Thursday, September 06, 2007 Panama among top six hottest markets for 2007

Hottest foreign second home markets for 2007

Here's where Americans will be turning to this year for second homes abroad.

By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Americans have never taken much to living abroad, at least not to the same degree the British have. Some 5.5 million Brits, about 10 percent of that nation's total population, now live as expatriates, with 200,000 more every year.
For Americans, though, most other countries were too far away to tempt us. Some Yanks did buy second homes in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, but the majority were content to shop within the nation's borders.
That's changing.
Today foreign lands are drawing more Americans than ever. According to State Deparment estimates, some 6.6 million Americans live abroad, a larger number than the Brits claim, but, at 2.2 percent, still a smaller percentage of the U.S.'s total 300 million population.
There are many reasons for the big build up. More Americans work for multi-national companies, which often take them for long stints overseas. And foreign vacation travel is booming as well. This means a lot more exposure to other countries and cultures.

Top international markets for second-home buyers from Tom Kelly, author of "Cashing in on a Second Home in Mexico."
According to second home buying expert and writer, Tom Kelly, Panama has retained some of it formerly large American presence after the handing over of the Canal more than seven years ago.

Kelly says that, unlike the other hot spots for ex-pats, Panama's second home market is dominated by investors rather than people buying for retirement or vacation homes. That's despite it being named by International Living magazine as the best place for Americans to retire or live abroad.

Panama City is economically dynamic, a banking and shipping center with a diverse population where English is commonly spoken. But the place of choice for many Americans is Boquete, high up in the volcanic mountains. The climate there is ideal with warm days and gentle nights. There are masses of flowers everywhere, one reason it's known as the land of eternal spring.

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