Articles Related to Property in 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.

Continue reading: Financing The Purchase Of Property Overseas

What are the foreign buyer's options? Really, you have only one—private financing. Some local entrepreneurs are offering mortgage lending in Colombia on a small scale, but you have to have an introduction to these guys, and their pools of available funds are limited. Realistically, therefore, the foreigner wanting to finance the purchase of real estate in Colombia has to negotiate terms with the seller directly.

This means you need to be flexible. If your property requirements are strict, you'll have a hard time finding the property you want available from a seller interested in talking terms.

Your most likely lender will be another foreigner who doesn't need 100% cash at closing. Typically a local seller needs the cash from the sale to purchase his next home. If that's not the case, a local seller is likely to take the same position as banks in this country—that is, that financing a sale to a foreigner is too risky. You could walk away from the mortgage payments at any time, and what recourse would they have then?

When you find a property available from a seller willing to finance, don't expect a 30-year mortgage at 4%, for example. The terms aren't going to be anything like what you could get from a bank in the United States. A seller willing to finance typically does it over a shorter period and at a higher rate of interest than might be possible with bank financing. A common term would be 3 to 5 years with payments amortized on 20 years. Interest rates could be in the double digits.

Don't despair if you need a loan to buy your retirement home overseas. While Colombia is a challenge, other countries do offer bank financing to foreign buyers. Although banks in many European countries have eliminated or scaled back lending to foreigners, especially non-resident foreigners, in recent years, you still can find banks in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy willing to lend to you if you qualify.

Still, though, you won't find 30-year fixed-rate loans in Europe as you do in the States. In fact, you'll not see many fixed-rate loans at all. Mostly you'll find variable-rate loans with 20- or 25-year terms. As a foreigner you'll have to put down at least 30%, more likely up to 50%. If you're taking a foreclosure property off a bank's books for them, they may be willing to give you a better deal than they would on another property.

In the Americas, foreign property buyers can obtain mortgages in Panama, Belize, Mexico, and even Nicaragua if they can find the right bank and qualify. Again, terms won't be like those in the States. Interest rates in Belize can be as high as 11%. Panama interest rates are more reasonable at 6% to 7%, but banks are less likely to lend to a non-resident than a resident foreigner.

Lief Simon

P.S. I'll walk attendees at my upcoming Global Property Summit through these and all other particulars to do with investing in real estate overseas with the help of more than two-dozen global property professionals and experts from around the world. The program my team and I have put together allows lots of time for questions and one-on-one discussion. More details are here.

Continue Reading: The Property Market In Cali, Colombia


The neighborhoods of Cartagena offer diverse lifestyle options for most any budget. The first thing you'll need to decide is whether you want to live in the historic city or at the beach.

If you prefer the colonial city, then your choice is whether to live inside or outside the wall. Within the wall are Centro and San Diego, the colonial sectors that are almost 100% restored and the heart of Cartagena's tourist industry. This area is safe and attractive and also the Cartagena market's most expensive sector. I saw a decent 1,200-square-foot apartment with nice city views selling for US$296,000 at today's exchange rate. I'd say this is the bottom of the market for places where I'd want to live. If you're interested in bigger and better, prices go into the millions in this part of the city.

In the sector known as Getsemaní (outside the wall but still in the historic area), properties become less expensive. When I first traveled to Getsemaní in 2006, it was run-down and dangerous. You had to be careful during the day, and no one with any sense went there at night.

Nonetheless, at the time, I reported this as a potential upcoming area, where a person with US$200,000 to spend could take a gamble on its future rejuvenation... and maybe turn a nice profit. 

Today, even The New York Times travel section is talking about Getsemaní, so its days as an undiscovered bargain are over. It's become trendy, with attractive bars, boutique hotels, and popular night spots. It's also become safer and, of course, more expensive. Still, a single home in this part of the city costs about half what something comparable costs inside the wall.

The most popular beach areas are El Laguito, Bocagrande, and Castillogrande, all within walking distance of each other.

El Laguito is the most bustling of these, a beachside tourist destination with cafes and restaurants that's also popular with expats. The beaches are busy with vendors selling everything imaginable, from tablecloths to cold drinks and cigars. Women prowl the beach with bottles of lotion offering massages to both male and female beachgoers, while the occasional call girl strolls the sands looking for clients. 

The best beach buys are in El Laguito. A 1,400-square-foot, four-bedroom apartment with a nice lake view in this area is going for just US$137,000 at today's exchange rate... while an oceanfront, two-bedroom unit can be had for as little as US$165,000.

Castillogrande is a high-end residential area with quiet, peaceful beaches and few tourists. The tranquil, shady streets are well-kept and lined with attractive homes and high-end apartments. Unlike El Laguito, apartments here tend to be large (over 2,500 square feet) and more appropriate for year-round living.

Bocagrande's character varies between that of El Laguito and Castillogrande. Spanning the short distance between the ocean and the bay, the ocean side of this neighborhood reminds me of a quieter version of El Laguito, while its bay side looks like Castillogrande. 

