Editors note: this post was updated in November 2015 with updated apartment rental prices.
Since I have been living in Medellín for over three years and I have lived in five different barrios in the city, I have been asked frequently about the apartment rental costs in Medellín for unfurnished apartments.
I also have helped several foreigners find unfurnished apartments in Medellín. My experience in renting three unfurnished apartments was previously documented on this site in a four-part series: Read the first part here, the second part here, the third part here and the fourth part here.
I also have seen several internet blog posts and press articles that have inaccurately depicted the costs of apartment rentals in Medellín.
To more accurately answer the question about what the actual apartment rental costs are in Medellín, with the help of my Colombian girlfriend, we surveyed rental costs of 600 available unfurnished apartments in several neighborhoods in Medellín that are popular with foreigners.
We specifically looked in El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio, Envigado, Belén and Sabaneta. We only looked at 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments. We did not look at casas (houses) or larger apartments.
We only looked in nicer neighborhoods where foreigners are more likely to live so we only included apartments in Estrato 3, 4, 5 and 6 neighborhoods. Only a few Estrato 3 neighborhoods were included like the Los Alpes barrio, which is close to the Los Molinos mall in Belén.
(Note: using 2,077 Colombian pesos to the USD exchange rate in this post. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and has been above 2,000 pesos to the USD only five periods in the past five years.)
El Poblado Apartments
El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood for foreigners living in or visiting Medellín. It is the most upscale neighborhood in the city and is where the most hotels and furnished apartments catering to foreigners are located.
El Poblado is primarily an Estrato 6 neighborhood with 74 percent of the households rated at Estrato 6. It is also where the most expensive real estate and most expensive apartment rentals in the city are located.
El Poblado survey of 120 apartment rentals results:
- 26 apartments were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 30 to 93 square meters with rents ranging from 900,000 to 1.9 million pesos per month.
- 39 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 52 to 148 square meters with rents ranging from 1.05 million to 2.9 million pesos per month.
- 55 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 60 to 150 square meters with rents ranging from 1.2 million to 2.5 million pesos per month.
- The average rental cost per square meter of the apartments in El Poblado was 18,833 pesos per month per square meter.
- Surprisingly 25 percent of the 120 apartments surveyed in the most ritzy neighborhood of El Poblado did not have hot water and two with hot water only had electric hot water in the shower(s).
- Only four of the 120 apartments surveyed in El Poblado didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.
Laureles-Estadio is perhaps the second-most popular neighborhood for foreigners living in Medellín. It is primarily a residential neighborhood with many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.
The first unfurnished apartment I rented in Medellín was located in Estadio.
Laureles-Estadio is primarily an Estrato 4/5 neighborhood with 99 percent of the households rated at Estrato 4 or 5.
Laureles-Estadio survey of 120 apartment rentals results:
- 38 apartments were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 30 to 100 square meters with rents ranging from 400,000 to 1.1 million pesos per month.
- 35 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 50 to 130 square meters with rents ranging from 700,000 to 1.5 million pesos per month.
- 47 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 68 to 148 square meters with rents ranging from 850,000 to 1.9 million pesos per month.
- The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments in Laureles-Estadio was 14,095 pesos per month per square meter, which means Laureles-Estadio apartment rentals are 25 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar-sized apartments.
- 46 percent of the 120 apartments surveyed in Laureles-Estadio did not have hot water and six with hot water only had electric hot water in the shower(s).
- 70 percent of the 120 apartments surveyed in Laureles-Estadio didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.
Envigado is another popular neighborhood for foreigners living in Medellín. It is less commercial than El Poblado and like Laureles-Estadio has many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.
Envigado is more of a working-class community with 96 percent of housing in Estrado 2 to 5 and only 4 percent in Estrato 1 or 6.
Envigado survey of 120 apartment rentals results:
- Only four of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 60 to 80 square meters with rents ranging from 950,000 to 2.2 million pesos per month.
- 50 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 55 to 110 square meters with rents ranging from 800,000 to 2.4 million pesos per month.
- 66 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 66 to 140 square meters with rents ranging from 700,000 to 3.1 million pesos per month.
- The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments surveyed in Envigado was 16,728 pesos per month per square meter, which means Envigado apartment rentals are 11 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar sizes apartments.
- Only eight of the 120 apartments in Envigado did not have hot water and two with hot water only had electric hot water in the shower(s).
- Only 14 of the 120 apartments surveyed in Envigado didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.
Belén is a neighborhood that is increasing in popularity for foreigners living in Medellín. Belén is where I have lived for over two years in three different barrios (Fatima, Loma de Los Bernal and Los Alpes)
Belén is more of a working-class community with 98 percent of housing in Estrado 2 to 5 and only 2 percent in Estrato 1.
