Why is everyone talking about Laureles?

Last time I posted an article about why I think Poblado is “finished” in terms of new real estate development and what impacts that will have for our investors.  After I posted the article, I received a number of emails asking my opinion on Laureles real estate which is interesting because everyone seems to be asking about Laureles (say it again, lao-rey-lees) these days and we’re assisting multiple clients at the moment with their real estate purchases in Laureles.  Plus if Medellin Living wrote about the trend towards foreigners living in Laureles then it must be cool right Dave? 😉  And for good reason.. Laureles has been getting very popular (again) for Colombians and foreigners alike for many of the same reasons.

First a bit of history

What we know as Centro today was of course the original Medellin from the late 1800s-1930s/1940s.  However with the widespread adoption of automobiles during this time, builders, architects and families in Medellin started looking outside Centro for more floorspace, tranquility, and newer, modern amenities.  The 1940s/50s baby boom (Colombia too) also fuelled the need for more housing and larger spaces that Centro didn’t provide.  And thus Laureles, arguably the first middle-upper class suburb of Medellin was born.

 

Where Laureles really began, architecturally and construction wise were three big projects 1) The Iglesia de Santa Teresita (1948), 2) Universidad Pontificaria Bolivariana, UPB (1952) and 3) El Estadio Girardot (1953), which to this day are still the defining features of the area.

Laureles proper in the 1950s and 1960s, was considered posh.  If you sent your kids to UPB and attended mass at Santa Teresita you were doing just fine.  And if you look at the construction quality of the still standing casas/homes from that time you can just tell that there was definitely money along the Nutibarra and UBV.  However as violence gripped Colombia in the 80s, the children of Laureles started looking for something else for their families.  High rise construction was much safer (doorman/portero security) than traditional two and three story homes in Laureles and that is in part what lead to the birth of Poblado as an area where builders wanted to build and people wanted to live.  And therefore Laureles lost its spot on the map as “cool and new”.  Laureles had earned a reputation in the 90s and 2000s as the car theft capital of Medellin as the Medellin bourgeois flocked to Poblado and it’s shiny new hospitals, shopping centers, high rise towers, new university (EAFIT) and Parque Lleras restaurants.

Laureles today

However since 2000 Laureles too has also been marked with rapid development.  High-rise towers started popping up in the last 10-15 years that rivaled and even exceeded prices in El Poblado.  The Edinburgo, Mandarin and Zuccaro buildings for example are some of the finest construction quality in Medellin and come with prices to match.  Modern apartaestudios between the 2 Laureles parks now fetch prices of >$4.000.000 square meter (~$200 USD/sq ft) according to our data on Casacol – that is right in line with real estate in Poblado.  And if you were to walk between the first and second parks of Laureles 5 years ago the area is almost unrecognizable in terms of the new restaurants, cafes and wine bars that now dot the area.  Laureles is definitely back on the map.

Other neighbourhood features of Laureles that I particularly like (from a real estate/home buyers perspective):

– The fact that Laureles is so flat is another reason why it is very livable (think Zillow walking scores)
–  If you’re well located near the two parks/Nutibara/UPB/Carulla you can live without a car, no problem
– UPB still remains after 60 years one of the top private universities in Colombia for engineering, architecture, medicine and law
– Laureles is quiet(er) – save for holidays/soccer games when some residents feel compelled to fill the skies with fireworks and gunpowder
– The neighbouring sub-barrios of Conquistadores, Simon Bolivar, and Carlos E. Restrepo, while not quite as convenient, offer great value to the foreign buyer at up to ½ of Nutibara/UPB prices
– Other living options such as larger houses, 4 story walk-ups (cheap), in addition to high rise elevator/door man buildings, etc. – you get this mix of old and new that I personally find very appealing
– It’s green; there’s more trees, more grass, birds, it feels more like a real neighbourhood than almost anywhere else in Medellin

All in all, there is good reason for the rediscovered cachet in Laureles that never actually lost it’s charm for many locals.  For the investor strictly looking for income property, yes, we have to work harder in Laureles.  But as a place to really live life in Medellin, it would be hard to take Laureles off the top of my list.

PS – Congrats to our client Stewart who last week picked up a phenomenal 320m2/5 bedroom penthouse 2 blocks off the Nutibara at a fantastic price.  One of the coolest places we’ve found in Laureles to date.

Happy House Hunting.

Brad Hinkelman – brad@casacol.co

Founder/Owner – Casacol SAS

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