4 Inexpensive Neighborhoods for Apartment Rentals in Medellín

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Apartment buildings next to Parque Floresta in La América
Apartment buildings next to Parque Floresta in La América

Since I have lived in Medellín for over three years, and I have lived in five different barrios in the city, I have often been asked about the 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: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

I already looked at the unfurnished apartment rental costs in the four most popular neighborhoods in Medellín for foreigners (El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio, Envigado, Belén) as well as Sabaneta, which has seen a boom in newly built apartments.

This post looks at four relatively inexpensive neighborhoods (La EstrellaItagüí, La América and La Candelaria) where the rental costs of unfurnished apartments can be 32 to 38 percent less expensive than in ritzy El Poblado.

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Each of these neighborhoods was also chosen for being near to metro stations to enable easy access to Medellín’s metro system.

For this survey, we only looked in nicer neighborhoods where foreigners are more likely to live, so we only included apartments in Estrato 3, 4 and 5 areas.

Only about 22 percent of the apartments we surveyed were in Estrato 3 neighborhoods; the majority surveyed were in Estrato 4 and 5.

Note that I also reviewed the rental costs in the five communities I previously looked at back in October of last year and found that rental prices in terms of pesos have not really changed on average.

But the exchange rate has changed dramatically for the U.S. dollar and is about 30 percent better than in October of last year, which makes apartments in the neighborhoods previously looked at much cheaper in terms of U.S. dollars.

(Note: using 2,688 Colombian pesos to the USD exchange rate in this post. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and has been above 2,500 pesos to the USD only since the beginning of March, which is the first period it has been this high in over five years.)

Homes in La Estrella (photo: David Lee)
La Estrella

La Estrella Apartments

La Estrella is located west of Sabaneta on the west side of the Medellín River. La Estrella is more affordable than both Envigado and Sabaneta. The end of the line on the metro going south is the La Estrella station.

La Estrella is more of a working-class community with over 86 percent of the households living in Estrato 2 or 3 neighborhoods with 5 percent in Estrato 4 and 7 percent in Estrato 1.

Average apartment rental costs in La Estrella
Average apartment rental costs in La Estrella

La Estrella survey of 50 apartment rentals results:

  • 3 of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 35 to 55 square meters with rents ranging from 400,000 to 500,000 pesos per month.
  • 10 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 45 to 68 square meters with rents ranging from 550,000 to 900,000 pesos per month.
  • 37 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 60 to 180 square meters with rents ranging from 600,000 to 1.7 million pesos per month.
  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 50 apartments in La Estrella was 11,634 pesos per month per square meter, which means La Estrella apartment rentals are 38.2 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similarly sized apartments.
  • Only 17 of the 50 apartments in La Estrella did not have hot water, and none had electric hot water in the shower(s).
  • Only 12 of the 50 apartments surveyed in La Estrella didn’t have a 24/7 porteria (doorman).
Parque Itagüí photo: David Lee)
Parque Itagüí

Itagüí Apartments

Itagüí is located west of Envigado and Sabaneta on the west side of the Medellín river. Itagüí is more affordable than both Envigado and Sabaneta.

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There are three metro stations along the border of Itagüí with Envigado and Sabaneta, but most housing in Itagüí is not within easy walking distance of the metro so a short bus ride or taxi would be needed.

Itagüí is more of a working-class community with 91 percent of the households living in Estrato 2 or 3 neighborhoods with 3 percent in Estrato 4 and 6 percent in Estrato 1.

Average apartment rental costs in Itagüí
Average apartment rental costs in Itagüí

Itagüí survey of 50 apartment rentals results:

  • 2 of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 30 to 45 square meters with rents ranging from 454,000 to 600,000 pesos per month.
  • 12 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 43 to 67 square meters with rents ranging from 500,000 to 1.2 million pesos per month.
  • 36 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 53 to 110 square meters with rents ranging from 690,000 to 1.3 million pesos per month.
  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 50 apartments in Itagüí was 12,839 pesos per month per square meter, which means Itagüí apartment rentals are 31.8 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similarly sized apartments.
  • Only 13 of the 50 apartments in Itagüí did not have hot water, and none had electric hot water in the shower(s).
  • Only 8 of the 50 apartments surveyed in Itagüí didn’t have a 24/7 porteria (doorman).
Apartment buildings next to Parque Floresta in La América
Apartment buildings next to Parque Floresta in La América

La América Apartments

La América is an underrated community in Medellín, which is located just west of Laureles/Estadio. La América has a population of over 95,000, which makes it about 78 percent the size of Laureles/Estadio.

Like Laureles/Estadio, La América is primarily a residential neighborhood with many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.

La América is mainly an Estrato 3-to-5 neighborhood, with 98 percent of the households rated at Estrato 3, 4 or 5. Only 2 percent are rated Estrato 2 and none Estrato 1 or 6.

