Chances are that you’ve heard about the recent boom in real estate is currently producing in Panama. Perhaps, there are several websites that you have read or visited in search of information on the subject. Or maybe you’re one of those people who have already taken the decision to buy an apartment or a House on the beach, but you don’t know where to start or you want to start your own real estate project in Panama, but you still need more information. Well, I have prepared this article in a simple and practical way to guide you in our property market roots. You will find this document useful, since it goes to the direct purchase of a property or to start your own real estate project in Panama, or just to have a more complete idea of this boom in real estate increased.
What is happening in the Panamanian real estate market?
What is going on in Panama is without precedent. The market is growing rapidly, and that real estate development has never before had experienced in our country. Monthly, we are visited by hundreds of foreigners interested in purchasing real estate in Panama, in the city, the coasts and mountains. The constant increase in the value of square meter is almost a monthly rate. For example: in January 2006 it was possible to find apartments in Panama City for around us $1,000.00 per square meter, which is today almost impossible (USA – US $1,200 $1,400 and increasing). This has generated the value per square meter to tripled in the city and even quadruple in the rest of the country. The main corridor of real estate associations have foreseen that the overall value of the land in Panama could increase up to 30% and 40% in the next three years, due to this increased flow prices.
Extreme towers of luxury of more than 100 stories, residential houses of more than one million dollars, maritime clubs, yachts and luxury hotels, huge golf courses designed by renowned international experts, as well as the top line of the shopping centers are currently under construction or in process of delivery in the next couple of years , the renewal of the face of the city into an international and cosmopolitan metropolis. Promoters, private investors and international companies in real estate, in the United States, South America and Europe, have even started the construction of real estate projects of great impact. In addition a large number of international companies of real estate brokers currently the creation of enterprises in our country per month. In particular, we could say that seven of the tallest towers under construction in Latin America are being built in the city of Panama, in the areas known as “Avenida Balboa” (this area is projected as the skyscraper by the sea in the city). We can mention, among others: Aqualina, Aquamare Vitri, Ocean Two and One, the lighthouses of Panama and the Tower of ice, to give birth in the year 2009, in addition to the hundreds of apartment towers bring developed around the city. Large lots of beach, tourist complex projects, both in the Caribbean Sea (Bocas del Toro), as in the Pacific Ocean (Pearl Islands), as well as the mountains lovely retirement (gap, Altos del Maria) are part of an avalanche of real projects of property which appears to be just beginning.
What are the real factors that caused this increase in real estate?
We all know that after the hostilities took place in Panama in 1989, Panamanian real estate market was hesitant and the small amount of investments in this sector were conducted mostly in commercial projects. Eleven years had to run to after this (year 2000) event for leaders in the tourism sector of the Government of Panama (directed by well-known Panamanian singer Rubén Blades) to take action by starting a serious campaign for the improvement of the image of the country. Panama was shown as “the road less traveled”, not only focusing on the advantages of being and of international banking and the center of the coast, but also in the social, tourist, ecological and geographical elements, which until then were unknown to the rest of the world. This successful campaign was promoted worldwide in major international television networks, both in Europe and in the United States. In addition to this, something that has to be recognized, for the year 2003 returns to Panama internationally with the announcement that a Panamanian girl (Justin Pasek) won the competition of Miss Universe, situation that allows the expansion of the range of advantages of our country as a tourist and shopping destination. Between the years 2003 and 2005, little by little the number of visitors increased as a result of these two important catalysts.
Meanwhile, small groups of professionals (lawyers, brokers and freelancers) offered seminars on the advantages of Panama or small organized tours of real estate to foreigners. In several articles published in international journals for retired (known as “baby boomers” generation) and second homes abroad, began to Panama recognizes as one of the best countries in the world to live in high levels of standard, but with lower costs, all this caused due to excellent projects aimed at this market, as “The hidden Valley” in Boquete – Chiriquí or “Altos el Maria” in Panama. One of the main triggers of this increase in real estate in Panama occurred last April 24 2006, when Donald Trump announced in New York in “Punta Pacifica” construction area in the city of Panama of a 65-story tower with the brand “Trump Ocean Club International Hotel”, at a cost of $ 220 million. In addition, in October of that same year, the national acceptance for the expansion of the Panama Canal was given, to start construction in 2009. From this point, doubt that Panama became in the Center and the model of investment in assets there roots in the area, a situation that has increased exponentially.
So what are the advantages of Panama as a destination for real estate?
Well, let’s get on the subject. We are going to study the advantages that Panama offers and which will allow you, in fact, decide to buy a property in our country, since many foreigners have made. From the point of view of real estate, we can mention:
Panama offers the best banking Center in the region, with the use of the dollar as legal tender and the top of the line of the banks (HSBC, CITIBANK, BBVA, etc) which will facilitate the process of obtaining mortgages for foreigners, offering a fast process international bank transaction deposits and reserves of properties.