Belén survey of 120 apartment rentals results:
- 12 of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 30 to 62 square meters with rents ranging from 620,000 to 850,000 pesos per month.
- 21 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 44 to 90 square meters with rents ranging from 670,000 to 1.25 million pesos per month.
- 87 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 52 to 140 square meters with rents ranging from 750,000 to 1.5 million pesos per month.
- The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments in Belén was 13,661 pesos per month per square meter, which means Belén apartment rentals are 27 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar sizes apartments.
- Only 16 of the 120 apartments in Belén did not have hot water and none had electric hot water in the shower(s).
- Only 17 of the 120 apartments surveyed in Belén didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.
Sabaneta is a municipality that is located directly south of Envigado. It is an area that has been booming with developers building many apartment buildings over the past couple of years.
I expect that Sabaneta will become increasingly popular with foreigners looking for an alternative that can be cheaper than El Poblado and Envigado. I also suspect that my next apartment in Medellín will be located in Sabaneta.
Sabaneta is more of a working-class community with 98 percent of housing in Estrato 2 to 4 and only 2 percent in Estrato 1, 5 or 6.
Sabaneta survey of 120 apartment rentals results:
- Only five of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 40 to 60 square meters with rents ranging from 750,000 to 850,000 pesos per month.
- 27 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 50 to 114 square meters with rents ranging from 580,000 to 1.4 million pesos per month.
- 88 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment range in size from 56 to 146 square meters with rents ranging from 850,000 to 2.3 million pesos per month.
- The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments in Sabaneta was 14,237 pesos per month per square meter, which means Sabaneta apartment rentals are 24 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar sizes apartments.
- Only 11 of the 120 apartments in Sabaneta did not have hot water and none had electric hot water in the shower(s).
- Only two of the 120 apartments surveyed in Sabaneta didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.
If you want to save on unfurnished apartment rental costs in Medellín, our survey of apartments demonstrates that you can save an average of 24-27 percent by living in Belen, Laureles-Estadio or Sabaneta instead of living in a similar sized apartment in ritzy El Poblado.
If you select Envigado, you will only save on average 11 percent compared to the apartment rental costs in El Poblado.
Not all apartments in Medellín have hot water and I was surprised that El Poblado and Laureles-Estadio out of the five areas surveyed have a lower percentage of apartments with hot water than the other neighborhoods.
Most apartments in Medellín that have hot water use gas water heaters – either tank-less or with a water tank. I personally would avoid any apartments that have the electric hot water in showers.
If you are looking to rent an unfurnished apartment in Medellín, I recommend reading my post that includes my lessons learned over the past three plus years found here.
Hello Jeff,,, Great article and timing. My wife and I are coming up in Dec to locate an apt. We have a 8 year old son, so finding the correct place is very important to us. Thank-you for insight. Any additional suggestions about co-signers issues and for folks that want to avoid the high-rises?
Hi Gary, thanks.
To avoid the co-signer (fiador), in my Apartment Rental Guide: Costs and Lessons Learned article on this site I listed three ways to avoid the fiador:
(a) A few real estate agents in Medellín are willing to lease apartments without a fiador but these agents can be challenging to find. Plus you will have to pay rent in advance as I have done for my apartment rentals in Medellín over the past three years.
(b) You can bypass real estate agents and deal directly with apartment owners in which case everything becomes negotiable and some owners will lease without a fiador.
(c) You can find a company that will act as a fiador for a fee. I refuse to pay a fee for someone to be a fiador, which I understand can cost as high as a month of rent.
If you are looking for low-rise apartments, I would recommend looking in Laureles-Estadio, Envigado and Belén. El Poblado and Sabaneta primarily have high-rise apartment buildings. Most low-rise apartment buildings won’t have a 24×7 porteria.
Jeff,, Thanks for your all your help. Once we get settled , I would enjoy buying lunch and hearing about your adventures here. I have been here only a few months, but starting to put together all the laughs I have had done here in Neiva.
Hi Jeff, can you name some real estate agencies that can cover the fiador? I found a house I really like but even if i pay 4 months in advance they won’t accept without it – its in Florida Nueva (near Laureles)…any insight would be helpful…
Unfortunately real estate agents in Medellín in my experience won’t help you find a fiador. They expect you to have/find a fiador (cosigner with property).
The other options are to bypass the real estate agents and deal directly with owners who may not require a fiador. I am aware some foreigners have had success with this approach. Or do with I have done for over four years, find an agent that permits you to pay in advance and doesn’t require a fiador.
Would you be willing to provide the realtor’s names that you’ve worked with? Any information would be useful and thanks for the prompt response…
I just sent you an email with contact info for the real estate agent I have used for apartment leases in Medellín totaling over 4 years without ever needing a fiador.
Jeff; I, as well would love to get your real estate agent info. I am already in Envigado and looking for a apartment, and I am finding it hard working with the agents I have found. It sounds like your agent has experience in this area. And it would be easier to get this done. Look forward hearing from you.
