My Answer To The Question: Is It Crazy To Buy Real Estate In Medellin, Colombia?

Like any other market, you make your money on the buy-side. So if you buy at a good price Colombia can produce fantastic returns. If you buy at an inflated price, not so much.

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I've been investing in Medellin since 2015, believe it or not, I actually had a remodeling show on local TV here called Vida en Remodelacion (check it out)…very few people have more boots on the ground experience. 

there's far less risk in the Colombian market than the US market.

How to make your money with Real Estate In Medellin

Like any other market, you make your money on the buy-side. So if you buy at a good price Colombia can produce fantastic returns. If you buy at an inflated price, not so much.

I assume your people tell you “you're crazy” because of the perceived risk. Ironically, I'd guess most of these people have never left the US, let alone been to Colombia ;).

But as real estate investors, it's our job to see things analytically and not emotionally. We need to be able to cut through the BS and fear-mongering and look at facts and data.

Real Estate Investing In Columbia Means Less Risk

And when you analyze the data it becomes obvious, there's far less risk in the Colombian market than the US market.

As an example: Let's consider the main component of risk in a RE market…excessive credit. In the US roughly 45% of Americans have a mortgage.

In Colombia, it's about 3%.  All things equal, which market has more downside risk?

Property Rights

Then there are property rights. In the US, you never own your home completely. Don't believe me?

Try not paying your property taxes for a couple of years.

Colombia does have property taxes but the non-payment policies are far less draconian.

Think about this.

South American countries have long struggles with inflation. This means it's really a bad idea to hold cash or bonds, so the “savings account” for most South Americans is real estate.

This is one reason most of it is owned outright and is almost an untouchable sacred cow for greedy politicians.

I could go on and on, and I'm NOT saying there's no risk in Colombia, or Medellin specifically, I am saying the downside is far less when compared to a market like the US, Canada or Australia.

Is Medellin in a Real Estate Bubble?

Regarding Medellin being in a bubble. I hear this often, but it's a feeling that doesn't hold up well under scrutiny.

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Other than prices rising at 4%-%5 (adjusted for inflation) over the past 12 years, what data suggests a bubble?

How does a bubble exist if 90% of the properties are owned outright?

In order for a crash to occur, there must be a forced selling (people not able to pay their mortgage), with no mortgage what forces them to sell?

Next, look at Medellin compared to every other major market in South America, or the world, it's extraordinarily cheap on a price per sq meter basis.

I could go on but let me add this, which is the most important point. As I said earlier, you make your money on the buy side, so if you buy right, bubble/no bubble isn't relevant.

Example: If you bought in the US in 2007 at 1998 prices would it matter?

If you can buy under the cost of construction, in a great area, does the price of “the market” matter?

And my point is Colombia is such an inefficient market (no MLS) you can still buy for 2002 Colombia prices.

I just bought a 187 sq meter penthouse in a Medellin neighborhood called Alejandría. It's in the heart of Poblado, one of the nicest areas in all Colombia.

I paid 115k USD. That's $615 dollars per sq meter or about $60 dollars a sq ft, well under the cost of construction. 

I'll be able to rent this for $3000 a month or make a 40% return on a flip (without using leverage,). You just can't get deals like that in more efficient markets like the US, Australia, and Canada.

Buying Real Estate In Medellin – the takeaways are:

  1. You're not crazy
  2. Colombia is very safe and stable when you look at the data
  3. Medellin isn't in a bubble based on any metric other than feelings, and if you buy right, you'll make money 9/10 times regardless of market conditions.

I hope that helped! And if anyone has any more questions regarding South America, Medellin specifically, international investing (I've been to over 40 countries and looked at RE, or the US please don't hesitate to message me…

George.

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Clayton
Clayton
24 days ago

I have made a lot of money in U.S. real estate over the years. For many reasons, I believe that returns in both commercial and residential U.S. real estate are going to suck going forward. I have sold everything except my vacation home in rural north Florida, where I’m now living. I have some cash in Mexican banks in pesos, and some in Costa Rican banks in colones. Most is in Panama in dollars, and I think the dollar will eventually fall because of what the Fed is doing, so I’m squirming. Better it’s there than U.S. banks, but I’m… Read more »

Adriana Gutierrez
Adriana Gutierrez
23 days ago
Reply to  Clayton

The katest edict has Colombia borders shut to international travel until September 1.

Clayton
Clayton
23 days ago

Thank you.