I’ve Looked at Real Estate While Traveling the World — Here’s Why Moving Abroad Is Your Best Shot at a Luxe Life

Want better real estate options? It might be time to move.
  • A recent GOBankingRates study found that all real estate is not created equal — for example, what $300,000 will get you in Los Angeles is far different than what you can get for the same amount in India.
  • The study found that investing in real estate abroad is shockingly cost-effective, especially in countries like Turkey, Ukraine and Cuba, where you can afford five or more homes for the cost of a California home.
  • Globe-trotter Sally Elbassir has seen the cost of real estate on her many travels and shares why investing abroad might be your best bet for living richer.

When I first started traveling frequently, in my teens, I used to jokingly say that one day I’d be rich enough to buy a house on every continent. Although I haven’t reached that level of savings (yet), I still get a serious kick out of looking at real estate listings in every country I visit. I’ve been surprised to find that in some countries, I could fairly easily purchase a home with my savings, despite the fact that I’ve been in the workforce for less than a decade. I’m all about making smart financial decisions, and research has shown me time and time again that staying in California is not the best choice for my bank account. It’s no secret that California real estate is notoriously unaffordable.

GOBankingRates recently analyzed Zillow and Numbeo data to determine the current median cost per square foot for residences both in California and in various countries abroad. The results were truly an eye-opener for me. Did you know that for the price of a California home, you could purchase a whopping 19 homes in Cuba? Or six homes in Turkey? You can even purchase two homes in Portugal, a country with weather pretty comparable to California’s.

Read More: 15 Countries Where Home Prices Are Dropping

I’ve lived in California for most of my life, but the more I travel, the more I realize that I could enjoy a much higher standard of living if I compromise on my location. Instead of working even more hours or digging myself deep into debt for several decades, I could purchase a home in a country where my dollar stretches much further. Because the U.S. dollar is one of the strongest currencies in the world, its value stretches far in many countries.

Not convinced to make a move yet? Consider these benefits of investing in real estate abroad.

Living a Richer Lifestyle for Less

There’s almost always a positive correlation between real estate costs and cost of living. Nearly all the countries with inexpensive real estate have lower costs of living as well, which means you’ll be able to afford luxuries you wouldn’t dream of in California. Depending on the country, you may be able to afford full-time help around the house, for example, or a weekly professional massage. Who wouldn’t want to live a luxurious life for a fraction of the cost?

Related: This Is My Definition of a ‘Rich’ Life — and It Should Be Yours Too

More Savings

It’s also a lot easier to save money when your cost of living is lower. Instead of spending 50-80 percent of your paycheck on your mortgage, you can save your income for a future purchase. Whether you’re saving for a small indulgence or a big investment, it’s a lot easier to do when you have fewer expenses overall.

A Different Climate

One of the many reasons I love living in California is the climate. I despise the cold and snow, and I love having access to the beach. I’ve actually found that Lisbon has comparable weather to Southern California, even in the winter. The best part is that real estate in Portugal costs half as much as it does in California. And, for those looking for a country that has it all (including seasons), I recommend Turkey for inexpensive real estate, beautiful landscapes and delicious food.

I’ve been thinking of investing in real estate abroad for some time now and this data only further supports my decision. It’s a compromise to leave my favorite state, but one I’m willing to make if it means being able to (eventually) afford a home of my own.

Click through to read about why you should consider moving to a small town.

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