One thing I don't like about Cartagena in general are the tourist annoyances, the ever-present vendors trying to sell you something, the scamming moneychangers, and, at times, the numbers of tourists themselves. Early-risers can avoid this by doing your exploring before 
9 a.m. Also note that these annoyances are worse in Centro and on the beach at El Laguito... better in San Diego, Getsemaní, the off-beach areas of El Laguito, and the ocean side of Bocagrande... and almost nonexistent on the bay side of Bocagrande and in Castillogrande.

Also, if you don't like typically hot Caribbean weather, then Cartagena wouldn't be a good choice for you.

These things aside, as an expat in Cartagena, you'll have a super selection of lifestyle choices at different price points. You could be a part of living history in Centro or San Diego, immersed in the character of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You could start up a business or restore a home in the upcoming Getsemaní neighborhood. Or you could settle on the nearby beaches, becoming part of exciting, partying El Laguito... the quiet elegance of Castillogrande... or somewhere in between.

Lee Harrison

Editor's Note: Lee Harrison will be on hand to talk about his extensive experiences in Colombia as a traveler, an expat, and an investor throughout our entire Live and Invest in Colombia Conference taking place in Medellin on May 11–13. Lief Simon will join Lee on stage as co-host for this important event, which will also feature experts and expats from across this country, including from Medellin, Cartagena, Bogota, and beyond. 

You can register online here now as a VIP attendee. Note that VIP places are half-sold as of this writing.

You can reach our conference team with your questions by phone toll free at 1-888-627-8834 or by email here.

Continue Reading: One American Couple’s Experience As Recent Retirees In Medellin, Colombia


A condo that was priced at the Colombian peso equivalent of US$140,000 in July could now be yours for just US$95,200.

Same goes for rents, furniture, dining out, groceries, and on and on.

I don't advocate trying to time currency swings or play exchange rates when making overseas property buys because currencies move in two directions, of course; however, if you have any interest in spending time or money in Colombia, this window of opportunity is too good to miss.

And I strongly suggest that you consider the idea of spending time or money in this country that I'm here to tell you is on track to become one of the world's most sought-after destinations, for both retiring and investing.

Colombia is a solid, stable democracy on the move. The country is on a strong economic footing, showing impressive growth, boasting a powerful industrial base, and enjoying an energy surplus, thanks to its abundant natural resources. In 2012, Standard and Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch all upgraded Colombia to "investment grade" status, most recently citing "prudent economic policies and increased resiliency to internal and external shocks." These ratings opened the door to even greater flows of institutional foreign investment.

Meantime, over the past month, The New York Times has listed Medellín among its Places to Go for 2015 (for the second time), and National Geographic included the country on its Best Trips list for 2015. 

The old Colombia stereotypes are falling away, and this country is beginning to take its place among the world's hottest destinations, just as, about seven years ago, I began predicting it would.

It isn't often that such a strong opening presents itself, and it's even less often that we recognize the opportunity when it's on the table. Over the past three decades, I've been on the ground early, urging readers and friends to get in ahead of the crowd in most every market that has emerged as a top retirement and investment haven. But, to be honest, I haven't always taken my own advice, and I've sometimes missed out. That's why I've moved so fast in Colombia. I didn't want to take a chance on missing what may be my biggest find of all.

The opportunities in Colombia are not limited to Medellin (though the values in this pretty city of flowers and cafes jump off the page). Medellin is just one destination of several that are attracting North American expats to this country.

The historic walled city of Cartagena, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, has been drawing expats for years. Cartagena is Colombia's #1 tourist destination, but it was Colombia's first major expat haven, too, and continues to grow in popularity in this regard.

About 140 miles up the coast from Cartagena is Santa Marta, Colombia's oldest city, offering an amazing array of appealing lifestyles and beautiful beaches, from the newly restored historic center and waterfront to the dancing beat of El Rodadero and from the world-class scuba diving at Taganga to the tranquil beaches of Bello Horizonte.

If you're interested in cooler climes, head up into the mountains, where you find Medellin but also Popayán, a beautifully maintained small-town colonial gem.

Great beaches, great weather, great health care, great culture... Colombia has it all, and, right now, it's all available at a more than 30% discount for dollar-holders. 

How long will this window remain open? Who could say.

Here's what I can tell you: Colombia is worth your attention. Lief and I are invested here. We've made friends here. We visit as often as we can. We're connected for the long term and are behind this country 100%.

It is in that context that we now are planning our fifth Live and Invest in Colombia Conference.

I can't stress strongly enough how great the window of opportunity is right now in this country. Get thee to Colombia, specifically Medellin. We'll meet you there.

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. Today we officially open registration for our fifth Live and Invest in Colombia Conference taking place May 11–13 in downtown Medellin. 

Register now to take advantage of Early Bird pricing discounts and VIP attendee benefits. You can sign yourself up online here

Or reach our conference department with your questions by phone, toll-free from the United States, at 1-888-627-8834 or by email

Continue Reading: Considering Retirement Options In Europe And Uruguay


"I'll serve," I replied, reaching for a towel to tie around my waist as an apron and a pitcher to fill with water.

