There is much written recently about those living in New York City fleeing to the suburbs as they ride out the pandemic. It will also likely be the case with other urban markets worldwide, leading to a buyers’ market in cities when things truly open back up. Those not waiting to buy are now looking at property where they can escape the density of global capitals.

Established vacation markets may come back first

Changes will also impact vacation destinations. According to Forbes, the second home or vacation property market was hit hard by the pandemic. Obviously, it’s hard to rent or sell a property if occupants cannot safely travel to the location without flying. Nonetheless, analysts believe that more established markets that are easily accessible will come back first. Examples of this include Mexican destinations like Cancun or Playa Del Carmen.

Second-tier cities looking good

Rather than vacation spots or big cities, the markets in livable low-density towns have gone up. The thinking is that smaller, more affordable cities provide a better quality of life for many — the economies are more agile, and they offer less risk of contracting COVID-19 or another virus that follows. Such picturesque but modest-sized cities examples include Medellin, Colombia or Cuenca, Ecuador. Another option is mid-sized cities with major colleges here in the United States that are often culturally diverse for their size.

What to look for

There is also good news for New Yorkers looking to leave the country: a strong dollar. The U.S. dollar will be much stronger in a down economy, but it still does not mean that buyers should rush in. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Weigh the risk of buying site unseen: Property is a big investment for many, and first-time buyers or one’s unfamiliar with the market should avoid buying without visiting.
  • Do not try to time the bottom: This can mean missing a good deal on an exceptional property.
  • Experienced buyers can expand: Those who already own in a foreign market can expand or upgrade if they understand the market and have trustworthy agents.
  • Use a long reserve time: Cautious buyers can request a hold until they can travel to inspect the property, perhaps by offering a refundable downpayment.
  • Buy brand names: Premium properties in premium locations bounce back first, so bargains may be fleeting. Nice well-appointed properties can be a joy to own (as long as the price was right).

It is best to work with professionals

Those interested in moving to or buying in another country will need to do their research. It is also an excellent idea to assemble a team to conduct the search, structure the transaction and handle obstacles. A reliable real estate agent is often essential, but attorneys with experience handling international property transactions can provide valuable guidance that avoids costly mistakes.