Search Results for: panama

Cheaper Than Ecuador? Colombian Properties Are A Better Value Than Ever

Medellin, Colombia
Plus: “Should I Believe You… Or Panama Letter?”

Jan. 20, 2015
Montevideo, Uruguay

US$1=2,384 Colombian pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert reader,

Colombia continues to command a lot of interest among potential overseas property buyers, investors, and expats. The inexpensive properties and high quality of life are a big draw.

But what really surprised me this week is that on a cost-per-square-meter basis, Medellin is now cheaper than Cuenca, Ecuador, which for years has set the standard for low-cost real estate.

This latest price drop in Medellin is due to the current power of the U.S. dollar, so it may not last forever. But for now, North Americans are buying premium properties in Colombia in record numbers.

Where are the best values (low-cost, high-value lifestyle) to be found these days?

Let’s take a closer look at three of Colombia’s top markets. One is a well-known, world-class brand… one has recently been discovered and is now starting to receive mainstream attention… and one is still adrift in the backwaters, getting attention from only the extreme leading-edge buyers and expats.

The Branded City: Through Good Times And Lean, Cartagena Never Loses Ground

Cartagena is known the world over as one of the finest Spanish colonial cities in the Americas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s one of the world’s few remaining walled cities. …

A South American “San Francisco” On Chile’s Central Coast

The views from the hills of Valparaíso are unbeatable
Plus: “Let’s Hear More On Some US$50K Properties!”

Jan. 6, 2015
Valparaíso, Chile

US$1=614 Chilean pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

I’m writing again this week from the coast of Chile. The early summer, Pacific-moderated temperatures are just about perfect, as they were two weeks ago when I wrote from nearby Viña del Mar.

But Valparaíso, while just a few minutes away, is nothing like Viña del Mar. This is a full-scale, working city and one of Chile’s largest seaports. A city where people actually live and work all year.

Two aspects of Valparaíso (pronounced val-para-EE-so) will remind you of San Francisco, California.

One is the hills, which can be dramatically steep depending on where you are. But remember (as you envision climbing them) that hills equate to views, which is good for the property-buyer, especially when you’re overlooking the ocean (in this case, a seaport).

Also reminiscent of San Francisco are the cable cars (actually funicular railways), locally called ascensores, which translates to “elevators” in English. Of the 26 functioning ascensores, eight are currently in service. At first I thought that only the laziest of couch potatoes would use these things, but it only took me about a half-day of climbing the hills to appreciate the value of the ascensores. …

One Piece Of Sound Advice For The Property Buyer

One Piece Of Sound Advice For The Property Buyer
Plus: “What Is Lee Harrison Smokin’?”

I bought my first overseas property almost 14 years ago. Since then, properties have financed a good portion of my retirement. They also make up more than half of my income.

Perhaps more importantly, I’ve also been able to live in some fascinating and enjoyable places along the way.

I developed and honed my property-buying skills over those 14 years while spending literally tens of thousands of dollars in travel costs.

I worked with some great real estate agents…as well as some crooks and scammers. Most didn’t speak English.

Eventually, it worked. I’m good at this now.

While my means of getting there is not for the faint of heart, it’s definitely one approach you can take.

But let me to give you some sound advice. There’s a better way to go about it.

And it deserves very serious consideration for anyone who’s considering buying a property abroad or who wants to see what their options are, quickly and efficiently.

Join me at the Global Property Summit, March 18–20, 2015, in Panama City.

Let me spare you the sales pitch and get to the point. …

Market Update For Barcelona: Spain’s Premier Destination

The Ramblas de Pouble Nou, leading down to the seafront, are lined by apartments sought after by tourists
Plus: Scouting Almuñécar, Spain | Looking For Four Seasons

Barcelona is a dream location, not just for the 1.6 million locals but clearly for the tourists and business visitors who flock there by the millions each year.

Property prices are perking up, and property investors’ attention is refocusing on Spain. As you’ll see, now is a good time to buy property in Barcelona. But for the income investor seeking the high yields of short-term leases, you’ve got some new emerging challenges.

