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Medellín Apartment Rental Costs

Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia       November 17, 2015
  • Medellín Apartment Rental Costs
  • Medellín Apartment Rental Costs
  • Medellín Apartment Rental Costs
  • Medellín Apartment Rental Costs
  • Medellín Apartment Rental Costs
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Nathan
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Since I have been living in Medellín for nearly five years, and I have lived in six different barrios in the city, I have often been asked by foreigners about the apartment rental costs in Medellín for unfurnished apartments.


I also have helped several foreigners find unfurnished apartments in Medellín. My experience in renting three unfurnished apartments was previously documented on this site in a four-part series.


Read the first part here, the second part here, the third part here and the fourth part here.


I also covered my experience renting my latest apartment here. Also, I have seen several internet blog posts and press articles that have inaccurately depicted the costs of apartment rentals in Medellín.


To more accurately answer the question about what the real apartment rental costs are in Medellín, with the help of my Colombian wife, we recently surveyed the rental costs of 600 available unfurnished apartments in several neighborhoods in Medellín that are popular with foreigners.


We specifically looked in El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio, Envigado, Belén and Sabaneta. We only looked at 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments. We did not look at casas (houses) or larger apartments.


This is an update of a very popular post last year that looked at apartment rental costs in these same neighborhoods in Medellín.


During this survey, we only looked in nicer neighborhoods where foreigners are more likely to live, so we only included apartments in estrato 3, 4, 5 and 6 neighborhoods. Only a few estrato 3 neighborhoods were included.


This update with the latest apartment rental costs in neighborhoods in Medellín also permits seeing if rental costs have increased in these neighborhoods from our survey around the same time last year.


We also looked at furnished apartment rental costs last year.


(Note: using 2,927 Colombian pesos to the USD exchange rate in this post. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and has ranged from 2,794 to 2,967 over the past month.)


Apartment building near Santefé mall in El Poblado

Apartment buildings near Santefé mall in El Poblado



El Poblado Apartments


El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood for foreigners living in or visiting Medellín. It is the most upscale neighborhood in the city and is where the most hotels and furnished apartments catering to foreigners are located.


El Poblado is primarily an Estrato 6 neighborhood with 74 percent of the households rated at estrato 6. It is also where the most expensive real estate and most expensive apartment rentals in the city are located.


I lived for over a month several years ago in a furnished apartment in El Poblado during an early trial of living in Medellín.


I quickly determined that El Poblado wasn’t for me, as I prefer to live in a neighborhood that has a lower cost of living and isn’t as westernized.


El Poblado survey of 120 apartment rentals results:



  • 18 apartments were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 35 to 110 square meters with rents ranging from 980,000 to 2.5 million pesos per month.

  • 45 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 50 to 140 square meters with rents ranging from 1.1 million to 2.8 million pesos per month.

  • 57 apartments were 3-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 55 to 225 square meters with rents ranging from 1.1 million to 4.0 million pesos per month.

  • The average rental cost per square meter of the apartments in El Poblado was 19,549 pesos per month per square meter.

  • Surprisingly 26 percent of the 120 apartments surveyed in the ritziest neighborhood of El Poblado did not have hot water and four of these with hot water only had electric hot water in the shower(s).

  • 23 of the 120 apartments surveyed in El Poblado didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.


Average Apartment Rental Costs in El Poblado

Average Apartment Rental Costs in El Poblado



Inside my first apartment in Estadio

Inside my first apartment in Estadio



Laureles-Estadio Apartments


Laureles-Estadio is another popular neighborhood for foreigners living in Medellín. It is primarily a residential neighborhood with many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.


The first unfurnished apartment I rented in Medellín was located in Estadio.


Laureles-Estadio is primarily an estrato 4/5 neighborhood with 99 percent of the households rated at estrato 4 or 5.


Laureles-Estadio survey of 120 apartment rentals results:



  • 19 apartments were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 36 to 70 square meters with rents ranging from 550,000 to 1.5 million pesos per month.

