A Rental Market Overview Of Medellín’s Top Neighborhoods

Earn Up To 14.6% In These Top Rental Markets

Recently I saw a report that’s important for anyone who wants to get into the lucrative rental market in Medellín, Colombia… or anyone who wants to rent a furnished apartment for living in this popular expat destination.

The study analyzed the costs of 350 furnished rental units on the market in Medellín’s most popular sectors. It provides a good source of unbiased data.

So, with this rental data in hand, now is a good time to look at my three favorite areas in the Medellín valley to get a picture of these rental markets.

Let’s start with the most popular sector in Medellín.

El Poblado: The Beverly Hills Of Colombia

With lush, shady streets, tumbling mountain streams, and excellent residential options, it’s no wonder that El Poblado is Medellín’s most popular area for expats, travelers, and tourists.

El Poblado is green, forested, and uncrowded at its higher elevations, getting more “citified” as you approach the valley floor. The lower parts are walkable, with everything close at hand. El Poblado is the most expensive and exclusive area in the city and is the best place to own a rental property.

The centerpiece of El Poblado is the Zona Rosa, with its restaurants, cafés, clubs, discos, and high-end shops. It’s the safest area in Medellín and sees lots of tourism, many entrepreneurs, and a host of business travelers. And while the Zona Rosa is very popular with expats, the majority of the weekend nighttime visitors are young, well-off Colombians.

El Poblado Colombia Shady Street
An abundance of cafés and restaurants hidden below the trees in El Poblado…

Parque Lleras is a tiny, treed park at the center of Zona Rosa. It’s the liveliest spot in Medellín’s liveliest sector. Parque Lleras itself is located at Calle 9 and Carrera (Cra) 40. Most often, the term “Parque Lleras” refers to the whole neighborhood around the park itself, with its hundreds of cafés, bistros, restaurants, and clubs.

El Poblado is also home to the Golden Mile, known as the Milla de Oro. This area is El Poblado’s financial, commercial, and business center, with giant new shopping malls, banks, office centers, and hotels, along with its own share of restaurants, cafés, and clubs. It’s a prime residential area for those who don’t own a car… and for those who want to rent a property.

As you can imagine, El Poblado commands the highest rental rates in the city. Here are the averages based on 2017 data, the most recent available.

Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs In El Poblado

Size Number Surveyed Average Daily Rate (USD) Average Monthly Rate (USD)
1 Bedroom 132 $76 $1,949
2 Bedroom 56 $108 $2,183
3 Bedroom 38 $134 $2,953

To give you an idea of what an apartment would cost in El Poblado, here are a couple of examples.

At just two blocks from Parque Lleras, I found a roomy, two-bedroom apartment with lots of rental potential. This modern, 128-square-meter unit includes parking spaces for three cars, two bathrooms, a balcony, an American-style kitchen, and loads of windows. The asking price is 390 million pesos (US$136,025 at today’s exchange rate).

This is a premium location, and at the average rental rate for a two-bedroom, the gross return would be 14.6% with 75% occupancy. But don’t get too excited about the gross return number.

If I had to guess, after backing out the HOA fees, utilities, cable and internet, property taxes, maintenance, and property management fees, you’d probably be down around 8%. The return is still pretty good, though. (I’m assuming a 75% occupancy, a number that’s very conservative in a prime location… and very optimistic in an out-of-the-way location.)

There’s a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom apartment for sale near the Golden Mile, with easy walking access to some of the best shopping, banking, and dining in Medellín. The unit has 89 square meters of living space, with an ample balcony and amazing valley and mountain views from most rooms. The asking price is 350 million pesos (US$122,073).

El Poblado properties are generally the most expensive in Medellín, but the returns are good, and there’s a continued high demand for properties in a good location.

Laureles Has Come Into Its Own With Expats And Travelers

The neighborhood of Laureles is one of my favorites in the city. It offers lush, tree-lined streets in a sector crisscrossed by a few shady, divided boulevards. Among its streets you’ll discover a terrific selection of cafés, restaurants, services, and shops. There are also two attractive wooded parks where you can relax and watch the rest of Medellín go by.

The layout of Laureles is unusual when compared to most of Medellín… or most of Spanish America, for that matter. Instead of the normal street grid of north-south and east-west surface roads, most of Laureles’ streets are laid out as two sets of concentric circles and spokes, one centered on Segundo Parque Laureles and the other on the university. To complicate your orientation further, its main thoroughfare (Avenida Nutibara) runs diagonally through Laureles.

And while much of Laureles is a little less expensive than El Poblado, it’s not a downscale option; Laureles has the second-highest income level in Medellín after El Poblado.

Street in Laureles Colombia
Shady Laureles is Medellín’s second most-affluent sector…

And I believe that for some expats, Laureles offers a few advantages over El Poblado.

It’s relatively level. In El Poblado you’re on a mountainside, and east-west travel will give you a good workout. In Laureles you can walk all around the zone without climbing hills.

