Articles Related to Colombia

Medellin, led by the local utility, EPM, uses thousands of temporary workers over a period of months to decorate downtown with millions of lights in preparation for the grand lighting on Dec. 1. The event is called El Alumbrado, literally "the lighting."

The celebration is a tremendous source of pride among the people of Medellin and enjoys broad public participation and support. Everybody gets out and enjoys the festivities. 

El Alumbrado started in 1955, sponsored by EPM and the local municipality. It was a modest celebration in the early years but has steadily progressed to become the extravaganza it is today, drawing visitors from around the world.

El Alumbrado's traditional kickoff date was Dec. 7, a Colombian holiday called Día de las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles), held on the eve of the Immaculate Conception. But, since 2011, the "lighting" has gradually crept back to Dec. 1 to accommodate the large tourism influx into the city for the occasion. This year it crept back to Nov. 29 and will run until Jan. 12, drawing more than 4 million visitors. 

For this season, they've installed almost 500 miles of light strings with more than 30 million bulbs at a cost of around US$10 million. The effect is amazing. Have a look at these few random shots of Medellin's Christmas lights.

The Alumbrado actually takes place in five major areas around the city, with a number of smaller, local displays here and there. 

My favorite of these areas is the walk along the river, which has the most impressive display, along with a carnival atmosphere including food stands and a handful of restaurants set up for the occasion. The display here runs between the bridges Puente Guayaquil and Puente San Juan for just over a mile.

I'd say there's no better time to visit Medellin than right now. It's downright Christmassy, despite the invitingly warm weather. With the abundance of events and festive atmosphere, I can't think of a better place to celebrate the season. 

Lee Harrison

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Argentina

Argentina thrives on crisis, and it can seem that this country is always entering or exiting a financial meltdown, making it hard to know when to get in or out. 

The most recent crisis here has been building for some time. Argentine contacts on the ground tell me that 2015 will begin the window of buying opportunity. As one puts it, "Argentina is right now walking into a new investment phase."

Another says: "The time to be putting money into Argentina will begin May 2015..."

I timed Argentina's last major crisis, in 2001, and helped investors who took my advice to as much as double their money in two years (myself included). I'm looking forward to the next buying opportunity in this country, and you should be, too.

Growth Markets

Panama City

I've been recommending Panama City for rental investment for 10 years. In that time, I've earned cash flow of 15% per year net and more myself and have helped many, many other investors do the same.

Post-2008, pundits who claimed they knew proclaimed that this market, like so many other markets around the world at the time, would collapse. I ignored them and continued recommending Panama City for rental property investment.

Though the market softened, no collapse came, and I, as well as those who took my advice, continued earning excellent annual yields.

What do I think of Panama City for rental investment today? I'm more bullish on this proven market than ever and am looking to invest further myself. This market offers some of the most stable rental yields available anywhere in the world thanks to its unique flexibility. You can rent short-term or long-term...to business men, retirees, or tourists...to expats or locals. 

The key is buying in the right part of town depending on which market you want to target. At the Global Property Summit in March, I will show you what and where to buy to generate the greatest possible yields while at the same time positioning yourself for what I predict is going to be excellent capital appreciation over the coming 5 to 10 years.

Medellin

Medellin, Colombia, has been one of my favorite rental investment markets for the past six years and here, again, I'm more bullish on this market's prospects looking ahead to 2015 than ever. 

In addition, I have identified an emerging neighborhood of this city that is poised to offer better-than-ever returns. This area is a focus of the local city planners, who are investing in important infrastructure improvements, and, as a result, is drawing increased attention from foreign investors, travelers, and property buyers. What began as the initiative of a few local entrepreneurs is expanding into one of the world's best rental investment opportunities today.

Meantime, the U.S. dollar is at a five-year high against the Colombia peso. The time to act in this market is right now. My Colombia contacts have the details for where and how at my March 2015 Global Property Summit.