Hi John, sorry I can no longer recommend my real estate agent. After five years of not having problems with him, I am now having problems and plan to rent directly from an owner going forward. If you talk to the porterias in apartment building you can find the owner contact information.
this is excellent information. I commend you and the hard work it took to put together. Do you have a handle on costs and availability of FURNISHED apartments?
Hi Jackie, I do have information on a limited number of furnished apartments that was collected while we did this survey about the unfurnished apartments in Medellín. I believe it would be worthwhile to do a similar survey of furnished apartments in Medellín. I should be able to do that next month with the help of my girlfriend.
Jeff – it’d be great to have a furnished apartment version to compliment this one!
Great article I love Medellin and that was one of my problems. I travel a lot for work and I have an 18 year old daughter and my fiancee’ has a 3 year old son. And we were looking to find a family type neighborhood where everyone can be safe just being outside. My fiancee’ is from Medellin and she says all the time we should look in Laureles. So I’ll tell her she was right lol.
A lot of restaurants that started with a first location in Poblado have since expanded to Laureles, giving residents many more options than existed just three to four years ago.
Envigado is often the third location, once they’ve established themselves in Poblado and Laureles.
Great, very worthwhile article. Been back now twice; only confirmed my desire to return and spend more time.
Before I had real your piece, I had my eye on Estadio .. not far from the center, and a wide variety of restaurants and clubs.
But as I sat in my friend’s apartment, and now reading your article, I got to wondering are any companies around Medellin that rent furniture, and appliances? I’d certainly prefer to rent these needed item than buy, have to sell them each time I decide to wander off somewhere.
The only companies I have seen renting furniture in Medellín are targeting businesses and events for customers not consumers – http://cienpiesmobiliario.com is an example. They rent furniture for weddings and events. I asked my Colombian girlfriend and she was not aware of any companies in Medellín renting furniture or appliances to consumers. In Colombia stores like to give credit to Colombians to buy furniture or appliances.
Keep in mind you can rent storage units to store furniture and household items – http://www.minibodegasmedellin.com is an example.
Hello Jeff,, May I ask you a question on a different topic. Are most job ads in the local paper/El Tiempo? I have a Colombiana wife, she is a teacher and we are moving up in Dec. Or , those type of employment posted elsewhere? Because her job will decide if we live in Laureles or Envigado, We have e-mailed your agent a few times,, he probably a busy man, Tks for any information. Alan
El Tiempo is a national newspaper in Colombia that has a six regional editions including one for Medellín, which does have some job ads. El Tiempo’s website classifieds also have some job ads in Medellín. Another newspaper in Medellín is El Colombiano, which also has some job ads. Also check out some websites like http://www.computrabajo.com.co and http://www.opcionempleo.co, which both have job listings in Medellín. I have a job in the US with location flexibility so I don’t know much about the job market in Medellín.
Just a side note if it was not mentioned in a previous blog – renting a furnished room for about $300,000 COP or about $150 is possible in Medellín if you are willing to live with a Colombian family (your Spanish will improve logarithmically) and you will have a more authentic view point of the Paisas, their culture, language and food 🙂
Yes,furnished apartments please and the distance from the airport and bus stations?
Hi John, my plan is to do a similar survey of furnished apartments in Medellín next month with the help of my girlfriend. The distances to airports and bus stations are easy to determine on Google maps.
Very helpful article for those of us contemplating a move to Medellin!
I am 46 single no kids. I get 1500 a mo. I like to come there.
please email me.thanks
Hi, i have been to Medellín a couple of times and stayed in the hotels but i want to come back and stay for a couple of months. I have looked on Airbnb and a few other sites and the prices seem high. Do you recommend coming to MedellÍn and looking in person to get better prices? Also i DJ in Australia, do you know how hard it is to get a gig in Medellin?
It is unlikely you will find a better price in-person. Make sure to look on all the sites listed in my furnished apartment rental post – http://medellinliving.com/furnished-apartment-rental-costs/.
Also you can look on the http://www.compartoapto.com/ site for renting just a room.
Nick Bowman is a British DJ and friend of the blog. He might be able to answer your question about the ease of finding DJ work in Medellín (or Colombia as a whole).
My two cents on apartment hunting is that if you speak Spanish fluently, you can find unadvertised opportunities by talking to the security guards (porterias) in the buildings that interest you. This boots-on-the-ground approach is how my roommate and I found our new apartment earlier this year.
Colombia is way behind the U.S. (and I’m guessing Australia) when it comes to online apartment listings, though some expat-owned companies like Casacol and Suite Medellin recognize the opportunity to fill that niche and are quickly getting more and more properties listed on their sites in English.