Catalonia’s Sparkling Gem Is On The Move

Barcelona has many well-known attractions such as its exquisite Modernist architecture, the Gothic Old Town, galleries, monuments, theaters, restaurants, and shopping…not to mention 4.5 kilometers of great beaches and boardwalks overlooking the Mediterranean coast.

Capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona is within two hours’ drive of France and a short flight or boat journey to the rest of Europe.

The climate is “easy”—45ºF to 80ºF—with blue skies for most of the year…so you can get out and enjoy everything about the city without fighting the elements, just about every day of the year. No question, it’s a lively, buzzing, cosmopolitan, thrilling place to visit and live in.

No question, it’s a lively, buzzing, cosmopolitan, thrilling place to visit and live in. …

Bargain Deals In Spain’s Energetic Capital

Great food, art, and architecture: An energy second to none
Plus: Headed To Argentina

There’s something unique about Madrid. If you were to read about the Spanish capital, you might think it was its fascinating architecture—a glorious mix of medieval mansions, glistening palaces, and daring contemporary Spanish structures. But that’s not it.

Nor is it Madrid’s artistic pedigree that lays claim to be its biggest unique selling point, despite the fact that native masters from Goya to Velázquez left an enviable trail of art, complimented by the works of Italian and Flemish artists who also once called Madrid home.

Could it be the food? Madrid has long been one of Europe’s culinary capitals…but of late, they’ve cranked it up yet another notch. Spain’s most populous city is right at the heart of the country’s gastronomic revolution—a movement that is seeing new levels of creativity and invention fired into its cuisine.

But even the food scene here is just a part of what really makes Madrid special.

What really sets it apart is its unceasing, unrivaled energy.

An Energetic City With A Diverse Market

This is a city with a pulse. Walk through Madrid’s streets, sit in its cafes, or even gaze through a window at its eclectic mix of new and old buildings that make up the city’s skyline and you can almost feel the life force of this unique place. It’s infectious. And the driving concept, the fuel that pushes its inhabitants forward is this: Madrid’s people don’t want to exist. They want to live…and live well.

I’ve been closely watching Spain’s real estate market for some time now. Follow the links to read my previous articles on the Spanish market overview and also the island of Majorca. In short, the Iberian nation represents an extremely promising place in which to buy property. …

Exchange Rates Cut Both Ways For The Property Buyer

overseas property alert

Plus: “You people are nuts… I’m going to look into getting you shut down.”

You hear a lot about currency risk in the world of overseas property investment. In fact, we often mention here that your property’s price—or your rental income—will vary with current exchange rates.

But there’s more to the issue than meets the eye when it comes to foreign exchange rates.

I thought I understood the concepts of currency exchange rates when I first started buying property abroad. But the reality of what they can do only hit home when I experienced a dramatic rise in my cost of living in Uruguay…and a windfall profit when I sold my house in Brazil.

My property taxes in Uruguay went from US$800 to US$1,470 per year, thanks to a weakening dollar. In Brazil, a strengthening U.S. dollar lowered the price of the beachfront house I was buying to around US$62,000…and then just eight months later, a weakening dollar raised the sales price on that same house to about US$110,000.

It was only then that I understood, first hand, the impact of exchange rates on my personal finances.

For this discussion, I’ll assume your base currency is the U.S. dollar, so everything here will be expressed in dollar terms. But the same principle will apply no matter what your base currency is.

Exchange Rates Will Affect More Than Just The Purchase Price

When buying a property in a foreign currency, we all know that the local currency’s exchange rate will affect the sales price in dollar terms.

For example, a house costing 100,000 euros will cost US$133,000 at an exchange rate of US$1.33 per euro and only US$120,000 at US$1.20 per euro.

Generally, a weakening dollar is best for someone who already holds a property that will sell in a foreign currency. …

Return Of The Iberian Giant—Spain Poised For Recovery

Calle Las Huertas

Plus: Long-term Rentals In Cuenca | More On The Nicaragua Canal

After the death of dictator General Franco in 1975, Spain quickly rose to become the number one destination of choice for Europe’s sun-seeking vacationers and expats.

