Why we hate gated communities…or do we?

March 25, 2014
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

“No gringo communities for me… I’m going to be part of the local culture.”

“I’m not the gated community type of person…”

Every year, I speak with hundreds of potential expats at events, and I get thousands of emails from people considering moving abroad. Most say that they would never consider living in a gated community overseas…especially an expat-oriented one.

Their arguments are good ones…and almost always the same. Because when we consider moving abroad, much of the appeal has nothing to do with practical issues…the allure of overseas living has more to do with adventure, excitement, and a rich cultural experience.

And the best way to get that experience is to be part of the local culture…not part of a North American enclave.

So the vast majority of potential expats—probably over 90%—say the same thing: they would not consider a planned community favored by North Americans.

But then a strange thing happens. Of the people who actually buy overseas, the vast majority—in this case perhaps 85%—actually end up buying in some sort of planned community in either a gated community or condo project. And there are good reasons for this, too.

Letters To The Editor
Nice article … I did notice that your conversions to Colombian pesos are off-base by a factor of 100; where you write 1.6 million pesos, it should really be 160 million pesos.


Lawrence is correct. Most people unfamiliar with the Colombian market find it mind-boggling to work with properties valued in hundreds of millions of pesos…including our editor who was trying to streamline the article. The dollar conversions, however, were correct.

Hey, Lee,
I know that agriculture is right at the top of today’s overseas property investments. But you guys seem to forget that agriculture investing is more easily said than done. Should I just fly to South America, rent a car, and look for sale signs?


To be sure, many people do exactly that…they pick a country, fly there, and stay until they find what they want. It works. But you need the time, expertise, and language skills—or the assistance of someone who has them—to take that approach.

Far more investors participate by investing in an agro-project that makes sense to them with respect to product, rate of return, security, and currency. My favorite right now is the Lady Victoria mango project offered by Simply Natural Investments.

The demand is good, given that the mango is the second most-consumed fruit in the world, while available land to grow it on is shrinking. The rate of return is over 16%, while the investment level is modest at US$33,500 per hectare (2.5 acres); far less than a viable land purchase would cost you. And since you get title to the land, you’ve got a hard asset to back it up. Follow this link to request a free brochure on the mango deal.

Cali is one of the 10 highest crime cities in the world.  And it’s had a lousy city administration for at least 20 years. No wonder the real estate is cheap.


Overall crime rates in Cali are high, thanks to a handful of dangerous sectors. Of Cali’s 22 comunas, seven sectors are dangerous, six are fairly safe, and the remaining nine fall somewhere in between. My own neighborhoods of interest (and all of the property examples I’m using) fall in the safest areas.

See the map below, which I compiled using last year’s crime statistics. The neighborhoods in all of my articles fall within comunas 1, 2, 3, and 22. But like any big city, keep your wits about you no matter how safe you (or I) think the sector is.

With just one apartment per  floor, every room has a view