By now the dining room was full, and our tour-goers were visibly unhappy.

I set the tables as quick as I could with the mismatched china we found in the kitchen cabinet, poured water all around, and took orders (fried versus scrambled), while Josianne fired up the gas stove. We served eggs, toast, juice, and tea that morning to our 40 guests and made it out the door in time to meet the bus scheduled to take us on our first property-viewing appointment of the day.

If you were among the 40 participants at that long-ago event, thank you. You're a good sport.

I hosted the second conference of my career a year later in Belize. Again, Josianne was my cohort.

Infrastructure isn't Belize's strong suit, even today. But 30 years ago this was a seriously undeveloped, unappointed little country. After two days of meetings in Belize City, we wanted to take the group south along the coast to look at beachfront lots and houses for sale. We needed a bus to transport the 50 of us. The bus we'd organized in advance was promised to be "modern." The bus that showed up outside our hotel that morning was an old U.S. school bus with broken windows, torn seats, and balding tires.

The best thing that could be said about the bus was that it was there, on the scene, as expected, at 8 o'clock that morning. The same wasn't true for the real estate agent who was to act as our tour guide for the day. The guy finally showed up an hour-and-a-half late and, Josianne and I realized quickly, drunk.

We knew Belize well enough to know that substitutions were not an option. The bus was the bus and the agent was the agent. We either went off with them for the day or we cancelled the day.

We loaded the group and set off.

The road we traveled was dirt (today it's paved). As we had no air conditioning, we opened the windows for ventilation. But, with the windows open, the bus filled with dust from the road. With the windows closed, temperatures became unbearable. So we pushed the windows down when the air became stiflingly hot and back up when the air became stiflingly dusty.

Josianne and I reviewed an itinerary for the day with our agent guide, who we positioned in the front seat so he could give instructions to the driver. Then we wandered up and down the aisle chatting with our tour-goers, trying to keep spirits up in spite of the transportation discomforts.

The things I didn't know back then about managing conferences and leading tours could have filled an encyclopedia. One of the things I didn't know but have learned since, for example, is that you don't, at any time, want to hand over control of the group to a drunk real estate agent.

After two hours had passed, Josianne and I became concerned and walked up front to check in with our intoxicated friend. The guy had passed out. We shook him awake and asked how much longer until we'd arrive at our destination.

The guy looked at us, at the driver, at his lap, out the window...

After a few long minutes, something finally registered and the guy began yelling at our driver. We'd missed our turn, Josianne and I came to understand, which was an hour-and-a-half back up the dusty road we'd just traveled.

Now what? Turn around? No. Better to continue on to our next stop. This, the agent explained, was another hour in a different direction.

"Where can we go for refreshments?" I asked the guy. "We need to take the group somewhere they can use a bathroom and buy drinks and snacks."

He knew a place, he said, and gave the driver new instructions. About 20 minutes later, we pulled up to a roadside shack alongside a river. We unloaded the bus. Our group used the facilities and ordered bottles of Coke and water, then stood in the shade of a big mango tree. The morning had been a bust, but the drinks and the shady respite cooled and calmed everyone down. Onward.

But where was the real estate agent? He wasn't in the shop. Our male tour-goers assured us he wasn't in the bathroom.

Josianne and I stood, with the group, at the door to the bus trying to figure out what we'd do if we'd lost our guide altogether.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the guy walking toward us. He was stripped down to his underpants and dripping wet. He'd gone for a swim in the river.

The agent, carrying his clothes, climbed back on the bus and took his seat. Josianne and I looked at each other, shook our heads, and followed our guide back inside the vehicle, along with the rest of the group.

By the time we arrived at our next destination, the guy had put his pants back on and sobered up enough to explain to us all what we were looking at. We toured for several more hours that day then returned late, dusty, and exhausted to our hotel in Belize City.

Josianne and I went on to lead tours and conferences together for several years, in Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, and Argentina. I have more stories from those early years. Ask me about them next time you see me. Some are best told over a cold rum and Coke while watching the sun set.

I've been thinking about these stories from a lifetime ago this week as my current conference team has been finalizing our calendar for the next 12 months. Looking through 2015, we'll be returning to old haunts that continue to offer great opportunity for the would-be retiree and investor, including Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia.

In addition, we've added new destinations of special appeal, including Portugal, which took top spot in our 2014 Retire Overseas Index, and the Dominican Republic, our top pick for retirement in the Caribbean right now.

We'll be hosting our annual Global Property Summit in March and our Global Asset Protection and Wealth Summit in October. This year's calendar also includes a first-ever Agricultural Investment Seminar, taking place in July. For our biggest event of the year, our annual Retire Overseas Conference, we're heading this 2015 to the Big Easy, New Orleans.

I've learned a few things since those early years, and this much I can promise you: Breakfast will be served every morning, buses will be air-conditioned, and real estate agents will wear pants.

Kathleen Peddicord

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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.

Read more here.


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