  • 29 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 55 to 140 square meters with rents ranging from 800,000 to 1.9 million pesos per month.

  • 72 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 60 to 185 square meters with rents ranging from 700,000 to 3.2 million pesos per month.

  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments in Laureles-Estadio was 14,602 pesos per month per square meter, which means Laureles-Estadio apartment rentals are 25.3 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar-sized apartments.

  • 38 percent of the 120 apartments surveyed in Laureles-Estadio did not have hot water and nine with hot water only had electric hot water in the shower(s).

  • 64 percent of the 120 apartments surveyed in Laureles-Estadio didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.


Average Apartment Rental Costs in Laureles-Estadio

Average Apartment Rental Costs in Laureles-Estadio



Envigado Apartments


Envigado is another popular neighborhood for foreigners living in Medellín. It is less commercial than El Poblado and like Laureles-Estadio has many areas with tree-lined streets and fewer high-rise apartments than are found in El Poblado.


Envigado is more of a working-class community with 96 percent of housing in estrato 2 to 5 and only 4 percent in estrato 1 or 6.


Envigado survey of 120 apartment rentals results:



  • Only two of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 32 to 35 square meters with rents ranging from 750,000 to 1.0 million pesos per month.

  • 39 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 60 to 118 square meters with rents ranging from 800,000 to 2.6 million pesos per month.

  • 79 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 65 to 240 square meters with rents ranging from 900,000 to 4.3 million pesos per month.

  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments surveyed in Envigado was 16,902 pesos per month per square meter, which means Envigado apartment rentals are 13.5 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar size apartments.

  • Only 17 of the 120 apartments in Envigado did not have hot water and two with hot water only had electric hot water in the shower(s).

  • Only 15 of the 120 apartments surveyed in Envigado didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.


Average Apartment Rental Costs in Envigado

Average Apartment Rental Costs in Envigado



View of Belén from my previous apartment, Los Molinos mall is on the left

View of Belén from my previous apartment, Los Molinos mall is on the left



Belén Apartments


Belén is a neighborhood that is increasing in popularity for foreigners living in Medellín. Belén is where I lived for over three years in three different barrios (Fatima, Loma de Los Bernal and Los Alpes)


Belén is more of a working-class community with 98 percent of the housing in estrato 2 to 5 and only 2 percent in estrato 1.


Belén survey of 120 apartment rentals results:



  • Eight of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 35 to 60 square meters with rents ranging from 600,000 to 1.1 million pesos per month.

  • 35 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 45 to 180 square meters with rents ranging from 670,000 to 1.25 million pesos per month.

  • 77 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 58 to 165 square meters with rents ranging from 750,000 to 2.3 million pesos per month.

  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments in Belén was 13,675 pesos per month per square meter, which meansBelén apartment rentals are 30.0 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar size apartments.

  • 26 percent of the 120 apartments in Belén did not have hot water and four of these only had electric hot water in the shower(s).

  • 23 of the 120 apartments surveyed in Belén didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.


Average Apartment Rental Costs in Belén

Average Apartment Rental Costs in Belén



Apartment buildings in Sabaneta, photo taken from Aves Maria mall

Apartment buildings in Sabaneta, photo taken from Aves Maria mall



Sabaneta Apartments


Sabaneta is a municipality located directly south of Envigado. It is an area that has been booming with developers building many apartment buildings over the past couple of years.


I expect that Sabaneta will become increasingly popular with foreigners looking for an alternative that can be cheaper than El Poblado and Envigado. My current apartment in Medellín is located in Sabaneta.


Sabaneta is more of a working-class community with 98 percent of housing in estrato 2 to 4 and only 2 percent in estrato 1, 5 or 6.


Sabaneta survey of 120 apartment rentals results:



  • Only three of the apartments surveyed were 1-bedroom or studios ranging in size from 60 to 74 square meters with rents ranging from 750,000 to 1.1 million pesos per month.

  • 26 apartments were 2-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 50 to 85 square meters with rents ranging from 700,000 to 1.25 million pesos per month.

