The chatter contradicts the news.
Medellín wins 2012 City of the Year.
I’m looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Laureles, but I don’t want to pay 1 million pesos ($520). No gringo prices!
U.S. real estate mogul Sam Zell says Colombia is the best place to invest in Latin America.
No gringo prices!
This story is going to explain some things, to tell all of you new expats how things really are here, something apparently necessary, like a post I did before about how to truly appreciate the culture here. Yes, Medellín is still economical compared to trendy parts of Australia, Europe and the United States, but prices have gone up.
The two headlines I shared are only half of the major accolades.
Did you see that Yahoo! Finance said Medellín is the best place to retire in the world outside of the United States? Or that Martha Stewart came here in March and took hundreds of photos and wrote three posts for her blog, all of it glowing reviews of this beautiful city? And I hope you know about Anthony Bourdain’s repeated trips to Colombia.
This is basic economics. Demand and taste will drive the market in any capitalistic environment.
Look at Southwest Florida.
An argument can be made that it was the epicenter of the housing boom, and bust. When I got there in 2002, you could buy a lot in Lehigh Acres for $30,000, house included. By 2005, that same place cost $300,000.
The place got popular and people drove up the market.
When I got to Medellín in 2011, you could find a nice one-bedroom apartment in Laureles for less than a million pesos, probably furnished, sometimes including cable, Internet and all utilities. Those days are over.
Paisas are smart. They understand the market. And while some of them will try to raise prices for foreigners, most of them will not.
That happens much more frequently on the coast, but not here.
The thing is, if you want to live by yourself in a nice furnished apartment that includes everything, in a neighborhood like Laureles, you’re going to pay anywhere from 1.4 to 1.6 million pesos ($740 – $845) per month.
My Australian friend lives in Estadio, in a one-bedroom place that includes everything, and he pays 1.4 million pesos.
He got it through a guy who helps find tenants for the apartment owner, which means the guy who found the apartment surely made a commission. But I know this: getting an apartment through one of the real estate companies, instead of someone who works alone, will cost more, sometimes up to 400,000 pesos ($210) more per month. And good luck with all the paperwork if you don’t speak Spanish.
If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, you have to share a house or apartment, which can be ideal. Dave found a great situation in Poblado where he paid 600,000 a month ($315), 700,000 when you include shared expenses: nice place, cool roommates, good location.
But do you always get all three amenities? No.
A British friend of mine had a nice place in a good location, for 600,000 a month, but eventually he didn’t get along with his roommates.
All I’m saying is, refrain from being accusatory until you’ve done your research. It’s disrespectful to the paisas who are honest, which I think is a super majority.
If you love Medellín so much, so do other foreigners. Just look around. There are a lot of expats here. They know about the agreeable climate, friendly people and seemingly limitless entertainment options, from day trips to nearby pueblos to nature hikes to nightlife.
The influx of foreigners is going to drive up prices in the popular neighborhoods.
The trick is finding a situation like mine: I have everything Dave had, but I pay half as much.
One of my roommates is the first friend I ever made here, and the house belongs to his uncle, and I’m the only foreigner in the neighborhood.
What’s that? You want to know which neighborhood?
I’ll never tell.
The original headline read, “Medellín’s Meteoric Rise in Housing Prices,” but was changed because it was too strong an adjective to describe the city’s real estate market.