It looks like the U.S. home foreclosure wave is climbing into the upper ranks. A new story in the Wall Street Journal out today is titled, Foreclosures Hit Rich and Famous.

There’s nothing modest about these houses, with outstanding loads of $5 million or more.

-a Tudor mansion in Bel-Air belonging to film star Nicolas Cage

– a 14-acre Westchester mansion belonging to a former Merrill Lynch executive who headed up the Latin America division

– a Manhattan condominium owned by Italian film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori, sold in a foreclosure auction for $33.2 million

The article says that in February alone, 352 homes nationwide in this $5 million+ category “…were scheduled for foreclosure auction, the final step before a bank acquisition.”

So what does this mean for Latin America? If you want my advice, tread carefully in the obvious bubble markets fueled by lots of speculative California money, places like Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and the northern Pacific developments of Costa Rica. Or at least drive a hard bargain there to be sure you’re getting the true market rate. Plan to use your home a lot as the high-end rental market and near-term appreciation are both looking dicey for a while.

See our Latin America real estate stories for more.