  • 91 apartments were 3-bedroom apartment range in size from 60 to 160 square meters with rents ranging from 800,000 to 1.9 million pesos per month.

  • The average rental cost per square meter of the 120 apartments in Sabaneta was 14,220 pesos per month per square meter, which meansSabaneta apartment rentals are 27.3 percent cheaper on average than in El Poblado for similar size apartments.

  • Only two of the 120 apartments in Sabaneta did not have hot water and seven of these only had electric hot water in the shower(s).

  • Only seven of the 120 apartments surveyed in Sabaneta didn’t have a 24/7 porteria.


Average Apartment Rental Costs in Sabaneta

Average Apartment Rental Costs in Sabaneta



Rent versus Buy?


If you are planning to move to Medellín from another country, I recommend not jumping right into buying or renting an unfurnished apartment.


First rent a furnished apartment for at least a month or more as I did to make sure Medellín is right for you.


This will also give you the time and opportunity to explore the city to find which neighborhood(s) you would like to live in.


However, even after deciding that you want to live longer-term in Medellín, buying may not be your best option. In our study of the rental prices in Medellín, we saw many unfurnished apartments that rent for a year for only 5-8 percent of the purchase price to buy the apartment.


When determining if renting or buying is the better option, I suggest using a rent-versus-buy calculator like this one from New York Times.


Renting may ultimately be lower cost than buying if you factor in all the variables and costs including opportunity cost.


For my situation, with rents being so cheap in Medellín, renting for me is lower cost than buying over a 5-year, 10-year, or even a 30-year period.


Also with renting I have much more flexibility and can easily move to another neighborhood by choice, which I have already done three times.  But to “each his own”, some prefer buying regardless.


Survey Results: Rental Prices Per Square Meter by Neighborhood

Survey Results: Rental Prices Per Square Meter by Neighborhood



The Bottom Line


If you want to save on unfurnished apartment rental costs in Medellín, our 2015 survey of unfurnished apartments demonstrates that you can save an average of 25-30 percent by living in Belen, Laureles-Estadio or Sabaneta instead of living in a similar sized apartment in ritzy El Poblado.


If you select Envigado, you will only save on average of 13.5 percent compared to the apartment rental costs in El Poblado.


Our survey results also show that compared to last year the average rental price per square meter in terms of Colombian pesos has noticeably increased in only two neighborhoods in 2015 – in El Poblado, the most expensive neighborhood, as well as Laureles-Estadio.


Based on our surveys, the average rental price per square meter for unfurnished apartments in El Poblado increased 3.5 percent and in Laureles-Estadio increased 3.6 percent from 2014 to 2015. Other neighborhoods we surveyed didn’t experience much of an increase in the average rental prices.


So if you chose to rent an unfurnished apartment in El Poblado or Laureles-Estadio, you might see rent increases come renewal time.


Due to competition for apartment rentals in some neighborhoods in Medellín, it is difficult for owners to raise rental prices for unfurnished apartments.


In my four lease renewals in Medellín (in Belén) I didn’t experience a rent increase – in fact, for one renewal I was able to negotiate a lower price.


Also in Colombia, landlords are legally limited in the ability to raise rent by no more than the inflation rate. It is also very inexpensive for a tenant to move to another apartment if the rental price is increased.


It is also important to note that over the last year, the exchange rate has been volatile and beneficial if you have U.S. dollars (USD), which has dropped the cost of renting an apartment in Medellín substantially over the past year in terms of USD.


Not all apartments in Medellín have hot water and the neighborhoods of El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio and Belén have many older apartments without hot water. Most apartments in Sabaneta have hot water due to many being in new apartment buildings that were built over the past few years.


The majority of apartments in Medellín that have hot water use gas water heaters – either tank-less or with a water tank. I would avoid any apartments that have electric hot water in the showers.


If you are looking to rent an unfurnished apartment in Medellín, I recommend reading my post that includes my lessons learned over the past four-plus years found here.


source: MedellinLiving



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