For the first time in years, Europe tops South and Central America as the continent with the best destinations for retiring abroad. Three of the five leading retirement destinations included in the annual Retire Overseas Index published by Live and Invest Overseas are located in Europe: Algarve, on the coast in southern Portugal, Languedoc in the south of France and Abruzzo in eastern Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea.
“Normally Ecuador or Panama would be in the top five,” says publisher Kathleen Peddicord. “This year it’s three European destinations because of the dollar’s strength against the euro and property markets that are very depressed.”
At the current exchange rate, average real estate costs in Algarve, Portugal, and Abruzzo, Italy, are lower than in City Beaches, Panama, or San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
(Related on ThinkAdvisor: 15 Best Foreign Countries for Retirement: 2015)
Americans can retire in Algarve for $1500 a month for rent, utilities, groceries and allowance for some entertainment, says Peddicord. She usually recommends that retirees rent before they buy to make sure they’re comfortable living in a particular place but says “right now it really makes sense to think about buying.” The relatively low costs available now may not last, says Peddicord. In the meantime, those not ready to make the big move now can buy and rent out the property, says Peddicord.
‘You have to take the long-term view,” says Peddicord. “And you have to be flexible. Things can change, costs can change.”