Colombia Real Estate

Colombia Real Estate has been booming for the last 10 years or so. When we first moved to Medellin, in the more expensive part of town known as El Poblado, 1m2 cost you on average about 1 million pesos. Now, that figure can be as high as 4 million in certain areas but you can still find better deals, especially in other parts of town where prices are significantly cheaper.

A development in Medellin that looks great, but upon closer observation, was impractical. 4 floors with steep staircases. Each floor a large room. Doesn’t make sense to me. 

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Construction is very much alive and not always high quality. Fittings tend to be cheap, break easily and all-in-all, the quality of newer housing has declined over the decades to fairly generic but in many ways functional apartments.

Same development. Stairs everywhere:

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I find the layout to be a bit strange at times with servant quarters and too many bathrooms, over sized living rooms and sometimes awkward and wasteful layouts. The more you study the details, the more problems you discover.

I’m being very tough and should confess that I did buy here some years ago but do consider pricing to have gone rather high over the last years.

A better alternative with a spectacular view:

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US Dollar Decline

A major factor when considering purchasing Colombia real estate, is the declining US dollar which has essentially made everything here more expensive if you’re coming out of that currency. I remember a peak of 3000 pesos per USD, now we’re at 1825. That’s a 64% difference!

Rural vs. Urban

As is almost always the case,the major cities such as Bogota, Medellin and Cali are more expensive than elsewhere. Cartagena has some of the highest prices in the country, particularly in the old city which is probably as expensive as you get here.

There are however, expensive areas outside of the cities such as Llano Grande above Medellin, which is now more exclusive than the city due to its nature and life quality with no pollution or noise from the city.

Will it continue to rise?

Hard to say, but if the economy continues on track, it seems likely. There’s a strange resilience here to selling anything at a loss, so even in a down market, there is a huge reluctance to selling at a loss. It has happened however.

Another alternative: 

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Legal & Tax

Purchasing property in Colombia can be difficult. The extreme precaution taken by the banks to reduce money laundering make it difficult to transfer money into the country and it is virtually impossible to open a bank account with a Cedula Extranjeria ID card. If you become a resident, you need to investigate tax implications with the DIAN before transferring money from abroad. I urge you to speak with a tax-adviser and get some rock-solid advice before becoming a tax resident here.

You must also be aware that the bureaucracy here is extreme as is corruption, miss-informed and opinionated advice and rules, even by authority figures.

Yes, it can be done and it may well turn out to be a worthwhile investment or home even, but you need to do your due diligence which can be tricky in a country where the grey zone for everything is confusing and in many ways, simply doesn’t make sense.

It’s difficult to come with one simple answer because it really does depend on your specific circumstances.

Bottom Line

Bottom line, Colombia real estate is relatively cheap, particularly in some areas. Renting is however, a feasible alternative and also, relatively cheap ranking from a few hundred dollars per month for a small apartment to thousands for a house. 

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