A Bargain Penthouse in Medellín With Big Rental Potential

Wow! Holy…Moley.

This was my reaction when a Medellín-based member of my research team shared the following listing with me. (Well, truth be told the language was a bit more colorful.)

The listing is for a sprawling 3,300-square-foot, four-bed penthouse in the most fashionable neighborhood of Medellín—Colombia’s trendiest city.

If you like year-round perfect weather, soaking in a hot tub, mountain views, and potential rental income, this is worth a close look…

This fully remodeled penthouse in the trendy El Poblado neighborhood of Medellín, Colombia, has been reduced from $450,000 to just over $300,000. That’s an insane $90 per square foot. And you could rent it for between $3,000 and $4,000 per month long term.

Whenever one of my team spots a bargain or interesting listing, they share it with me in our team WhatsApp scouting group…

This penthouse set over three floors was spied by one of my team who lives in Medellín.

Located in the popular El Poblado neighborhood the price has been reduced from around $450,000 down to just over $300,000. That’s a crazy price given that you could rent this condo for $3,000 to $4,000 per month long term.

But why consider Medellín at all? And why is the rental market so hot there?

The World’s Most Dangerous City…Not Anymore!

Medellín is a place that’s been firmly on my radar since I first visited in 2011…

Even back then I was impressed by what I saw—the tree-lined streets and squares, outdoor gyms, trendy cafés. Plus there was incredible weather, good food, and a wonderful atmosphere. Yet, only a few expats, oil industry workers, and the odd English-language teacher had discovered it.

Fast forward to today and Medellín draws in folks from all over. It’s a top-rated destination for digital nomads and tourists. It’s youthful, entrepreneurial, and dynamic. It’s also astonishingly modern, clean, and easy to get around.

Set within a valley, Medellín in northwestern Colombia is one of the leafiest, greenest cities you’ll ever visit.

Once regarded as the most dangerous city in the world, Medellín now comes out top in many worldwide rankings of best places in the world to visit, to retire, and even to conduct medical tourism. Two decades of urban development, huge infrastructure projects, and social investment has made it a highly rated destination.

In 2023, Medellín was Colombia’s second most-visited city, with more than 650,000 international visitors. There are direct flights from New York, Miami, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. Long lines of tourists waiting to pass through customs is a common sight at Medellín’s José María Córdova International Airport.

And it’s not just the airport that’s busy… Cafés, co-working spaces, and trendy bars are packed with remote workers.

Medellín has become a major hotspot for digital nomads and work-from-anywhere professionals thanks to its outstanding climate and high quality of living.

These remote workers are not the digital nomads of old, backpackers looking to fund their travels. Rather they’re well-paid workers and executives who can work from wherever they choose…

And they’re choosing Medellin, also known as the City of Eternal Spring, for the great climate, and affordable cost of living.

Medellin’s most expensive neighborhood is El Poblado, known for its shopping malls and multitude of bars, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a firm favorite with both remote workers and tourists.

Their arrival is pushing up real estate and rental prices across the city, but especially in El Poblado and Laureles, Medellin’s second most expensive neighborhood.

Today you’ll be lucky to find anything under $200 per square foot in these areas, and prices can run considerably higher.

Medellín has completed an incredible turnaround to become a favorite city with remote workers and tourists

A Bargain Penthouse with a Double-Digit Yield

One of the more interesting real estate opportunities in Medellín over recent years has been to buy a large luxury condo or penthouse with a view to rent.

The idea is to target groups of young remote workers looking to rent a luxurious penthouse together. These young remote workers often prefer communal living in a penthouse to living alone in a tiny apartment.

And why not? They get all the amenities, the great view, and the chance to socialize with friends and like-minded people.

For this play, El Poblado or Laureles offer the strongest potential. They’re close to the heart of the action and groups will pay a premium for the location.

The trick is to look for a USP for your penthouse, such as a private jacuzzi or terrace to make your listing pop and maximize rental potential.

So when a member of my team based in Medellín posted this listing in our WhatsApp scouting group, I was intrigued.