There are literally thousands of apartment buildings in Medellín and only hundreds of furnished apartments. The “boots-on-the-ground” approach works best to find unfurnished apartments for longer-term rentals since there are normally some unfurnished apartments available to rent in each of the larger apartment buildings.
Most apartment buildings in the city won’t have short-term furnished apartments for rent due to a law that it is legal to rent an apartment in Medellín short-term only if you are in a building where the by-laws specifically allow for short-term rentals. I understand that if this permission is not included in the building’s original by-laws, it can be added only with the approval of 70% of the homeowners. So many apartment buildings in the city don’t permit short-term rentals. For example, the building I am in doesn’t permit short-term rentals.
If you are looking for a furnished apartment, I would recommend using websites like http://www.theapartmentmedellin.com/, http://www.paradiserealtymedellin.com/, https://www.airbnb.com/, http://pobladorentals.com/, http://oasiscollections.com/medellin/, http://en.casacol.co/ and http://suitemedellin.com/. These websites list several hundred furnished apartments available to rent in the city. Most of the furnished apartments available in the city are listed on these websites and would be difficult to find by walking around. If you are looking to rent in a shared apartment, look at http://www.compartoapto.com/.
Good point Jeff, I was thinking of only unfurnished apartments.
Thanks for the quick reply and information guys, i will have a better look online at those websites. Thanks David re DJ work, i’m really interested in staying a while in Medellìn, so if i could get a gig that would be real handy. I’m guessing pay wouldn’t be that great though. I’m a little hesitant to stay out of Poblado, my Spanish is still a work in progress, so i’m still looking for places around there.
Hey there Jeff. I’m planning to spend the next two months in Medellin and I was offered apartments for rent through this website http://gotomedellin.com/, and I was wondering if anybody here could either vouch for the website or save me from a scam. I apologize, but it’ll be my first time in Colombia and I’m a bit afraid of unscrupulous people taking advantage of me. Thanks!
Hi Phillip, I am not aware of who is behind that site, which is pretty small. It may be legit but it only has five rentals listed and they are all expensive. With only five listed it is small compared to other furnished rental companies that I listed in my article on Medellín Living about Furnished Apartment Rental costs, see: http://www.medellinliving.com/furnished-apartment-rental-costs/. I personally would stick to the larger companies or Airbnb where you can see reviews. And you can find cheaper prices on other sites.
ffurnished rentals in Medellin??
can you give some info on grouphouses in Medellin? including meals?
do you know any 3 bedroom apt. in Medellin, unfurnished, about $500-600 usd?
usa #: 304-445-6501
Yes there are hundreds of them, which you can find on https://www.espaciourbano.com/. Note a 2015 update to this article will be published on this website later this week. Your best bet for less than $600 monthly rent is to look outside of ritzy El Poblado, in neighborhoods like Laureles, Envigado, Sabaneta or Belén. There are few 3-bedroom unfurnished apartments available in El Poblado for less than $600, the average is nearly $800 in El Poblado for 3-bedroom apartments based on our latest survey that will be published this week.
A few questions:
1 – I want to live in Laureles area for 6 months in an unfurnished apartment (my ideal situation). Is it possible to resell furniture to recover some cost of the furnishing? i.e. is there a good market for reselling a used bed and sofa?
2 – I noticed you bought a fridge, microwave and laundry machine. In the USA these are normally included in an unfurnished apartment (in my experience at least). So I’m assuming that these items are NOT included in unfurnished apartments in Medellin?
3 – How about renting a private room and bath in an existing household? Do you have any recommendations on how to find these types of accommodation and approximate price ranges. This might be a plan B for me.
I have read your parts 1 – 4 and the furnished apartment guides, all are excellent, in fact completely invaluable 🙂
Yes it is possible to resell furniture — I sometimes see ads in the paper and also posted on bulletin boards at some bus stops. Unfurnished apartment rentals in Medellín will almost never include a fridge, microwave or wash machine. To rent a room check out CompartoApto.com.
Thanks so much for your informative post. I, too, have a flexible US-based job that permits me to work outside of the states. If you don’t mind my asking, how have you navigated resident/visa status? What is your current status? As you know, Colombia doesn’t require a visa for American citizens spending less than 3 months in the country. Is it legal/feasible to lease an apartment in Colombia while not having a visa (and necessarily leaving the country every 3 months)?
Any guidance on this matter is greatly appreciated. Again, thanks!
I started out living in Medellín part-time and splitting my time between the U.S. and Colombia and only used tourist visas. You can extend tourist visas to a total of 180 days per year. I first rented an apartment with my passport but getting triple play service from Claro or UNE will be difficult without a local cedula ID, I had a Colombian friend set up services under his name to start with.
Well over three years ago I decided to study Spanish at EAFIT and I got two different full-year student visas that permitted me to live full-time in Colombia. I am now married to a Colombian so I have a marriage visa.