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Colombia 2018 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Brad Hinkelman, Owner & General Manager, Casacol, on the sector.

Brad Hinkelman

What moved you to decide to come to Colombia and invest in real estate?

I started investing personally in Colombian real estate in 2008. I could see that Colombia had many opportunities for investors. In 2012, I founded Casacol to facilitate foreign investment in Medellín. Medellín, and Antioquia in general, are favorites among foreign buyers because of the temperate year-round climate and easy accessibility to international airports. Our clients often say Medellín provides first-world quality of life at emerging-market prices. The price per square meter in Medellín is a fraction of what one would find in a large American or European city without compromising on quality. We now see markets along the coast of Colombia also becoming popular with foreigners. We have clients investing in Cartagena, Santa Marta, and, to a lesser extent, Bogotá.

What are your prospects for the sector for 2018 and 2019?

In 2018, the prospects for real estate across Colombia are bright. This is a country where the real estate market is driven by true economic fundamentals and not speculation. The banks here are conservative lenders and, therefore, debt-GDP ratios are low. In general, the use of bank debt to buy real estate is not nearly as common as developed countries. This is one of the reasons that make this market so attractive to foreign buyers to invest.

What are your main goals for the year ahead?

Casacol now manages more than 350 properties in Medellín for our clients and will expand our operations to other cities within Colombia as opportunities emerge. I have no doubt Colombia's real estate market will continue to evolve in a positive way, providing great opportunities to both local and foreign investors alike.