From flamenco to fiestas, Spain is one of the most culturally rich nations in Europe. Its language, food, dance, and traditions survive in various forms in the nations that once made up its colonial empire, but there’s something special about experiencing the Spanish lifestyle in the mother country.

Spanish food is surprisingly varied depending on what part of the country you visit. However, you can expect to experience things like high-quality, simply-prepared seafood, mouth-watering cured meats and treasured Spanish traditions like tapas, paella and Spanish tortilla all over.

And don’t forget—the Spanish are old pros at turning out superb wine.

Then there are the enchanting country towns…bustling modern cities…and fabled beach-side resorts. And you get to enjoy all this while bathed in Mediterranean sunshine. …

Xalapa: Elegant, Non-Gringo Mexico Starting At US$38,000

This Xalapa house, for US$147,000, is a contemporary artist's dream

Plus: Awaiting The Collapse Of The Dollar

Since my first visit to Mexico’s Xalapa in 1998, it’s been one of my top choices in Latin America and my favorite in Mexico.

The city is an extremely rare blend in Mexico of modern conveniences: a rich, traditional, and educated Mexican culture and the energy and spark of a university town, without the cultural influence of American expats.

And you can own a property here in Xalapa starting at less than US$38,000.

Xalapa (pronounced hah-LAH-pah) is a fairly big city, with about a half-million residents in the town proper and more than 800,000 in its metro area. Also spelled Jalapa, it’s a town of rolling hills, with an elevation that runs between 4,300 and 4,800 feet (about 1,300 to 1,450 meters), depending on where you are in town.

The hills around town provide for some great views from the properties here. And the elevation provides for pleasant temperatures that average about 15 degrees cooler than the nearby Gulf Coast, some 35 miles away as the crow flies.

The average daytime high varies between 72 and 82 degrees, with January being the “coldest” month and May the warmest. Most rainfall occurs between May and October. June and September are the wettest months, while December through March are the driest. There is sufficient rainfall to keep the town and surrounding area green and lush. Morning fog is common in the winter.

Capital of the state of Veracruz, Xalapa is home to about two dozen universities, the most prominent of which is the Universidad de Veracruz. As anywhere, the large presence of intelligent young people gives the city a youthful, vibrant energy. You may well decide to buy a full- or part-time retirement home here, but don’t expect the feel of a retirement community. If you’d like to get a feel for what it looks like, have a look at this two-minute video of Xalapa put out by the city. …

Own A Private Island Starting At US$78,000

las isletas

Islands in Las Isletas are priced in U.S. dollars

The idea of buying any property abroad is exciting. But it’s hard to think of anything more exotic than owning your own private tropical island. The sense of being on your own—and the feeling that you really own your own piece of the earth—is unlike any other.

For centuries, owning a private island has been the dream of the rich and famous. And in most of the world today, owning a tropical island is indeed prohibitively expensive for most of us.

Yet there’s one place left in the Americas where you can still own a private tropical island for less than …

Four investment options in this expanding market

US$1=1,904 Colombian pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert reader,

Capital gains of 10%…rental income of another 6%…and developer co-investment returns of up to 22% annually. These are the numbers that caught my attention for this property in Bogota.

Let me give you the details.

Colombia is the third largest economy in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. It’s one of the few countries in the world that sustained positive economic growth during the Great Recession, with a forecast GDP growth of 5% this year—better than the United States, UK, Europe, Mexico, or Brazil. Inflation is at a record-setting low: just 2.19% for 2013.

Significantly, Colombia has a rapidly expanding middle class—probably the most important macro element of any market you’re considering investing in. The number of people in Colombia’s middle class jumped 56.1% between 2002 and 2012, and is forecast to rise another 83% during the next 11 years, through 2025.

So Colombia offers the investor a growing economy with an expanding middle class.

Bogota is the growth engine of Colombia
Bogota alone contributes a huge 24.5% of Colombia’s total GDP, yet still maintained its own GDP growth rate of 4.1%.

International attention continues to focus on Bogota. In fact, the number of multinational corporations in Bogota went from 492 to 1,423 in the 10 years through 2012. That’s a 289% increase.