Istanbul

An exploding local demand is fueling a housing boom in this beautiful and historic megacity. Half the population of Turkey is younger than 30 years old, and the country sees 350,000 weddings a year. All these new couples want places of their own to live, and, thanks to the strong and expanding economy, more of these young couples than ever can afford places of their own.

Still, right now, the starting market price in Istanbul is US$1,000 a square meter, making this city a global bargain. You can get into a rental with as little as US$50,000, and less than US$25,000 down buys you pre-construction yields of up to 15% per year.

My Istanbul contacts will be in Panama with me for the 2015 Global Property Summit to share all the details.

Profits From Agriculture

Productive land is the ultimate hard asset, with the potential for long-term even legacy yield. At my 2015 Global Property Summit, we'll look at:

Timber In Panama

Historically, timber has enjoyed the best risk-to-reward ratio of any investment sector, producing an annualized ROI of 12% to 15% per year every year since they started keeping records of investment risk versus return. It's the long-held secret of the world's wealthiest people.

I like Panama for timber. The country has some of the world's best zones for many kinds of timber, including teak. And, as this is the hub of the Americas, easy access to markets both north and south ensures outlets for your harvests. 

At my March 2015 Global Property Summit, I'll introduce you to the best current opportunities to position yourself for long-term growth from timber in Panama, including a chance to earn up to 11.62% from a hardwoods investment that also qualifies you for residency in Panama, one of the world's leading offshore and retirement havens. The best part of this opportunity is the buy-in cost, which is just US$15,200.

Agriculture In Panama

Panama also offers the opportunity right now to cash in on the globally exploding demand for one agricultural product in particular. I'm working with local contacts to prepare a special presentation on this opportunity specifically as it's one of the best agricultural investments I've identified in six years of searching.

Agriculture In Paraguay

Paraguay is the world's 10th-largest exporter of wheat, eighth-largest beef exporter, seventh-largest exporter of corn, sixth-largest producer of soy, fifth-largest exporter of chia and soy flour, and fourth-largest exporter of yucca flour and soy oil. 

This country has the third-largest barge fleet in the world (after the United States and China) and is the third-biggest exporter worldwide of yerba mate. It's the second-biggest stevia producer and exporter in the world and the world's #1 exporter of organic sugar.

GDP and GDP per capita are both expanding, and inflation is historically a one-digit number and has not surpassed 5% in recent years. 

Paraguay qualifies right now as a "blue ocean" market, an investment arena awash with opportunity, especially agricultural investment opportunity. My correspondents from the scene will have the details for March 2015 Global Property Summit attendees.

Farmland In Uruguay

Uruguay is a breadbasket country that is also the world's most turn-key market for productive farmland, the world's oldest asset class and one that is going to continue to become more attractive over the coming decade as the world's population continues to expand. We're looking at more than 9 billion people on this planet by the middle of this century, a sobering reality that is translating to a global race for farmland, with some countries (including Brazil, for example) imposing restrictions on foreign ownership of productive land.

Not so in Uruguay, which welcomes foreign investors. Nearly 95% of the land in this country is farmable. At the March 2015 Global Property Summit, my Uruguay investment pros will introduce you to current opportunities to position yourself to profit from an ultimate hard-asset investment in this market, including agricultural, cattle, sheep, forestry, and vineyard buys.

Isn't global property investing a jet-set strategy?

No.

I've identified six opportunities with buy-ins of US$50,000 or less to showcase at my 2015 Global Property Summit, including one double-digit yield opportunity for less than US$20,000 and another for US$25,000 that could earn you up to 22% per year.

Lief Simon

P.S. The first 25 who register are invited to accompany me on a private property-viewing tour in Panama City

Continue reading: Fees And Minimum Balances With Offshore Banks

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In addition, the city planning department is rezoning the area. The intent is to:

  • Increase density allowances (which should result in new development projects)
  • Create a new public park
  • Develop a cobblestoned pedestrian-only thoroughfare
  • Reconfigure the through-streets and traffic flow


A new 16-story hotel and commercial complex is underway in the neighborhood, which is a further sign of investor interest. 