Laureles does not have El Poblado’s business environment. While El Poblado’s Golden Mile is a major center for business and finance, Laureles is mostly residential, with businesses that are small-commercial. So while you’ll find everything you need to live there, I think it retains a nice “neighborhood” feel.

You won’t see as many tourists in Laureles. Virtually everyone who visits Medellín from around the world has El Poblado at the top of their list. If they’re in town long enough, they might get over to Laureles… or maybe they won’t.

Like much of El Poblado, there’s no need for a car in Laureles. It’s 100% walkable. In my book, Laureles is the perfect blend of shady, treed residential areas and attractive city amenities.

Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs In Laureles

Size Number Surveyed Average Daily Rate (USD) Average Monthly Rate (USD)
1 Bedroom 32 $36 $897
2 Bedroom 7 $50 $1,051
3 Bedroom 7 $74 $1,374

And here are a few property examples to give you an idea of what things are going for:

In a very walkable area of Laureles, I found a third-floor, duplex apartment on the market, with 111 square meters of space arranged on two floors, including three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a spacious kitchen with cooking island. The building is located in the shady restaurant zone of Laureles with easy walking to cafés and shopping, as well as public transportation. The asking price is 267 million pesos (US$93,123).

If this property rented for the average two-bedroom price, the gross return would be 10.3% at 75% occupancy. Property taxes and utilities would be less than those I mentioned above in the El Poblado example (which came from my own bills).

There’s another nice, two-floor apartment available in Laureles, this one occupying the eighth (top) floor of the building. It features beautiful cathedral ceilings over the living area, with skylights on the upper floor. With 120 square meters of living space, including two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the unit has amazing views of the valley and is also in a perfectly walkable neighborhood. The asking price is 380 million pesos (US$132,543).

Laureles sees less of a rental demand than El Poblado, and rental returns therefore likely would not be as high. But the quality of life is excellent, and this is an area that’s rapidly increasing in popularity.

Envigado Is The Popular New Frontier In The Medellín Valley

The municipality of Envigado is adjacent to El Poblado. Many refer to it as if it were a neighborhood of Medellín, but, in fact, it’s a separate municipality within the Medellín metro area.

Envigado has a character that’s quite different from neighboring El Poblado. Instead of the upscale feel of El Poblado, Envigado seems more like a comfortable, well-maintained, and old-fashioned neighborhood. When I walk around its quiet, tree-lined streets, I find it has a distinctive community feel.

The town is built around its attractive, well-kept, and shady town square, overlooked by the impressive Santa Gertrudis Catholic church. On a recent visit, I found a bustling and colorful Saturday market in progress in the brilliant sunshine.

Just a few blocks away, I could look in all directions and see quiet, shady streets lined with one- and two-story homes… with the occasional low-rise apartment building here and there.

So while Envigado indeed has a few neighborhoods of high rises reminiscent of El Poblado, it also offers a generous quantity of these quiet neighborhoods of single-family homes… which are difficult to find in El Poblado.

One of Envigado’s most popular areas is Barrio Jardines, a newly developed restaurant enclave. The first time I saw Envigado’s Barrio Jardines, I stood on the corner just a block from the main avenue and just took in the restaurants and cafés heading off in all directions in this cool, relaxing setting.

If I were buying to rent in Envigado, I’d want to be near this new-and-already-popular restaurant zone, only a block west of the main thoroughfare.

Barrio Jardines Restaurants in Colombia
Barrio Jardines restaurants getting ready to open to the Sunday lunchtime rush…

And, personally, if I were going to live here, I’d choose one of the quiet residential neighborhoods just a few blocks away.

Envigado is not undiscovered, but it has still maintained its relatively low prices. It’s a good value for a pleasant, neighborly living environment with a smaller-town feel.

Envigado is relatively new as a popular expat neighborhood, but it has caught on fast.

Average Furnished Apartment Rental Costs In Envigado

Size Number Surveyed Average Daily Rate (USD) Average Monthly Rate (USD)
1 Bedroom 4 $41 $1,046
2 Bedroom 10 $55 $1,173
3 Bedroom 8 $56 $1,260

And here are a couple of example properties for comparison…

In the popular Jardines neighborhood of Envigado, I found an apartment for sale in a great location, with easy access to public transportation, yet very walkable to Envigado’s restaurant district. The building and its pool area are surrounded by lush tropical gardens and walkways. The 117-square-meter unit has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, balcony, and well-equipped kitchen finished with hardwood, marble, and ceramic. The asking price is 280 million pesos (US$97,650).

At 75% occupancy, this unit would gross around 11%.

In the heart of Envigado, close to shopping, city businesses, churches, cafés, and restaurants, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is on the market. The unit has 99 square meters of living area, as well as a balcony and covered parking space. The building amenities include ample green space planted with tropical gardens, a gym, two swimming pools, sauna, and 24-hour security. The asking price is 355 million pesos (US$123,819).

El Poblado Is Still King

As you can see, El Poblado is still your best bet for managing a rental and reaping good returns. But Laureles and Envigado are quickly gaining in popularity and are both great places to stay—less expensively—while checking out the city.

Lee Harrison

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