Articles Related to Colombia


Already Undervalued, Colombia Is Now Trading At A 34% Currency Discount

The city of Medellín offers the best lifestyle we've seen for your property-purchase dollar. Even now that the mainstream buyer and traveler are finally beginning to focus on Medellín—and expats are moving to this city in significant numbers—its negative stereotype of 30 years ago is still keeping prices down.

In Medellín today, you can enjoy a First World setting, with clean, safe, and shady streets, fine dining, and charming outdoor cafes, at prices that we haven't seen since 2006.

The Catay area in Medellín's El Poblado is heavily wooded and crossed by a rushing stream. The apartments in this neighborhood are a blend of new and older luxury units. On the market today, for example, is a two-bedroom, two-bath condo with a roomy 125 square meters (1,345 square feet) of living space for an asking price 340 million Colombian pesos. Here's how that works out given today's rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and the Colombian peso:

2013 Price: US$193,200
February 2015 Price: US$144,200
Currency Discount: US$49,000

Cali, Colombia, averages warmer weather than Medellín, and some of its neighborhoods offer a great expat lifestyle at prices lower than most anywhere in Latin America at the current rate of exchange. The Granada neighborhood is one of our favorites, with its restaurants, cafes, and clubs. Here you can buy a large, 121-square-meter (1,300-square-foot) apartment with three bedrooms and three baths for 235 million Colombian pesos.

2013 Price: US$133,500
February 2015 Price: US$99,700
Currency Discount: US$33,800


Chile: Latin America's Cadillac Destination Offers The First World For 27% Off

Chile amounts to a first-rate venue. The quality of life on offer in this country is as good as it gets in Latin America. Chile offers modern, First World infrastructure, a high standard of living, low levels of corruption, a strong economy, and business- and entrepreneur-friendly policies.

Chile also offers the expat many and diverse lifestyle options. This country spans 2,650 miles from north to south and boasts an amazing array of climates and geography from sea resorts and small ocean-side villages to the mountains of the lake district and the sophisticated scene of Santiago.

Santiago's Barrio Italia is one of our favorite neighborhoods, with its shady streets and old homes mixed with upscale restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and exclusive boutiques. Just down the street from our Chile correspondent's apartment, we found a newer condo with two bedrooms, two baths, and 75 square meters (810 square feet) of living area. Also, important in Santiago, it's close to a metro (subway) station, connecting you to the whole city. The property is listed for 174 million Chilean pesos.

2013 Price: US$354,000
February 2015 Price: US$279,000
Currency Discount: US$75,000

Viña del Mar is Chile's premier seaside resort, drawing visitors from all over the country and around the world. In Viña del Mar, we found a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment with 100 square meters (1,080 square feet) of living area and ocean views listed at 116 million Chilean pesos.

2013 Price: US$241,700
February 2015 Price: US$190,500
Currency Discount: US$51,200

Spain Has Turned Around... And Now The Strong Dollar Is Helping Out

Spain has long been one of the world's most sought-after property destinations thanks to its great weather, relatively low cost of living, and friendly atmosphere. This country was hit particularly hard by the last recession, and savvy property buyers have been watching closely for signs of a turnaround.

Now the official data on property sales show that the recovery is in progress... and buyers and investors are making their moves.

In fact, Spain offers two reasons to buy: We're this side of the bottom... and the dollar has climbed about 15% against the euro since early 2013, giving the U.S. dollar-holder additional buying power.

For example, a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment in Barcelona, with 95 square meters (1,020 square feet) of living area, has two terraces for an additional 38 square meters (409 square feet), from which you can enjoy the sea views. The asking price is 170,000 euros.

2013 Price: US$232,000
February 2015 Price: US$192,000
Currency Discount: US$40,000

In the beachfront town of La Cala de Mijas, Málaga, a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with 85 square meters (915 square feet) of living space plus an additional 129 square feet of terrace is on offer, completely furnished. It belongs to a complex with pools, tennis courts, and a brisk rental market. The asking price is 145,000 euros.

2013 Price: US$197,900
February 2015 Price: US$164,000
Currency Discount: US$33,900

Exciting, Romantic, And Diverse—Brazil Now Offers An Additional 33% Currency Advantage To U.S. Dollar-Holders

If you've ever dreamed about the romance of Brazil, with its thousands of miles of beautiful beaches, fascinating culture, excellent food, and warm, friendly people, then take note. Right now is your best opportunity to buy in years.

Bigger than the continental United States, Brazil offers a wide range of climates and cultures, from the mountainous wine region in the south with its strong German influence to the country's Reggae capital of São Luis in the north with its strong French and African influences.

Fortaleza is one of our favorite cities in Brazil, the "gleaming centerpiece" of Brazil's northeast coast. On offer right now in Fortaleza's beachside neighborhood of Meireles is a 67-square-meter (721-square-foot) condo with two bedrooms and two baths. The asking price is 380,000 Brazilian reals.

2013 Price: US$187,200
February 2015 Price: US$140,700
Currency Discount: US$46,500

Maceió is one of Brazil's most popular beachside cities. It's relatively small (by Brazilian state capital standards) but offers everything the expat or second homeowner could want in city amenities. Barra du São Miguel lies just south of Maceió, and here you can buy a three-bedroom, three-bath ocean-view house with 191 square meters (2,055 square feet) of living space, plus a pool and garage. The asking price is 280,000 Brazilian reals.

2013 Price: US$137,900
February 2015 Price: US$103,700
Currency Discount: US$34,200


I'll say it one more time: If you've been thinking of making an overseas property purchase, now is the best time in years to make your move.

Lee Harrison

Editor's Note: Lee Harrison will co-host this year's Global Property Summit with Lief Simon. This event, the only property-specific program on our 2015 conference calendar, will take place in Panama City, Panama, March 18–20.