Last year, properties in Barrio Jardines outperformed those in El Poblado in terms of increased average cost per square meter. The rezoning plans and the new commercial development tell me that the city and the locals have jumped on board and are supporting further development of this area where development began as the initiative of a few entrepreneurs. 

The property that has gotten my attention is a three-story townhouse with the sought-after two bedrooms and three baths, each bedroom on its own floor. The house is a total of 106 square meters, or 1,141 square feet. You can take a look at some property photos here.

The property is turn-key; no major rehab would be required. You could clean and furnish and then move in or put the place on the rental market. My projections for rental return assume that you'll spend around US$12,000 for furnishings and sprucing up. 

The property is in a completely walkable area. You could live here comfortably without a car, and walkability is a top priority for renters in this market. Further, the townhome is located just around the corner from the popular new restaurant district, which is just a half-block away.

I like this as a rental buy for a number of reasons, including:

  • The selling price is inexpensive for this area
  • The area has come into vogue and is popular now, meaning occupancy should be high
  • It's a house, meaning you can rent it into the lucrative, short-term rental market—something that is difficult to do with an apartment. To rent an apartment short term in Medellin, the entire building must specifically allow for this in the HOA documents


Best of all, financing is available for this purchase if you need it.

The recently reduced asking price is 315 million pesos (US$152,800), but I know the owner will take less. Discuss this directly with the real estate broker. 

Note further that this is a good time to buy in Colombia, with the U.S. dollar at a five-year high against the Colombian peso. 

As I mentioned, we normally don't write about single property listings, but we've decided to highlight this property because it represents a unique opportunity in Medellin, which is one of our favorite global property markets. There's virtually nothing else for sale in this area, and it's the best-performing sector in the city right now.

Get in touch for more information here.

Lee Harrison 

Editor's Note: Lee Harrison, with more than 12 years of experience investing in real estate overseas, is editor of our weekly Overseas Property Alert and will be among the featured presenters at our 2015 Global Property Summit.

We're counting down to the launch of what will be the biggest overseas property event of the year. Get your name on the hot list for early notification and VIP benefits when registration is open (within the next 72 hours) here.

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Now that work has been completed, and, today, Santa Marta is a different place. The rejuvenated downtown features an attractive seafront park, as well as small cafes, bars, coffee shops, boutique hotels, excellent seafood restaurants, and even a cruise-ship port. The long-rumored 256-slip marina is completed and operational, and tasteful condo projects have sprouted up around the area.

As you might guess, all these improvements have pushed up property prices; however, the current strength of the U.S. dollar rolls back the clock a few years.

The Santa Marta metro area extends 13 miles from Taganga in the north to the airport in the south. This stretch of Caribbean coast is home to an impressive diversity of beachside destinations:

Santa Marta city proper contains the original historic center and the cruise-ship port. This is the area that has benefited most from the recent investment in restoration. Santa Marta also includes a number of inland neighborhoods, including Bavaria, that would be great for full-time living away from any tourist traffic.

If you're willing to be a block off the beach, you could own in Santa Marta's refurbished downtown for less than US$100,000.

Taganga is a small village surrounded by tall mountains and situated on an expansive, deep-blue bay. The beach is long and unspoiled and bordered by a new boardwalk. Taganga's bay is great for diving and snorkeling. This is not the cheapest neighborhood in Santa Marta, but it's certainly affordable. Here you could own an ocean-view condo for less than US$100,000.

El Rodadero lies about 10 minutes south of Santa Marta. Historically, this was the main draw in the area, as people sought to avoid the once-seedy historic center. The beaches are far longer, wider, and better-kept than Santa Marta's, creating a giant crescent-shaped shoreline that's several miles long. El Rodadero offers a small-town feel that you won't find in the city. This is unpretentious Caribbean with a friendly, laidback feel. It's also a very safe neighborhood.

Santa Marta's southern sector consists of neighborhoods Rodadero Sur, Playa Salguero, Pozos Colorados, and Bello Horizonte. It lies south of Santa Marta and El Rodadero but before the airport. These areas feature quiet, well-tended, and more-exclusive beaches than in Santa Marta or El Rodadero.

