Anthony Wile Expects Unprecedented Real Estate Boom in Colombia
Peace Process Expands Exciting Opportunities
Tell a friend you’re considering investing in a second home in one of the new real estate developments in Colombia and he may raise an eyebrow. After all, not so long ago, the news about this country certainly did not convey a sense of either a peaceful place to live or an exciting investment opportunity.
Many investors today, however, would be quick to point out that image is “old news.” Consider Chicago billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell, for instance. Zell has considered Colombia a prime investment location since at least 2011, when he told Bloomberg Television, “Colombia is the next star of Latin America.”
The remarkably successful peace process is nearing completion, bringing to a resolution the fighting between the Colombian government and guerrilla groups that had been responsible for decades of horrific violence. The final agreement is expected to be signed in April 2016. But, even before both sides sat down at the table in Cuba, the violence of decades past had mostly ceased.
While no one knows what will be the precise outcome of this agreement, the reality is that Colombia is already much different than many people perceive. And certainly once headlines around the world report “Peace in Colombia!” many minds previously closed to the country’s opportunities will quickly open.
Indeed, Sam Zell’s prediction has already proven prescient. The World Bank’s 2015 Doing Business report found Colombia “the most business-friendly destination in Latin America,” and the World Economic Forum’s 2014–2015 Global Competitiveness Index ranked Colombia sixth globally for “strength of investor protection.” From manufacturing to IT to agribusiness to services, foreign investment in Colombia is skyrocketing.
Spain’s El Mundo newspaper wrote, “With a GDP increase of 4.6% in 2014, low inflation rates, and economic stability, Colombia has become a business-friendly environment for investors.”
Canadian Anthony Wile, chief investment strategist for High Alert Investment Management, has lived in several countries around the world yet has consistently maintained a home in Colombia for over 15 years.
“I’ve considered Colombia my second home since the first time I visited,” says Wile. “From the beautiful, diverse landscapes to the industrious and warm-hearted people to the perfect climate of Medellin and the surrounding area, it’s been the one place I have spent as much time as possible for more than a decade, both doing business and simply enjoying our family friends.”
Anthony Wile says those who doubt the wisdom of investing or living in Colombia are unaligned with reality and likely working from outdated information. “There’s no doubt recent changes in Colombia have been unfolding quickly and will speed up even more once the peace accord is signed,” Wile said, “but in the 15 years I’ve been spending time in the country, my perception of it as a very safe and wonderful option for a second home has never changed.”
One of the most substantial investments the Colombian government is making as part of its anticipation of continued growth is in a massive infrastructure modernization program of roads and airports nationwide. Where transportation has often been cumbersome and slow, highways are beginning to connect many of the beautiful remote areas outside of the larger cities previously accessible only by winding, narrow roads often traversed by heavily laden, slow-moving trucks.
An example of the country’s myriad picturesque areas that appeal to real estate investors is Cauca Viejo, in the country’s northwestern department of Antioquia. With both international and domestic investors taking advantage of the exceptional value of a residence in Cauca Viejo, improved transportation is a significant benefit.
The current two- to three-hour drive from Medellin to Cauca Viejo, or nearby Tarso, is expected to become an easy hour’s drive on the new divided highway. The highway is well underway, with several tunnels and bridges nearing completion.
Anthony Wile explains such improvements will make it efficient for residents of outlying areas to access the many amenities available in the bigger cities. Medellin, for instance, hosts five of Latin America’s most highly regarded hospitals, an international airport offering direct flights to numerous countries, world-class shopping centers, cultural attractions as well as a seemingly endless and diverse menu of entertainment and restaurant options.
“Of course, one of the highlights of Colombia is its diverse offering of climates. Investors are able to consider very different types of real estate developments around the country that cater to specific interests, such as golfing, beachfront living or nature-focused offerings.”
Wile is so enamored with the coffee region of Antioquia, located near Cauca Viejo, that he is now working with some of the country’s leading families to develop a first-class international community — Terra Viva, which is expected to come on-stream soon.
“I have no doubt Terra Viva will be a favorite among international investors,” said Wile. “The large, individually-owned lots offer both privacy and at the same time convenient access to community-centered facilities such as a lake, outdoor gathering areas and gardens, and a community center with restaurant, fitness and spa services. With warm daytime temperatures and cool evenings, open-air living areas will be a prominent feature of the traditional homes and villas.”
As the peace process draws to its conclusion and media begins to present a more realistic image of Colombia’s many advantages, investors will without doubt reconsider their outdated views of this exciting country. In the very near future, this gem of Latin America will doubtless become the go-to destination for many who are concerned about the world’s current unsettling economic and political times.
Prudent investors that want to secure their family’s safety, their wealth and their lifestyle will take action soon on these diamonds-in-the-rough — real estate developments now being planned and developed — while the opportunity is at hand.