Once Dangerous, Now Safe: Opportunities Abound in Colombia

When we told our families last Fall that we would be traveling to Medellín, Colombia for two months to adopt our son, their faces turned as white as the cocaine they thought covered the country.

In spite of the thousands of positive articles in the international press about Colombia’s impressive, positive strides in the last decade, many Americans still think of drug lords and violence. (Netflix’s new series Narcos sure doesn’t help.) I can tell you first-hand this is not the case.

Bloomberg Business said Colombia is expected to have the 12th fastest growth rate in the world this year. Salon published an article about how “…everyone should move to Medellín…because it is a tourist and business hotspot.” The Economist praised Colombia’s second largest city for its social urbanism. Our buddy, Rich Holman, at First American Realty Medellín also summed up the positive tourism advancements. (Did I mention that Medellín’s average temperature year-round is in the mid-70s?)

I could go on and on about all the awesome things happening in Colombia because I lived there and saw it, but let’s get down to business.

Colombian GDP Chart 10-3-11

As you can see from this chart, the country has seen incredible advancements in GDP Per-Capita growth. There is also a very interesting fact contained within – when the world economy sank in 2007-2008, Colombia was mostly insulated from the drop. This is because they are a net oil exporter and also very self-sufficient when it comes to manufacturing.

Now is the time to explore business opportunities within Colombia. When I was living there in late 2014, the exchange rate was approximately USD$1 to COP$1,800. Now it is USD$1 to COP$3,000. Your dollar will go incredibly far until oil gets back up to $100/barrel.

Here’s just one investment example. First American Realty Medellin buys buildings in very nice parts of town, renovates them into NYC-style apartments, then rents them out to tourists. You can buy into the building on a fractional basis in Colombian Pesos. Therefore, an investment one year ago can be had for almost half the price today. Talk about stretching a dollar! On top of that, investor preferred returns are 8% for most of their commercial projects, plus appreciation.

There are also a multitude of opportunities to export from Colombia to the United States and vice-a-versa. The quality of manufactured goods coming out the country are on-par with what is made here in the States. They are also expert chemical manufacturers. Add that to the fact that the cost of labor is much lower, and you could bring Colombian goods and wares to the massive US consumer and business markets. This is even more attractive since tariffs and taxes have been lowered or eliminated due to the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

So if you are looking to invest outside the United States, it’s time to start looking at Colombia. If you need assistance connecting to Colombian businesses, governments, or investment opportunities, contact us, and we’ll make it happen.

(You might even enjoy being down there so much that you decide to retire there – many expats are making Colombia the top retirement destination in South America.)