Coloonial Style Buildings in the Coastal City of Olinda Brazil

3 Top Coastal Colonial Cities Offering Fun, Sun, And Property

Three Top-Rated Colonial Cities By The Sea

Most of us think of colonial cities as being situated in the highlands… not on the ocean. In fact, when we talk about various lifestyles in Latin America, we often discuss colonial city living and the beach lifestyle as if it were necessary to choose between the two.

But the truth is that you can have both. That is, there are a number of colonial cities on the water that offer an excellent expat lifestyle; not to mention the advantage of two property markets.

Here are three of my favorite colonial cities by the sea in Latin America…

Olinda, Brazil: An Early Portuguese Colonial Gem

Traveling down the coast of Northeast Brazil, it’s common to see gleaming resort cities, long stretches of sandy beaches, and beautiful small beach towns and fishing villages.

What I didn’t expect was Continue reading

Viña del mar, Chile

How Chile’s Accord With China Is A Big Win For Viña Del Mar

Why Chile-China Ties Will Cause A Viña Del Mar Property Boom
Plus: “Can I Double My Money Using Exchange Rates?”

Prediction: Chile will soon see big dividends paid to its #1 tourist destination thanks to its standing as China’s closest Latin American ally. –L.H.

For many countries 2016 was a disappointing year. Generally speaking, a number of stable democracies showed real signs of instability and uncertainty for the first time in decades.

For Chile, by contrast, 2016 was an encouraging year.

Chile’s 2016 annual growth rate continued despite an earlier threat of a significant slowdown for the first time since the 2010 global recession. Thankfully, growth rates remained stable due to a strong third-quarter performance from the mining and manufacturing sectors, which exceeded market expectations.

Furthermore, newly released economic forecasts show that Chile will very likely meet or exceed these healthy growth rates through the year 2020. Consumer confidence rose to its highest level in nearly two years, and business confidence also ticked up in the closing months of 2016. Continue reading

The beach and Marina in Salinas draw visitors all year

Enjoy the high season while earning income in the off season

Plus: “I’d Be Bored To Death In A Beach Resort”

April 21, 2015
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

I have a continuing dilemma when it comes to part-year residences. My goal—like anyone’s—is to have a property I can use for part of the year, while renting it out during the rest of the year to cover costs.

The problem, of course, is that the season when I want to be there is also when everyone else wants to be there. And the season I don’t want to be there is generally the worst possible time to rent the property out.

Punta del Este, Uruguay, is a good example. The summers are glorious… and the beautiful beaches, magnificent weather, and world-class restaurants and nightlife draw people from all over the world. But in the winter, it’s often-dreary weather and shuttered shops draw almost no one. Good luck renting your place then…

So in recent years, I’ve set out to find markets where I can use my property during the high season… but also have a demand to rent the property during the low season. (Or perhaps a place where the “low” season suits my personal preferences better than the “high” season.) There are a few situations to look for:

  • A place that’s always nice, so it doesn’t matter when anyone comes;
  • A destination that draws a segment of people who come to the area for a different purpose than you do… a purpose that fits your off-season;
  • A demand created by people who have no choice but to be there at off-peak times.

Rental Returns In Excess Of 9% In Santiago

Plus: Where To Invest In Belize

Feb. 10, 2015
Santiago, Chile

US$1=626 Chilean pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Rental returns matter to everyone. And if they don’t, they should.

Investors want a fair return on their money, second-home owners frequently want to rent their properties out while they’re away, and even those who live abroad full-time should pay attention because potential rental returns will enhance the value of their property at resale time.

Here in Santiago, the potential for rental returns varies widely, even among the nicer neighborhoods.

But make no mistake… there are some good returns to be had in Santiago.

For the purposes of this report, I’ve studied only furnished apartments that are being rented on a monthly basis. Where properties had daily or weekly rates, I only used their monthly rate.

My property price and exchange rate snapshot was taken Feb. 1, 2015.

Determine How You Intend To Use Your Santiago Rental

The plans you have for using your property will determine the type of rental property you ultimately buy. If you are strictly renting the property, then it’s Continue reading

The Property Market In Santiago, Chile

Two Top Sectors In Santiago, Chile

Plus: “I Can Buy Property For Half The Price In The USA!”

Feb. 3, 2015
Santiago, Chile

Us$1=626 Chilean pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

The quality of life you’ll find in Chile is one of the best in the Americas. And while Chile is not the cheapest place to live, the value—what you spend compared to the lifestyle offered—is unsurpassed. It’s also friendly to businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs, offering easy residency and citizenship.

Since my first scouting trip here in 2002, Chile’s been at the top of my list for a lot of reasons. And while I’d like to pretend that I’m here on assignment, I actually came because there’s no place I’d rather be during the South American summer… which says even more for this country.

But the big news right now is the exchange rate. At today’s rate of 626 pesos per U.S. dollar, everything in Chile is an astonishing bargain, from an apartment, to a week at the beach, to a bottle of wine or nice dinner out.

As I write this today, we dollar-holders have 36% more buying power than we did in 2011 and 32% more than we had in 2013.

So if you’ve ever considered Chile for a second-home destination or a retirement venue, now is the time to get serious.
Continue reading

The views from the hills of Valparaíso are unbeatable

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

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. Continue reading

The high season is just around the corner, but the fine weather is already here

Chile’s Gleaming City By The Sea

Plus: Ecuador’s Bite Into Your Real Estate Profits

Earlier this afternoon, I was standing at the municipal pier in Viña del Mar, taking photos of the beach and the adjoining condo construction. We’re nearing the peak of high season at Chile’s #1 resort and the crowds are beginning to show up.

It’s not my first visit to this pier…by chance, I have a similar photo taken of the same beach in 2006. In fact, I’ve got a pretty good set of pictures from this area going back a few years.

When you see the way the beachfront has been developing from then until now, it’s obvious that Viña del Mar continues to grow in popularity with second home buyers. Construction companies are working hard to keep pace with the demand, as new projects sprout like wildflowers along the shoreline heading north from the city.

This is an active property market in a sought-after location with lots of opportunity. Continue reading

Chile Versus Colombia: Two Top Countries Compared

Two countries that rise to the top in any conversation about Latin America are Colombia and Chile. They both get high marks for their property markets, economic performance, lifestyles, and geographic diversity.

Colombia and Chile share some common ground, but they’re different in many ways. Let’s compare these top two destinations head-to-head.

The property markets are solid in both Chile and Colombia, and in general, a quality rental property will generate about the same return in the same type of neighborhood.

The exception is Medellín, Colombia.

I tried comparing Medellín (El Poblado sector) to Chile’s capital Santiago (Las Condes sector), but it didn’t work because Medellín’s properties are so under-valued. Comparing Bogotá to Santiago is a truer comparison, and you’ll find costs are fairly even. Bogotá’s rentals cost about 15% less than Santiago’s…while buying an apartment in Bogotá will cost you about 11% more. Continue reading