This southern sector is the current direction of expansion for the region, where most of the new construction is taking place. The condo projects here are generally higher end, bigger, better finished, and offering more and nicer amenities than elsewhere.

The southern sector is also long on natural beauty. Bello Horizonte has the widest beach in the area, and most of the beaches along this stretch are frequented only by neighboring residents. There's little to no tourism, making this a quiet, peaceful choice.

Perhaps the most affordable choice in Santa Marta is El Prado, where a two-bedroom third-floor penthouse was recently offered for 95 million Colombian pesos. At the current rate of exchange, that's about US$46,000.

Kathleen Peddicord

Editor's Note: Colombia is one of the 11 markets of current opportunity that will be featured during our second annual Global Property Summit, taking place in Cancun, Mexico, in March 2015.

In addition, we'll be using our 2015 Global Property Summit as a forum to introduce three new markets of opportunity that we've been tracking and vetting, markets that you've probably not yet considered but should.

We'll be opening registration for this, the only property event on next year's calendar, within the next 10 days. Meantime, go here now to get your name on the Hot List for special discounts and VIP perks.

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When we arrived for the event, we were excited about Belize, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, but had wide-open minds and were willing to consider anything, anywhere. Wendy was reluctant to take vacation time to sit in a conference rather than playing in Orlando, but it was a great decision for us. It was at this conference that we got our first taste of Colombia.

Before I continue with our Colombia story, I want to take a minute to say something about the conference itself. And I want you to know that Live and Invest Overseas has not persuaded me to say this. I asked for the chance to say this because I want anyone else out there thinking about making a move like the one we're making to understand this. The Live and Invest Overseas conferences are simply amazing.

At the event in Orlando, while our heads were spinning with questions, facts, ideas, dreams, and investments, we were also getting a chance to talk to people who already lived and worked in all of the countries we had ever considered. We were focused on Latin America, maybe eight countries, but at the conference we could learn about places all over the globe. Some of the speakers were natives to their countries, others were expats who had been just like us a few years earlier. We asked frank and blunt questions, and we got frank and blunt answers. Every answer led to more questions, of course, but after the conference we knew we had to do some visiting to these countries. Time to get the passports out and get boots on the ground.

We ended up attending conferences and taking extended stays in Belize, Colombia, and Ecuador. We loved all the countries, but Colombia, especially Medellin, just felt like home. We made another two-week trip to visit Medellin so we could see it at a different time of year, and we made sure to stay like we lived there instead of vacationing. We shopped and cooked and located common everyday items so we could feel like we lived there.

We didn't have time to stay longer, but we knew this was the place for us. We have always lived in small towns and loved them, but 3.5 million people in Medellin was no problem at all. Frankly we were overwhelmed by how friendly the people were. Whether they were expats or Colombians, we met many people who were willing to help us out, answer questions, give advice, and just generally be wonderful. We even had six people give us phone numbers or email addresses to contact them when we finally moved to the city so they could help us out any way that they could.

So it was an easy decision for us to choose Medellin. We got back home to Illinois, suffered through some more brutal winters and stifling, humid summers, and finally got our house sold. We started selling all of this stuff we had accumulated that we had to have at one time but that now was just in the way of our new life.

Medellin inspired us to start our new life right now, not at retirement age. Why wait when there are so many ways to make your dreams come true?

Now we are learning Spanish and buying new computers and a camera. We are still reducing our possessions every day and saving money. We have a place to stay for three months while we look for our more long-term place, and our friends in Illinois are throwing "deportation" parties for us while they make plans to come visit.

We can't wait to start living our dream in Medellin.

If any Live and Invest Overseas reader reading this would like to get in touch with us directly, we'd welcome that. Live and Invest Overseas—Kathleen, Lief, Lauren, and all of the amazing guest speakers and associates they bring to their conferences—has impacted our lives, and we are grateful.

Now we want to help others make their dreams come true, too.

Darren Howarter

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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

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