According to the National Association of Realtors, vacation home sales in the U.S. hit a record of 1.07 million homes in 2006. What’s a little scary about this number is that “the share of second-home sales was 36% of all existing and new residential real estate transactions in 2006.” More than a few of those were speculators buying investment property to fix up or flip, but still…

There’s been a lot of talk about a housing bubble bursting, which so far hasn’t been too painful in most areas (parts of Florida and California experiencing the worst), but many intrepid investors are finding much better values outside the U.S. Even in parts of Mexico that you could argue are overheated, such as Puerto Vallarta and San Miguel de Allende, prices are still half or less what they would be north of the border. Often the workmanship is far better as well, with things like custom tile work and swimming pools made to order.

mexico second home

If you are more of a pioneer, you can find even better real estate deals abroad and have almost no downside risk. We’ll be covering specific markets here and on the pages of Luxury Latin America later, but there are some enticing value plays in Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, and others. The median price paid for a vacation home in the U.S. in 2006 was $200,000. Open up your definition of what a second home can be and you might end up buying two or three houses for the price of one in the U.S. or Canadian location you were considering…