Laureles – A Popular Alternative to El Poblado

Many foreigners owning property in Medellín call the upscale neighborhood of El Poblado as home but this is also where some of the most expensive real estate is located in the city. However, some foreigners have discovered Laureles, which is located north of Belén and west of the Medellín River, where real estate can be somewhat less expensive than found in El Poblado.

The city of Medellín groups Laureles with Estadio, which is comuna number 11. The Laureles/Estadio comuna has a population of about 121,000 – compared to a population of 124,000 in El Poblado.

Laureles/Estadio is primarily a residential community – you won’t find that many hotels in the area like are found throughout El Poblado. In Laureles/Estadio, you will find a few neighborhoods similar to El Poblado with high-rise apartment buildings. But throughout most of Laureles/Estadio you will quiet tree-lined streets lined with one-story, two-story and three-story attached homes that are more difficult to find in El Poblado.

Apartment building in Laureles

Low-rise housing in Laureles

More About Laureles/Estadio

Laureles/Estadio is home to two Western-style shopping malls. Unicentro is the larger mall in the area located close to Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, where some foreigners take Spanish classes. Viva is the other mall, located in the western part of the comuna.

The comuna is also the home of Estadio Atanasio Giradot, which is the city’s professional fútbol stadium where Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellin play matches. Near the stadium is a large sports complex that has an Olympic size pool; velodrome; basketball, volleyball and tennis courts and many other arenas. The area was used for the 2010 South American Games.

Laureles/Estadio also has two popular nightlife areas – the La 70 (Setenta) entertainment district that is lined with bars and restaurants and Calle 33, which has somewhat more laid back bars.

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The Neighborhoods of Laureles/Estadio

The Laureles/Estadio comuna has 15 barrios (neighborhoods). When looking at any neighborhoods in Colombia it is important to understand the estrato system. Residential properties in Colombia are ranked on a 1-6 socioeconomic scale (with 6 being the highest), which are known as estratos.

Understanding estratos are important, as this is a factor for housing costs and also for utilities. Households in lower estrato neighborhoods pay a lower rate for gas, electric, water and triple play TV/Internet/phone services.

El Poblado is primarily an estrato 6 neighborhood with 74% of the housing in El Poblado ranked as estrato 6.   In comparison, Laureles/Estadio has about 99% of its housing located in estrato 4-5 areas as seen in the following table:

Laureles

Cost of Real Estate in Laureles/Estadio

With the lower estratos in Laureles/Estadio you can find real estate prices that can be cheaper than El Poblado. In El Poblado, new apartments generally cost around 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 pesos ($1,950 to $2,438) per square meter at the current exchange rate (Note: using 2,051 pesos to the USD exchange rate).

Laureles/Estadio is an older neighborhood without many new apartments being built. New apartments, when they can be found, are typically in the range of 2,800,000 to 4,000,000 pesos ($1,365 to $1,950) per square meter. This means if you find a new 1,000 square foot apartment in Laureles/Estadio it can range in price from about $126,830 to $181,186. This range of prices is driven by the estrato, features, quality and location/view of properties.

The price for existing housing can be even lower in Laureles/Estadio. The average cost of 35 existing properties (90-120 square meters) I surveyed in Laureles/Estadio in nicer neighborhoods was $1,008 per square meter, which is about 15% cheaper than similar properties found in El Poblado. It is possible to find properties in nice neighborhoods in Laureles/Estadio that can be up to 25% cheaper than the price of properties in El Poblado – but many of these properties are also “fixer-uppers”, needing some work.

The Benefits of Laureles/Estadio

The Laureles/Estadio area is attractive to foreigners for several reasons:

  • Flat area for walking and retirees, compared to the hilly parts of El Poblado
  • Very close to the La 70 entertainment district
  • Many restaurants in the area
  • The large sports complex located in the area – Unidad Deportiva Atanasio Girardot
  • Several grocery in the area, including Carulla, Exito and Jumbo.
  • Generally a lower cost of living compared to El Poblado

First American Realty, the largest foreign-owned real estate firm in Medellín, has recognized the potential in Laureles. The company is working on its initial project in the area.

Call First American Realty at 305 393-8872 or 954 363-1169 or email sales@farmedellin.com and the company will send you details about its Laureles project.

Conclusion

While El Poblado is expected to remain the most popular neighborhood in Medellín for foreigners, both Laureles/Estadio and Envigado should continue to see increased interest from some foreigners as attractive alternatives to El Poblado. Laureles is currently the second most popular destination for foreigners visiting or living in Medellín.

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