Live From The Scene Of The Live And Invest In Colombia Conference

Live From The Top Property Investment Market In Latin America—Day 2 In Medellín

Hello and hola from Live and Invest Overseas’ fifth Live and Invest in Colombia Conference in Medellín!

I made the speedy crosstown commute by taxi this morning from Barrio Laureles, where I live, to the Intercontinental Hotel, our conference headquarters in El Poblado. Co-host for this week’s event Lee Harrison had just begun his charming and informational talk, “Colombia—South America’s Newest Frontier.”

It was 8 a.m. Colombian time, same as Eastern Standard Time. Participants and guests from the West Coast were a little wobbly, and maybe some among the group had had big nights out the night before. Lots of great restaurants and clubs near the Intercontinental on Avenida Las Palmas… lots of good reasons to stay up late. In any case, Lee woke everybody up with his firsthand tales of adventure in this country we’ve all convened this week to discover up close.

Lee’s colorful overview of the current market in Colombia and of opportunities in Medellín, Bogotá, Cali, and Cartagena, specifically, was followed by a nuts-and-bolts presentation by attorney Juan Dario Gutierrez, who walked the group through all the various residency visa options Colombia currently offers. Pens were flying as this very practical and valuable information was presented. Master of Ceremonies Lief Simon reminded participants that audio recordings of every presentation will be sent to them following the conference (the recordings are included as part of the conference package). Still, the note-taking was fast and furious. Nobody wanted to miss a word.

Rich Holman, CEO of First American Realty Medellín, spoke next about the current opportunity to invest in real estate in this city. Rich really hit the point home: Now is the time to be buying Colombian property in general, and Medellín is particularly attractive. The U.S. dollar is strong and surging against the Colombian peso. If your investment capital is denominated in dollars, it’s now got nearly 30% more buying power in this country than it did nine months ago.

Rich and others have been crunching the numbers for us, showing us per-square-meter costs for buying in key cities in Colombia and comparing those with per-square-meter costs for buying in other cities throughout Latin America right now. Colombia is the big winner, offering the best buys in the Americas. I overheard one conference participant remark that the current situation in this country is like a land rush. He’s not wrong.

I’m a Medellín expat myself. I’ve been very happily at home in this city for four years, and I’m taking advantage of this window of opportunity to invest finally in a home of my own. I’m negotiating for the purchase of a house in Laureles for an amazingly low price.

Rich also made the point that Colombia is on the verge of joining the ranks of the world’s greatest tourist and retirement centers, such as Panama and Costa Rica, though it’s at least 20 years behind those others. After the conference has concluded, Rich will be leading some of our attendees on a real estate tour through El Poblado to show them this city firsthand and give them an idea of just what can be bought right now for what price.

Some participants have admitted that they received warnings and cautions from friends and family back home trying to scare them off making the trip to Medellín this week. Unfortunately, this city’s mala fama is dying a slow death. One participant said his family had him so worried that he considered hiring a bulletproof car for the drive into town from the airport. They told him that, if he didn’t, he’d be a target for the National Sport of Colombia: Kidnapping.

Fortunately, the conference-goer didn’t go to all that trouble. And, after he’d made the beautiful, tranquil drive down the mountain from the airport to downtown Medellín, he said he had to shake his head and laugh at the very idea of renting a bulletproof car.

One of my fellow expats in this city, Nancy Kiernan, a cornerstone of Medellín’s expat community, spoke to the group about the self-confidence required to take the leap and plunge into a new life overseas. She shared details of her own inspiring story of getting from the United States to Colombia.

I’m out of time today. On my way to enjoy a glass of wine with attendees and fellow speakers. More from the scene mañana

Larry Rose

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