Report: Surprisingly Different Panama
Media: Lufthansa Inflight Magazine
Publication Date: September 2016
A Piece of Paradise
With its affordable prices, sunny lifestyle and emerging business opportunities, Panama is attracting expats from around the world and has become a hotspot for real estate investment.
When Panama took control of the canal from the United States in 2000, many were sceptical as to the country’s economic potential. Could tiny Panama survive without the US military presence? Panama proved sceptics wrong, and while American soldiers and canal workers left, American retirees and international expats looking for better quality of life discovered the benefits of living and investing in the Central American country. This has made Panama’s real estate sector a key economic contributor and spurred the construction of high-rise office and condominium towers, as well as non-urban communities complete with golf courses and other amenities. “Opportunities for investment are now greater than ever,” says Manuel Arias, CEO of Arval Developers. “After a number of miracle years, market activity has returned to normal levels. It is a buyer’s market, with a very promising outlook.”
A Solid Reputation
Arias is convinced that Panama is rightly taking its place at the top of emerging markets and investment opportunities, although there is an oversupply of apartments, hotels and office space as a result of a building boom in the mid-2000s. While for Arval Developers A Piece of Paradise With its affordable prices, sunny lifestyle and emerging business opportunities, Panama is attracting expats from around the world and has become a hotspot for real estate investment. many developers, the term ‘buyers market’ is a scary term, this is not the case for Arias. “There is still demand for housing. We only use top quality products, and quite literally, pay attention to detail. This is what differentiates us from the competition.” His buyers, says Arias, have actually become his company’s biggest sellers.
While Panama City is a bustling metropolis with a fast-paced environment and skyscrapers, it is much more than that, he says. Arval Developers focuses on housing that appeals to homeseekers looking for the great outdoors. Albatross, Azalea and Greenview in the district of Santa Maria and Panorama in Coco del Mar are currently under construction, while apartments in Santa Maria’s Greengarden and Terrazas can be purchased at pre-construction stage. They all boast modern amenities and facilities, and are located in ‘green neighbourhoods’, offering breath-taking sea and country views.
Ecosystem of Support
Panama offers a flexible and competitive framework for local and foreign real estate investors alike. Foreigners can purchase and own land in Panama, the only restriction being on land within 10 kilometres of national borders. In addition, the purchase of property entitles foreigners to permanent residency visas, which can be converted to citizenship after five years. “Foreigners relocating to Panama can also benefit from a wide network of banks, insurance and relocation specialists,” says Arias. Other pull factors include the English-speaking friendly environment and an infrastructure that can compete with the developed world, with high-quality services and technology. Panama City is also one of the safest cities in the region and the healthcare system is full of US-trained professionals.
A Global Community
While American retirees were among the first foreign buyers in Panama, throughout the years individuals and families from Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Columbia, relocated, too. European expats, mainly British and Spanish, were also drawn to Panama for its comparatively affordable lifestyle. “Better flight connections mean increasing numbers of Europeans are currently discovering Panama,” says Arias. As they join the many international expats that have long been calling Panama home, prices are rising at a sustainable pace. “This makes the prospect of real estate investing that much more attractive.”