Average apartment rental costs in La América
Average apartment rental costs in La América

La América survey of 50 apartment rentals results:

  • 15 of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 30 to 62 square meters with rents ranging from 450,000 to 800,000 pesos per month.
  • 14 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 44 to 90 square meters with rents ranging from 520,000 to 1.1 million pesos per month.
  • 21 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 52 to 140 square meters with rents ranging from 650,000 to 1.4 million pesos per month.
  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 50 apartments in La América was 12,732 pesos per month per square meter, which means La América apartment rentals are 32.4 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similarly sized apartments.
  • Only 11 of the 50 apartments in La América did not have hot water, and four had electric hot water in the shower(s).
  • 27 of the 50 apartments surveyed in La América didn’t have a 24/7 porteria (doorman).
Apartment buildings on Av. La Playa in La Candelaria
Apartment buildings on Av. La Playa in La Candelaria

La Candelaria (El Centro) Apartments

The center of Medellin, known formally as La Candelaria, or informally as El Centro, has a rough reputation but also hidden gems that make this neighborhood one that should not be overlooked when looking for a place to live.

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There are a number of high-rise apartment buildings in La Candelaria with terrific views of the city.

People do indeed live in La Candelaria. It is easily accessible to everything in the city. There are plenty of bars and restaurants and shops, plus the rent is pretty cheap.

I know several foreigners that live in La Candelaria for the low-cost of living and central location.

During the day, it is a hustling, bustling mass of humanity that is amazing to witness.

However, the population dramatically decreases after dark, leaving the streets pretty empty, except for some suspect people. So be careful at night and take taxis.

La Candelaria is primarily an Estrato 3-to-5 neighborhood, with 93 percent of the households rated at Estrato 3, 4 or 5. Only 7 percent are rated Estrato 2 and none Estrato 1 or 6.

Average apartment rental costs in La Candelaria
Average apartment rental costs in La Candelaria

La Candelaria survey of 50 apartment rentals results:

  • 14 of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 30 to 46 square meters with rents ranging from 450,000 to 650,000 pesos per month.
  • 23 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 40 to 85 square meters with rents ranging from 480,000 to 900,000 pesos per month.
  • 13 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 52 to 127 square meters with rents ranging from 650,000 to 1.1 million pesos per month.
  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 50 apartments in La Candelaria was 12,056 pesos per month per square meter, which means La Candelaria apartment rentals are 36.0 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similarly sized apartments.
  • Only 19 of the 50 apartments in La Candelaria did not have hot water, and six had electric hot water in the shower(s).
  • Only 11 of the 50 apartments surveyed in La Candelaria didn’t have a 24/7 porteria (doorman).

The Bottom Line

We suspect that many foreigners may be looking to find a much cheaper area of Medellín to live than upscale El Poblado.

We have now looked at unfurnished apartment rental costs across nine comunas and suburbs in the Medellín valley.

The following table summarizes these areas with the average rental costs per square meter we encountered during our surveys as well as comparing to El Poblado:

Average rental cost per square meter for unfurnished apartments
Average rental cost per square meter for Unfurnished Apartments

Ultimately, unfurnished apartment rental costs are the highest in El Poblado, and you can save substantially by living in other neighborhoods within the Medellín metropolitan area.

This post looked at the apartment rental costs in four inexpensive areas and demonstrated that it is possible to save an average of 32 to 38 percent by living in La Estrella, Itagüí, La América or La Candelaria instead of living in a similar sized apartment in El Poblado.

If you are looking to rent an unfurnished apartment in Medellín, I recommend reading my post that includes lessons learned over the past three plus years found here.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks! This is very useful data. I wasn’t aware that apartment rentals in some of these neighborhoods in Medellín are so much cheaper than El Poblado.

  2. Jeff,
    Your articles are always packed with useful and enlightening information. El Poblado is only a small part of Medellin and does not represent the real middle and working class areas like Belen, La America, Itagui, etc. Your written word really opens-up many of the City’s positive features. On a side note, would you be willing to do an article about US or Multinational Corporations willing to hire Americans that would relocate to Medellin? Maybe work remotely from Colombia, but get paid in US Dollars? If I could make just half of what I get paid now working in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t hesitate in moving back to Medellin.
    Thanks again for a wonderful article.
    John T. ( A Paisa living in LA.)

      • hello jeff. i coukd use some help here. i have traveled many countries and have found this to be a very beautiful but hard place to find real help here.i am in medellin
        looking for a small apartment fir my wife and myself and our 3 yo son.
        ill send my e mail it would be nice to sit and talk to someone.

  3. Thank you for this information. This is exactly the type of information I was looking for as I am getting close to my time to retire in Medellin. I love your site and the amount of information you give to us!