Furthermore, the Early Bird Discount for this year's Global Property Summit expires this Friday, Feb. 13. Register now to save up to US$500. Details are here.

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What to buy? Apartments in Buenos Aires, some of which qualify as among the most intrinsically valuable in the world, their cycle-to-cycle value street value notwithstanding. Also look at vineyard opportunities. I've just taken advantage of a crisis vineyard offer in Mendoza and am on the lookout for more.

Turkey, Specifically Istanbul

Turkey's property market wasn't hit as hard as others around the world in 2008 and 2009. Values in some districts of Istanbul dropped by maybe 25% at the height of the downturn (about the same as in Panama)...but in just a year-and-a-half prices recovered. That rate of appreciation (10% to 15% per year on average) continued through 2014 and is expected to carry on indefinitely.

Despite these impressive rates of appreciation, Istanbul real estate remains a bargain compared with other global-standard cities. With a starting market price of around US$1,000 a square meter, middle-class housing in the Turkish capital can be an excellent bargain.

What's driving the continuing appreciation in property values? Inflation is one factor; another is the GDP growth rate, which has been 4.5% to 5%. However, the compelling explanation for why property prices have been going up as quickly as they have been is a big and growing local demand.

Half the population of Turkey is younger than 30 years old. The country sees 350,000 weddings a year. All these new couples want places of their own to live. And, thanks to a strong economy and relatively low unemployment, more of these young couples than ever can afford places of their own.

In addition to all the young people needing places to live, half the current housing stock in the country needs to be replaced or renovated. Many of the structures are simply not suitable for living according to current-day standards. People in old buildings need new and better ones...further fueling the construction boom that continues to expand.

With its young population, Turkey is a country of the future. The economy is growing and diversified between Europe and Asia. And it's easier than it's ever been for foreigners to invest here now, especially in real estate.

Focus on Istanbul rather than the vacation properties along the coast that many foreigners have been buying. Vacation markets supported by mostly foreign buyers are less liquid than a local market like Istanbul. When you decided to sell your asset in this city, you'd have many different potential buyers to appeal to.

The safest, simplest investment options in the city are pre-construction apartments. Getting in early on a new building means discounted pricing and the expectation of price increases over the two- to three-year construction period.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an internationally popular all-inclusive resort destination that sees big volumes of tourists every year thanks to its miles of sandy beaches and balmy temperatures. It's also a top Caribbean choice for the would-be foreign property investor. In fact, I like this market more than ever in 2015 for two reasons. First, the island nation is attracting more and more foreigners, both full-time expats and retirees and part-time second-home-at-the-beach owners. Second, property values are a tremendous bargain relative to the rest of the Caribbean.

What could you buy? How about a brand-new, one-bedroom apartment about a five-minute walk from a Caribbean beach for US$100,000 or less that could be rented out for a good and reliable yield. You can also find multi-million-dollar properties that are, again, a bargain, compared with the cost of similar properties in other Caribbean markets.

Punta Cana is the DR's most developed resort area. Puerto Plata, on the north coast, is the most developed area for retirees. Most appealing if you ask me is the Samana Peninsula. Here you have thousands of expats onshore and, in the water off the coast here, thousands of breeding humpback whales. It's a unique spot a little off the beaten path.

Spain

This is the best time in 20 years to be shopping for real estate in Spain…if you know where to look. We are at the start of a 12-month window for buying in the regions of this country that are driven by expat buyers. Prices for properties in locally driven markets remain unstable and may fall further, but the expat markets are firming up. In fact, we may begin to see some appreciation is these areas, as little new construction has been undertaken in the past half-dozen years thanks to the crisis.

Focus on Malaga in the heart of the Costa del Sol. The town center has some charm and a broad appeal. Prices are good, as low as 2,000 euro per square meter, a price point not seen here in many years.

The Costa del Sol of Spain is where I made my first overseas real estate investment, so I have an affinity for this area. Money can be made again now, in the current market. However, you can't buy just anything. You want to focus not only on broadly appealing markets (like Malaga) but also on individual properties with intrinsic value. The crash left banks holding more real estate than they could inventory, and they're working hard to unload as much of the foreclosed property as possible. Much of it is cookie-cutter condos. Don't be tempted. Seek out properties with character.

Whatever you buy, you want to be confident it'll generate an adequate net rental return (at least 5% to 8%). You shouldn't buy in this market for capital appreciation in the near or mid-term. Buy for cash flow and a long-term upside.

Buy as well to take advantage of the strength of the U.S. dollar versus the euro. The euro is at its lowest point against the dollar in two-and-a-half years, dropping a further 2.5% in the last couple of weeks.

Colombia, Specifically Medellin

The U.S. dollar is currently surging not only against the euro but other currencies, too, including the Colombian peso, making this market even more interesting. I've been recommending Colombia, specifically Medellin, for investment for six years, and I remain bullish. The Medellin market has seen good appreciation over the last six-plus years I've been recommending it (as much as 10% per year), and I expect this to continue. Meantime, the peso has fallen out of its five-year band of 1,750 to 2,050 per U.S. dollar to around 2,300 to the U.S. dollar, triggering a window of opportunity to get into this market on a dip.

Colombia's economy is strong, and the middle class continues to grow. The long-term prospects are excellent. Buy both for immediate cash from rental yield and capital appreciation.

Agriculture

Any property portfolio should include some productive land component for important reasons I think you understand as well as I do. I'm actively pursuing agricultural opportunities from timber to certain fruits and vegetables in Colombia, Panama, Belize, Western Europe, and the Dominican Republic. Not all of them will work out, but I'll alert you to the ones that pass muster. This is where I intend to place a significant portion of my available capital in 2015.

Happy profits.

Lief Simon

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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

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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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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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