Throughout Central and South America, the economic and health impacts of Covid-19 have been severe and enduring. Shutdowns were complete in several nations, with restrictions slow to lift.
Peru, for example, initiated total quarantine measures and closed its borders before the initial lockdowns in France and the UK. But in a nation where a fifth of people live on roughly $100 a month, and 44% of households don’t have a refrigerator to store food, it’s been challenging to enforce and comply with strict quarantine measures.
Vaccines have begun tipping the scales. For example, Uruguay’s vaccination efforts have been highly successful, with 73% of its population fully vaccinated and another 5% completing one dose. In contrast, total vaccination rates (first and second doses) are substantially lower in Mexico (47%) and Peru (37%).
Canada’s vaccine rollout was slower than the US but is currently more successful. More than 75% of Canadians have completed at least one dose, compared to nearly 63% in the US.
In August, Canada opened its land border to fully vaccinated US residents who comply with several additional requirements, including a molecular Covid-19 test. A month later, traffic entering the country was roughly one-fifth of pre-pandemic levels.
On the flip side, even though Canada and Mexico are currently open to US visitors, the US has kept its land borders closed to nonessential travelers since March 2020, although that may change soon.
After more than 18 months of high-latitude isolation, many Canadians are eager to travel to and invest in properties in warmer destinations, especially as winter weather approaches.
Factors affecting real estate
Following initial concerns that the pandemic would decimate real estate, cross-border investments are slowly rebounding across the region with a few caveats:
Access - Given the preponderance of travel restrictions during the pandemic, buyers are concerned about investing in a location they might not be able to reach.
Health care - Access to quality health care has always been a top priority for buyers, especially those purchasing a retirement home. But the pandemic has elevated these concerns.
Foreign exchange - In countries where the US dollar is strong, investment is returning more quickly.
Political shifts - In Latin American countries, national elections can prompt a reversal of policies and trigger dramatic changes in investor sentiment. For example, there has been a notable uptick among Peruvian buyers in Florida following the election of Pedro Castillo, a socialist, earlier this year.
Global Perspectives thanks John LeTourneau, AHWD, ABR®, C2EX, CIPS, CRS, e-PRO®, GRI, MRP, RENE, SRS, based in Naperville, Illinois, for his assistance in developing this content.