  4. Jeff, Thanks for all the info. I am seriously thinking about moving to Medellin. I may have a work opportunity. I would be interested in a furnished apartment for quite a while until I get more familiar & established. But I would want to know more about shipping some small personal things that I feel are important and wouldn’t want to replace. What is the best/cheapest way to ship things I want to have there with me?
    I’m so glad I subscribed to your newsletter.
    Judith

    • Hi Judith,

      It is a good idea to start out with a furnished place, that is what I did for about my first 4 months living in Medellín. Furnished apartment costs are documented in this post – http://medellinliving.com/furnished-apartment-rental-costs/ and it is also possible to find furnished rooms for rent.

      The only shipping I have done has been using Mail Boxes Etc., which is documented here – http://medellinliving.com/mail-boxes-etc-receive-mail-packages/. I suggest bringing personal items in checked baggage as it will likely be cheaper than shipping and you will avoid taxes. The items I have shipped have been primarily purchased from Amazon and required an invoice so that taxes can be calculated. So if you ship items you will need to include some type of invoice.

  5. The article is interesting, but not very useful for expats that are required to have 2 to 3 co-signors…. which are home owners outright… etc etc. I would have been interested in seeing more about what are REALISTIC options for expats…rather than the going rate for Colombians. many thanks!

    • It is very possible to rent without a cosigner (fiador) in Medellín. I have rented without a cosigner (fiador) with 5 leases for 6 or 12 months each in three different apartments, for a total time of over 4 years in Medellín. I can rent unfurnished apartments at the going rate for Colombians in any neighborhood in the city. Overcoming the fiador requirement was covered in this post – http://medellinliving.com/apartment-rental-guide-fiador/ and this post http://medellinliving.com/apartment-rental-guide-utilities-furniture/ with my experiences. For each lease I had a signed lease contract that was notarized to protect me since I paid in advance. I have avoided the need for a cosigner (fiador) by paying in advance. You can also rent directly from an owner instead of using a real estate agent to avoid the fiador requirement – but if you rent from an owner, I recommend getting a signed and notarized lease contract.

      • Sounds good… perhaps referencing that detail would have been super helpful. I will check out your previous blogs. thanks1

  6. Hi Jeff,

    I have read your articles on finding rental accommodation in Medellin with great interest. I live in Colombia, and have in the past rented an apartment in Medellin with the help of a Colombian friend as my fiador. I now own a casa/finca and am in the process of marrying my Colombian novia, so I think that I won’t need a fiador for the apartment that we are looking to rent together in the city.

    I am writing to you to ask if you would mind giving me the name and contact details of your real estate agent. She works and I don’t live full time in Medellin, so we need some professional help with our search.

    Your articles on real estate in Medellin, and your experiences with the market, are most informative. Thanks for sharing them,

    Clint

  7. Thanks for this info. I know it took time to compile it but for some of us, it’s greatly appreciated. Overall this is a very good site with lots of helpful info. Thanks guys!

  8. smh when I see an okay 2 br apartment listed on espaciourbano NOT in poblado for 1,500,000 and calentador agua = ‘no tiene’ lol. Is the water really warm enough for a shower?

    • If you are used to a water heater, and calentador agua = ‘no tiene’ – the water is likely too cold for most, so no the water is not warm enough for a shower for those accustomed to hot water for showers. In the past when I moved to a new apartment in Medellín that never had gas services connected it took a few days for gas to be connected by EPM so I had to take some cold showers, which wasn’t fun. Even in Cartagena where it is hot, for me it was unpleasant the one time I rented an apartment without hot water for showers.

  9. Another great and helpful review. The Only thing I miss here is some opinion of the lifestyle and the pro and cons of every of those four Neighborhoods I am not familiar with

  10. Hi Jeff:

    I’m a Brit Expat (retired) looking for a very small furnished “Studio” Apt in Medellin – in an average safe and nice area! Can you help? I can pay up to $US 300 a month!

  11. Hola, Jeff,
    Great website, really answered so many questions I have; as I too am thinking very seriously about moving to Medellin .! appreciated your suggestion of staying in a furnished apartment versus an unfurnished one,(initially) even though I am planning this move to be permanent,. Please send me the name and contact information of your real estate agent down there as the plan is to make the first trip of two down there in September ’17 and I”ll be ready to rent. Everything I see and here about Medellin is so positive and the countryside is really beautiful
    Thanks again, and if you’re around when I come down I’ll buy you a beer!
    Tom Stepp
    Houston, Texas

  12. Hi, again, Jeff,
    Could you please send me info for a reasonable priced hotel near the airport and/or the La Estralia section of town? Keeping a budget in mind of around $500 per month or less per month for rent I would like to be close to research those properties.
    Thanks again!
    Tom Stepp

  13. Hello Sir,
    Hopefully you can assist me in location a rental property on 1/2 acre of land with a cottage or house located at the end of a metro line with a cost of $225 USD. Possibly I will be arriving in Medillin in two weeks…

    Thank You
    Michael

  14. I have COPD and use portable and home oxygen concentrators. I understand that Medellin is one of the most polluted cities in Colombia and being in the central part of the city is the worse. But the climate is perfect for me year round and would like your comment on the air pollution and any advice, thank you.