Panama immigration law has one of the best retirement programs in the world, allowing you to become a “resident” in less than two months. This program offers several incentives like the possibility to import goods and personal values in their new properties free of import duties, as well as motor vehicles also free of import duties.
Extraordinary service, utilities and system properties, such as infrastructure: high-speed Internet (there are five main networks interconnection of Internet that cross through Panama), cable TV and TV satellite, public drinking water, wide range of fixed and mobile telephony offer.
The opportunity to purchase extreme luxury apartments with ample space at an incredibly low price compared to the apartments of the same quality in the USA and Europe.
The opportunity to purchase exempt properties to 0% of property taxes for a period of 5, 10, 15, even 20 years (depending on the date of start of construction).
A wide variety of companies and bilingual professionals involved in real estate.
If you are an entrepreneur, the Panamanian law provides tax benefits to builders and promoters who are real-estate projects in the country.
In addition, there are other advantages to take into account that, even when they are not directly involved in the business of real estate, which can be useful when making the decision to buy a property:
Panama has been recognized by companies as Pinkerton Intelligence Agency as a country of high standard security in contrast to the current situation in neighbouring countries.
You can hire the services of maintenance of the House at a low cost (around US $150.00 per month)
Up-to-date high standard technology available. The opportunity to purchase products from around the world in the free zone of Colon, due to the sensitive position of the Panama Canal and the transit of more than 14,000 ships a year.
Conditions of Panamanian tax law allowing that the taxpayer does not pay taxes on banking or even taxes on income interests when service and / or business are carried out abroad.
A geographical position unique to carry out international commercial transactions, with quick access to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic.
Panama has a low risk profile with regards to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes.
These are some of the many advantages that Panama has to offer if you decide to purchase a property in our country, either to invest or simply to move and enjoy life.
What are the most attractive places to buy properties?
To better answer this question, we must divide our answer in four groups: Panama City, the mountains, the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast.
City of Panama
Main sea view luxury condominiums are in Panama City, distributed in the following manner: Balboa Avenue, Punta Pacífica and Costa del Este. The region known as “Avenida Balboa” has become icon of development of real estate in Panama. The reason for this is because the current building towers of luxury residential apartments, with exceptional architecture, with a height of more than 100 floors, which will be held in 2009. Avenida Balboa offers quick access to citywide, the banking area, as well as to the main avenues, since it is the coast Boulevard. One hundred meters from this area are restaurants, bars, hotels and other facilities. European promoters, Americans and South Americans have provided real estate potential in this area, which is equivalent to a phenomenon produced condominiums in Miami during the 1980s. “Punta Pacifica” area was developed by the old airport (for the reason that was next to the Pacific coast and in the interior of the city). This region has been specially designed to provide a response to the real estate demand comes. The area offers beautiful projects and the high standard apartment towers. You will also find in “Punta Pacifica” malls (Multiplaza Pacific), hospitals (John Hopkins Hospital), corporate buildings and access roads (southern corridor), which will allow you quick access to the international airport in 15 minutes. It is also in this sector where the Trump Organization and the K group will increase its project promoted real estate. Another area desired for foreigners is East Coast.
The other city”, as it is also known was conceived and designed for the development of apartment buildings and gated residential communities. It is the perfect place for a foreigner to relocate entirely in Panama. This region boasts of all the schools, shopping malls, wide avenues, this sector offers diverse real estate with a magnificent view to the oa sea city, located five minutes away from the city now only ten from the international airport. It is important to note that the development of this tower of luxury is not confined to these few areas. There are also urban projects in the region of Punta Paitilla, Coco del Mar and San Francisco (all of them facing the sea), as well as beautiful residential areas developed in the vicinity of the Canal of Panama, such as Albrook and Clayton Quarry Heights.
Gorgeous projects of mountain with cool climate, recently arrived from 18 ° c to 20 c ° (64 ° F to 68 ° F) have been developed in the provinces of Coclé, Panama and Chiriqui. In the province of Panama, the mountain most representative project is located in the region of Sora, 75 minutes from the city and known as “Altos de María”. This project consists of a well organized community with spectacular scenery and utilities overseas. Another region of urban development is located in what is known as “Highlands” (Highlands), located in the province of Chiriqui (Volcan, Boquete and Cerro Punta). Among these places, gap has become one of the most important centers of real roots throughout the country, since it has a wide range of real estate projects, residential houses in the mountains with incredible landscapes. Gap is recognised by specialists as one of the best places to retire in the world, which has generated in the region’s largest concentration of foreign retirees in the country. Finally, in the province of Cocle, is the region known as “The Valley”. Located in an extinct volcano, El Valle offers the perfect climate, rivers, waterfalls, and tourist attractions. Valley is currently taking steps to become one of the regions most sought after in the area of mountain real estate, due to its facilities and infrastructure, as well as its proximity to Panama City (1 hour 45 min.)
