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Panama Real Estate
Since the Spanish Conquest, Panama has held a privileged geographic, commercial and cultural position. Panama was first visited by Europeans in 1501 on an expedition led by Rodrigo de Bastidas. Santa Maria la Antigua del Darien was the first city on “terra firme”, founded by Christopher Colombus. After crossing Panama, Vasco Nuñez arrived at the Pacific Ocean, and it was then that the Isthmus gained importance as a passageway, which is still true today.
From this era, the first “Panama Real Estate” was erected, including numerous stone buildings. In the 16th century, these buildings were part of Panama’s city center, known today as Panama City “La Vieja,” which was destroyed by the pirate Henry Morgan in 1671. Nowadays, these buildings provide Panama City with a beautiful historical landmark. The total destruction and looting led to the construction of a new Panama City in 1673, which is better known today as Casco Antiguo, named a heritage for humanity by UNESCO in 1997 and is presently one of the city’s most valuable real estate sectors.
From Avenida Balboa one can actually observe the stark contrast between the past, present and future of Panama. At one extreme is Casco Viejo, the oldest city on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. Casco Viejo’s architecture is a mixture of influences from the Spanish Explorers and French Colonial, from the first attempt made by the French to build the Panama Canal. Punta Paitilla, also visible from Avenida Balboa, is a well established residential zone possessing the highest concentration of skyscrapers in Panama City. Next to Punta Paitilla is Punta Pacifica, an up and coming residential zone undergoing an immense amount of construction, including the well known Trump Ocean Club, among other breathtakingly beautiful high rise towers, all with unobstructed ocean front views.
The Real Estate Boom in Panama – A Property for Everyone
Though Panama is small in size, its variety of real estate is huge. The spectrum of Panama real estate includes properties on deserted islands, spectacular beaches, highland estates and apartments in the center of the metropolitan Panama City. Panama offers unparalleled opportunities for investors, businessmen and retirees looking for a change of pace.
Panama’s unique characteristics, such as its circulating currency (the United States dollar), social and political stability, the warmth of the people and the beauty of the environment, have converted Panama into a favorite destination for many travel buffs. Furthermore, these same characteristics have provided the fuel for the real estate boom currently taking place in Panama.
In Panama’s highlands, one can find a mild climate, ideal for farming, raising livestock or simply enjoying oneself. The quality and beauty of its beaches and crystalline waters, on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, separated by a two hour drive, leave many breathless and yearning to return. Or, better yet, purchase real estate and make it a second home or retirement destination.
Panama City, the capital of the Republic of Panama, is a bustling and fully functional business center, possessing all the comforts of the first world, not to mention all the vitality and liveliness of its yearly “Carnavales” parties.
Thanks to these and other advantages, the industry experiencing the largest amount of growth in Panama is real estate, with over 70% of projects intended for retirees from North America and Europe.
Investment Opportunities in Panama
The real estate boom in Panama can be attributed to various factors. Firstly, legislation was passed providing incentives for developers and buyers, including extremely beneficial exonerations and subsidies for the real estate industry in Panama. The favorable laws have attracted well known, powerful foreign investors to Panama, including Donald Trump, who is developing the Trump Ocean Club, a project that includes a hotel, casino, yacht and beach club and condominiums, among other comforts.
Panama’s beauty and benefits has contributed to its international fame as a popular destination for retirees, given its comforts and low cost of living. In Panama, there are currently around 15,000 North Americans that can live well on $2000 dollars per month.
Furthermore, 30-year financing is available from recognized financial institutions for approximately 80% of the property’s value. However, please seek the advice of a legal professional.
Panama has been an interesting destination for the traveler, businessman and immigrant since colonial times. The real estate boom will undoubtedly lead to the rediscovering of this tropical paradise.
Written by Mona Sutherland and Julieta Ledezma