This penthouse has a modern, open-plan living space and a spacious terrace.

A three-floor penthouse, it’s located in the popular El Poblado neighborhood and the price has been reduced from around $450,000 down to just over $300,000. And it’s not only the price that stands out. The penthouse has been remodeled to an incredibly high standard with quality finishes throughout.

Bargains like this are hard to come by in El Poblado…

The penthouse is nearly 3,300 square feet, set over three floors. Which means it works out at just over $90 per square foot. New condos in El Poblado sell for three to four times this price.

Here’s another comparison: The condo next door is also for sale at the same price, just over $300,000. But it hasn’t been remodeled and is only around 1,950 square feet. That means a price of around $140 per square foot.

You might be wondering why the seller has listed this so far below market value… I was too…

It’s a familiar story. The penthouse is being sold by an elderly American couple who had lived in Medellín for the past 12 years but have moved back to the U.S. to be closer to their family.

So, what would your potential rental income be?

The HOA rules specify that any rentals must be for a minimum of one month. Renting long term, you could figure on between $3,000 and $4,000 per month. That’s up to $48,000 per year. Assuming 100% occupancy, your gross yield would be between 11% and 16%.

Best of all, the penthouse has exactly the type of USPs that your target rental market wants. The first and second floor have balconies offering panoramic views across the city.

And on the third floor there’s a private jacuzzi…

This private jacuzzi would look great on a rental listing…and help boost your income.

The penthouse comes fully furnished, which makes it a turnkey opportunity, another big bonus, especially as the furniture is of the same high standard as everything else. Other features include two parking spaces and a storage unit.

This part of El Pobaldo is known as the Golden Mile thanks to the wealthy clientele who live here, and the penthouse is within walking distance of Santa Fe and Oviedo mall, a metro stop, and numerous bars and restaurants. This feels like a find…

For more information, you can call the broker Juan Carlos Racines on +57 313 7669798. He speaks English.

To be clear, I haven’t viewed this property personally. And I always recommend that you hire an attorney to carry out your own due diligence on any overseas real estate purchase. In Colombia I use Alan Gongora (agongora@langoncol.com).

Past Plays in Medellín

As I say, I’ve been scouting Medellín for well over a decade. I’ve shared several plays with members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group…and anyone who followed those would have done very well.

When I first visited Medellín I could see the change that was coming. The city’s reputation was totally out of date. Yet, the world was only beginning to catch up…

In 2011 I focused on the wealthy neighborhood of El Poblado. Back then I recommended condos of around 1,000 square feet priced for under $100,000. Today, condos like these are selling for $200,000 and up.

Then, as Medellín grew in popularity I focused on newly gentrifying neighborhoods close to El Poblado. Laureles, the second most expensive neighborhood in Medellín caught my eye. Laureles, at the time, was overlooked and undervalued. It was less developed than El Poblado, especially with regards to commercial spaces.

In 2018, the Laureles play was to buy a single-family home (four- or five-bed) for around $150,000.

Buying a home in Laureles had two big benefits. The first was the rental potential. By turning the home into a mix of short- and long-term rentals, I reckoned on $25,000 to $36,000 gross income a year (with time to build up business and the right marketing). At $25,000, that’s a yield of over 16%. Hit $36,000 and you’re at 24%…

Then, there’s the value of the land. In El Poblado, single-family homes had all but gone, replaced with condo buildings, or commercial spaces with condos above. If you could find a home in El Poblado, it would have been priced high to reflect the development potential of the land (think $400,000 and above). In Laureles this potential wasn’t yet priced in…

Today, though, single-family homes in Laureles are listed from $275,000 all the way up to $500,000.

In 2020, when the pandemic hit, my team had boots on the ground in Medellín again. RETA members were alerted to a buying opportunity in El Poblado with condos going at the incredible price of between $80-$100 per square foot.

Coincidentally, that’s the price range of the listing above…which is why that’s such an outlier. Nowadays, finding deals like these is rare in Medellín.


Ronan McMahon, Overseas Real Estate Expert

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