The Pacific coast
Beachfront lots supply starts at the line of the Pacific coast of the province of Panama, and goes all the way up to the provinces of the country in the middle of. The majority of Panamanians of class high families have their beach houses in this sector, due to its proximity to the city (45 minutes). This line of coast offers residential areas as it came, Coronado, Punta Barco, San Carlos, Gorgona, among others. Within these residential areas of beach we have to highlight the region known as “Coronado”, region that has one of the best fields of golf professionals of Latin America, swimming pools, beach clubs, equestrian clubs, restaurants and wide range of houses and apartment buildings in front of the sea. In addition later in the Pacific coast line, is the region of Playa Blanca.
Since the development of the macro hotel project called “Royal Decameron” in the area, the environment and infrastructure in general have grown significantly. Playa Blanca, you will be able to find casinos, swimming pools, restaurants, bars and clubs, beach clubs and a variety of real estate right next to the beach. Finally, we must also mention the recent development in the coastal provinces of Los Santos (Pedasi), and Veraguas, as the beach of el Arenal, Punta Mala and Playa Venao, among others, which have become the new destination for many (mostly European) foreigners who are looking for large tracts of land in front of the sea.
The coast of the Caribbean
In this area, we can find a similar offer of real estate properties to that found on the Pacific coast of the provinces in the middle of the country. There are several properties in first line of sea, as well as large areas of acres next to the beach. This region is two hours away from Panama City and offers the option to buy in the area known is completely free. On the West side of the country, is on the coast of the Caribbean, the spectacular region of Bocas del Toro, where close to the sea or in the middle of an island properties are spectacular. A wide variety of international companies in real estate have started projects in the crystal clear waters of Bocas del Toro. Bocas is one of the best-known tourist destinations in Panama, located only 1 hour and 45 minutes by plane. It offers an incredible night life, restaurants, hotels and tours in the different islands of the area. Bocas del Toro costa has become the choice of real roots most sought by foreign retirees or pensioners in the Caribbean. The best areas in Bocas del Toro is on Isla Colon, Bocas del Drago, Red Frog Beach and long beach. Residential project known as Red Frog is recognized reputation in the international arena, since it offers an incredible development exclusively designed for foreigners in one of the most beautiful islands of Bocas del Toro, Bastimentos island. The project has clubs marinas, restaurants, homes and a dazzling infrastructure.
The most famous group of Islands is located in Bocas del Toro, since, as we have already mentioned, it offers a wide range of projects of real roots in the Caribbean, scene of several television series transmitted worldwide. The most important islands in the archipelago are: Isla Colon, Bastimentos Island, Isla Solarte, Cristóbal Island, island aft and Slipper island. In the same way, we can find several small independent Islands for private projects. He has Bocas Islands with an amazing ecosystem for diving, marine and bird watching. Another group of islands that are bred popularity is that the real estate market is located in the archipelago of the Gulf of mosquitoes, in front of the Pacific coast of the province of Chiriqui. This Gulf has been granted by the Government of Panama the title of ecological reserve, as a result of the great diversity of marine fauna found in the area. Most of the Islands have registered the titles of real estate, allowing their purchase of the system. The surroundings of these islands are famous for being one of the best places in the world for Black Marlin fishing. The archipelago las Perlas is located in the Gulf of Panama, three hours away from the city in the open sea, offering a group of over 35 beautiful islands with spectacular scenery, surrounded by coral reefs and vast vegetation. The beauty of this area attracted the production team of the popular reality show “Survivor”, who has filmed several times in this region. Finally, is the island of “Coiba” in the Pacific Ocean, former prison already abolished and today a national park. The main island and its small islands like Isla Iguana have become the most important destinations for diving and water sports.
What should and should not do when you buy a property in Panama?
As a last tip, we recommend you some tips where you decide to buy a property in Panama:
Recommendation 1: You can visit the projects on their own, but the assistance of a professional who could well introduce you to promoters, avoiding useless increase in price is recommended.
Recommendation 2: If you do not speak Spanish fluently, you should ask the promoter to get you the contract both in Spanish and in their native language, for all legal business to be performed.
Recommendation 3: once you book your property, immediately request a receipt and the promise of buying and selling agreement signing.
Recommendation 4: once you have signed this agreement, recheck the deadlines for subsequent initial payments of their property. Failure to comply with one of these little ones, they are exposed to lose the money already paid to the promoter.
Recommendation 5: Try to make a decision quickly on the acquisition of the property, since once you book, price freezes. Due to the current demand in the market, the prices on apartments grow at a monthly rate.
Recommendation 6: once you book your property, seek professional advice from lawyers or real estate, in order to verify all documentation and contracts is due to the registration procedure.
Recommendation 7: Think about the possibility of acquiring their property through a Panamanian corporation. They are incorporating rapid, considerably cheaper and easy to handle. Using a corporation to acquire a property in Panama it will facilitate a future transfer of the same, if that is the case.