Articles Related to Property in 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.

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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 atColombiaConference@liveandinvestoverseas.com

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"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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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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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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