As stated in many past articles, it is Investment Group Colombia’s (IGC) quest to bring you the honest, down-to-earth, hard facts about Colombia. We are continually reviewing our media sources, as well as “keeping our ear to the ground” in an effort to bring you relevant, actionable information. It has been and always will be our heart-felt desire to assist and see both you, our client and friend, and Colombia prosper and grow. In our recent Blue Horseshoe LOVES Colombia Part II article (Escape Artist Magazine, February 2011) IGC stated that “all good investors know, it is ‘first in’ or at least those that are ‘early in’ that stand to reap the largest profits.” With that premise in mind, we at IGC feel it is time to take a decisive look at the real estate opportunities that currently exist in Medellin.
In recent weeks and months, there has been more interest, more articles, and more media attention than ever before. In the past year alone there have been over 100 positive, encouraging news and media releases in the US about Colombia in general and Medellin specifically. Foreign visa requests for Colombia are at an all-time high. Tourism has been increasing steadily—even exponentially—for the last 10 years. And it goes without saying that where tourism spikes, immigration also increases. Especially where you have the incredible beauty, the sublime climate, and the incredible infrastructure that Medellin has to offer.
Medellin is and has long been a rapidly growing city. Known for its beauty, cleanliness, and idyllic climate, it remains somewhat of a mystery how it has remained under the radar for so long. A cosmopolitan megatropolis of over 3.5 million people lying near the equator in a pristine high mountain valley at 1500 meters (4921 ft) altitude, Medellin is known as “the land of eternal spring” and “the Milan of Latin America”. With an arguably perfect climate and very few bugs or insects due to the altitude, there is no need for air conditioning, heating, screens or insect repellent. With some of the warmest, friendliest, and most beautiful people on the planet, it is easy to fall in love with Medellin and not want to leave.
Everywhere, lush green mountainsides give way to numerous waterfalls, streams, and rivers, creating million-dollar views and vistas wherever you look. The educational system is excellent, with several recognized universities and institutions of higher education present. Health care is also excellent and highly affordable in Medellin, with many foreigners visiting specifically for the renowned plastic surgery, medical, and dental care, typically costing less than 25% of charges in the US. The nightlife, theater, and cultural events are unparalleled, and the opportunity for outdoor adventure is almost limitless. Contrary to its often maligned reputation, the crime rate in Medellin is less than that of Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, Washington DC, Detroit, New Orleans, and other major U.S. cities.
With a great number of new and secondary housing properties on the market, real estate prices are reasonable and fair with a peppering of exceptional deals to be had for those willing to do their homework. Condominiums, apartments, and houses are less expensive in Medellin than in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, the Caribbean and most other regions of Latin America. Comparatively speaking, Medellin currently provides more opportunity and better value than any other large cosmopolitan city worldwide. If you witnessed what happened to real estate prices in places like Costa Rica and Panama over the last two decades, you will realize what a unique position Medellin is in. ith this current window of opportunity, your timing could not be better.
You will find properties to fit all tastes, styles and budgets, from small simple apartments to quaint houses to grand penthouses and colonial estates. The area that many expats gravitate to is the upscale and exclusive district of El Poblado. The south Aburrá Valley is made up of the Envigado, Itagüí and Sabaneta districts. In the west Aburrá Valley area lie the districts of Robledo, Pajarito, Simón Bolívar, La Floresta, Calasanz, San Javier, Estadio, and the Belén and Laureles districts. The remaining areas that have somewhat less appeal are the downtown districts of Prado, Buenos Aires, Cataluña, and the north Aburrá Valley districts of Cabañitas, Bello, Niquia, and Girardota. Each district with their corresponding barrios offers unique snapshots of Colombian culture and life – each presenting the real estate purchaser and investor with varying opportunities.
There are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing and owning real estate in Colombia, with the actual purchasing process being rather straight forward. In fact, the government of Colombia even provides some creative and stimulating incentives for those looking to invest in Colombian real estate. But IGC cautions that it is always wise to employ competent, trustworthy attorneys, advisers, and agents when making a foreign purchase of any kind. Nationalized financing is nearly impossible to obtain and interest rates are typically high, with the majority of foreign purchasers paying in cash or arranging private- or owner-assisted financing.
Foreigners are required to register their real estate purchases with the government. Additionally, as a security measure and deterrent against money laundering, foreign purchasers must show and prove a legal source for their purchasing funds. Additional costs for completing real estate transactions, such as notary, registration and title fees, and all taxes, typically range between 1% and 3% of the purchase price. Real estate agent fees are 3% and are paid by the seller.
With all of the positive press and the ever-increasing security and stability of the country, foreigners and retirees are beginning to sit up and take notice of Colombia, with a large share of those setting their sights on Medellin. The majority of these foreign investors are American, with the balance being a mixture of European, Australian, and recently, Chinese. During its “wild west” days, many Colombians left the country, seeking a more secure and tranquil lifestyle. Large numbers of these expatriates are now returning and purchasing real estate as well. Additionally, with the ever-improving Colombian economy, a new middle class has emerged in Colombia and they too are purchasing new homes and consumer goods, further driving the economy to a prosperity level never before known.
That Colombia is poised for continued major economic growth and expansion, ripe for those investors who are able to recognize the signs and have the courage to step forward, is clear. However, the point that we at IGC are trying to drive home here is that we feel NOW is the time to take advantage of the outstanding real estate opportunities that currently exist in Medellin. NOW is the time to claim your own piece of paradise! Do not miss this opportunity!
Investment Group Colombia encourages you the investor—our client and friend— to take advantage of this maybe once in a lifetime opportunity and “get in early”… experience the people … experience the culture … experience the passion. …experience the profit! To learn more about living, investing and traveling to Colombia please request our complimentary guide.