Beyond Borders: Why Affluent American Buyers Are Looking Abroad For Their Next Home

By Sotheby's International Realty |
Guy Bradshaw – United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty 


For many, a home overseas represents the essence of opulence and the hallmark of success. So it’s not a surprise that among society’s most affluent, so much of their collective wealth exists as real estate.

This trend is particularly prominent in the US—in 2022 alone, the number of overseas properties owned by Americans increased by 20%. Holding real estate abroad clearly has significant appeal for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and here are six of the top considerations driving the demand.

1. Investment Opportunities

Guy Bradshaw – United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty 

For the ultra-wealthy, real estate consistently ranks as a preferred opportunity for investment. When there’s a chance to own a covetable property in a highly desirable market—such as this Knightsbridge apartment right on the border of Belgravia, just a few blocks away from Harrods—they seize it. With period architecture, contemporary infrastructure, and a prime London location, this type of residence is an auspicious asset for a world-class portfolio.

2. An Insatiable Wanderlust

Elena Babé – Madrid Sotheby’s International Realty 

Other affluent Americans simply love to travel to the cultural centers that offer the best of everything—exquisite architecture, beautiful weather, and astonishing history. Owning a home in these enviable locales enables them to visit and vacation as often as desired. It’s a convenient way to ensure they can attend all their favorite events, from festivals to fashion weeks. Madrid is a perfect example—especially this property that boasts Parque del Buen Retiro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as its own backyard.

3. Obtaining Dual Citizenship

Agnes Pinaire – Propriétés Parisiennes Sotheby’s International Realty

Some luxury consumers aspire to own properties that let them live overseas longer term. As such, obtaining a second passport or dual citizenship through employment or family connections remains a high ideal for a sizable portion of high-net-worth individuals. Whoever is fortunate enough to acquire a house like this one, which provides a country estate lifestyle in the midst of Paris’s metropolitan splendor, would likely want to enjoy it for months at a time.

4. The Golden Visa Program

Macarena Osorno – Portugal Sotheby’s International Realty 

Many globally minded affluents unable to procure a second passport through work or birthright are motivated to take advantage of the Golden Visa program.  This initiative awards permanent residency, or sometimes full citizenship, to those who make a major donation or investment in a given country. That means with the right financial incentives, the buyer of a property like this visionary retreat in Lisbon—which features a modern villa built on century-old foundations—could be granted a streamlined path to residency in Portugal.

5. A Luxe European Lifestyle

Christina Lofsten – Sweden Sotheby’s International Realty 

There are a lot of affluent Americans who are enamored with European cities—exciting and enriching, yet also accommodating spaces of quaint, quiet calm. That’s why they’re drawn to a bucolic escape like this dwelling, both verdant and vibrant, located on the cusp of the bustling archipelago that is Stockholm.

6. New Horizons to Explore

Veniz Kwong – List Sotheby’s International Realty 

There are other Americans, notably the younger generation, who are setting their sights on emerging markets in areas of Asia and Central America—both as savvy investments in their own real estate portfolios and as gateways to new ventures, voyages, and cultural exchanges. That’s why a place like Singapore, and this inspiring condo near the iconic Orchard Road, is such an inviting prospect for these buyers. By having a home base here, the rest of Asia and the Pacific, in all their diverse and dynamic possibilities, are a short flight away.

With these six reasons, it’s no wonder that affluent Americans are eager to expand their holdings to other cities and countries. These properties pay dividends not only as appreciating assets, but as destinations that never cease to amaze.

Considering cautiously dipping a gold-ringed toe in the waters of luxury property ownership before making the plunge? Explore these stunning rental properties.