of an anomaly in this huge Path of Progress, Caracol was a secret to a few in-the-know insiders.

Now, one of Panama's preeminent developers is taking on the challenge. He and his group have been behind some extraordinary communities around Panama City. Ocean Reef, for example, is ultra-prime real estate on man-made islands in the Bay of Panama, right in the heart of the city, yet surrounded by ocean.

In Playa Caracol this developer has already delivered well over 300 units. And because of his long history with my Real Estate Trend Alert group, members had the opportunity to buy here at remarkable pricing.

For instance, in September 2019 I brought RETA members a deal on condos there. They could buy best-in-class condos fronting a white-sand beach with a mountain backdrop for $184,300, which I figure will be worth $299,000 within five years.

It wasn't the first time I found a killer deal here. In 2017, I was able to bring RETA members an opportunity to buy beachfront condos in Playa Caracol at RETA-only prices starting at $199,000. By late 2019, a similar-sized condo farther back from the beach with only a side view listed for $299,000...that's $100,000 in paper gains in just two years.

In fact, I believe so strongly in this developer's vision that I bought here too--getting in on an exclusive RETA deal at Caracol in November 2020.

What we can lock down ahead of the Path of Progress and ahead of Panama City's next wave of growth, is already on track to become one of the most premium addresses on the Pacific Riviera. It's where the chic spend their weekends...well-heeled families come to relax and unwind. It's this desirability that will drive real estate values in the community up as it gets built out.

Mexico's Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is an 80-mile stretch of pristine Caribbean coastline on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula that goes from Cancún in the north to Tulum in the south.It's a treasure throve of white-sand beaches, glistening turquoise water, and dense jungle that's bursting with wildlife. It's also a place that attracts millions of international visitors each year, making it one of the most powerful destinations I know for rental plays.I first visited in 2004. Cancún was developed. Playa del Carmen still a quiet sleepy beach town. I continued south, took a one-lane road that turned to dirt then stopped when I saw turquoise water sparkle. I walked through an empty palapa restaurant. Then, my jaw hit the floor. Miles of the most pristine white sands I had seen opened up in either direction. It was empty. The beach. The restaurant... welcome to Tulum.

I've spent the 17 years since staying ahead of the juggernaut Path of Progress as it rolled south along the stunning Caribbean coast, transforming Playa del Carmen into a booming resort city, and the tiny town of Tulum is an ultra-chic destination that attracts New York fashionistas and Hollywood elites.

The Riviera Maya is what I call "the convenient Caribbean," every bit as beautiful as any island, but a lot easier to get to for millions of people.

Indeed, the Riviera Maya has been drawing people from right across the world for a while. These folks come for the weather, the beaches...the amazing range of cool stuff you can do. And now they are coming in much greater numbers because they can.

Since the pandemic, the Riviera Maya's ease of access and proximity to the U.S. and Canada has been crucial. It has made it the perfect destination for a growing mass of people who now take their work with them anywhere. Longer-stay folks have every amenity they need, including international schools for their kids, gourmet supermarkets, and so on.

As towns like Tulum grow, owning real estate that is rare, discreet, and exclusive sets you up beautifully for explosive rental demand and for rapid potential for gains.

From my contacts in the rental industry in Tulum, I'm told a two-bedroom condo will run you $1,750 to $2,000 per month. A house could go up to $2,000 to $3,000. And remote workers are more than willing to pay those prices. Even better, it's not just one type of person coming here. Older people, younger people, families, groups of friends...all want to be in Tulum--and that variety makes the rental market that much stronger.

Members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group have done exceptionally well here.

Condos that RETA members secured for $208,440 are now listed at $311,000--a six-figure lift. And a condo that was available for the RETA-only price of $166,860 is now at $239,000...a gain of $72,000.

Our group secured our profits by getting in at RETA-only pricing from $154,500 for a two-bedroom condo. As we do and say in real estate, we made our money buying. I myself bought one of these entry priced condos and sold my unit in early 2020 for $225,000.

In February last year, RETA members could buy two-bed homes in Edena, Tulum, for $149,000. A few months later, in October, homes were listing for $199,000.

Like I say, few places on my beat have been as profitable as the Riviera Maya. There is strong rental demand from multiple markets pretty much year-round. A big international mix of people, lots of fun things to do, good food...stunning white-sand beaches.

Like the Algarve and Panama, the Riviera Maya is an internationalized place. A place where--with the right real estate--even in bad times you still do OK. Buy well, and you can own a true money-maker, an overseas home, and an asset that protects and grows your wealth for years to come.

This story originally ran in International Living

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

12-01-21 1630ET

Source : https://www.morningstar.com/news/marketwatch/20211201619/these-are-the-top-3-places-to-invest-in-real-2

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