When it comes to city living, most people have a few priorities in mind: Easy access to all parts of the city through roads, public transportation, or even walking trails is usually high on the list, plenty of activities and entertainment, and a feeling of safety along with aesthetic beauty tends to complete the package.
Of course there are other things you’ll likely look for as well, like good weather, excellent healthcare, and affordability.
I recently found a city that meets all of these expectations and more: Medellín, Colombia. This city is just starting to hit the radar of international retirees…and for good reason.
The climate is comfortably spring-like all year round, making it easy to enjoy the beautiful outdoor surroundings. Every yard, greenbelt, and park is covered in lush foliage and filled with songbirds. You’ll find art galleries, museums, musical venues, and world cuisine scattered all throughout the major neighborhoods, yet Medellin still manages to keep its strong Colombian roots.
It’s a city that mixes European vibes with the famous Latin friendliness. And it’s a place where you can easily live on a budget. Public transportation is cheap and accessible, with city buses roaming throughout the various neighborhoods in tandem with a state-of-the-art gondola system that transports passengers to the upper hillside barrios (neighborhoods).
Produce is plentiful and grown locally, so often costs less than half of what you’d pay in North America. And without a need for heating or air conditioning, you’ll find your utility bills stay on the low end of double-digits.
But the best deal in Medellín right now is real estate. With the city only being newly discovered, the buying frenzy for real estate has not yet begun in earnest, which has kept housing prices from becoming inflated. But the biggest incentive right now is the exchange rate between the Colombian peso and the U.S. dollar.
The last eighteen months have seen the dollar rise dramatically in comparison to the peso and today is trading at over a 1:3300 ratio. This means that while real estate prices remain the same in terms of the peso, your dollar will go much further.
Imagine owning a newer three-bedroom condo in El Poblado, one of Medellín’s most coveted neighborhoods. Not only do you have sweeping views of the city all around, but you’ll be close to parks, nightlife, restaurants, and shopping malls. The average middle-class American would be priced out of such a residence in most U.S. cities, but here in Medellín this could be yours for under $130,000.
In the nearby town of Sabaneta you can find brand new high-rise condos for as little as $90,000 for a two-bedroom unit. For your money you’ll get close proximity to Medellín, but in a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle. You’ll also have access to a swimming pool, gym, and building security.
These examples are not a fluke. There are plenty of other good-value residences just like these for sale all over and around the city. You can even make money by renting your home out to others. There is a growing demand for rentals by foreigners and landlords, with desirable properties currently netting between 9% and 20% rental yields annually.
So if you’re in the market for life in a fabulous city, at a low price, Medellín should be at the top of your list.
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