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Panama Property Investment For Sale

 

"An excellent choice for retirees in a strong and growing economy."


Panama is the entire isthmus connecting Central and South America. From its mountainous interior and tropical rainforests in protected national parks, to the long coastlines – the Pacific ideal for surfing and sport, the Caribbean offering coral reefs, island archipelagos and quieter waters for bathers and divers, Panama is a geographic wonder.

Unlike other Central and South American countries Panama’s thriving economy is not based on exports but the well-developed services sector which includes the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, insurance and tourism.  Continued long term economic growth will continue as a result of the $5.3 billion Panama Canal expansion project, doubling the Canal’s capacity.  As a result of this and other logistic improvements, unemployment has also been reduced dramatically and poverty levels are improving.

All indications are that Panama will continue to thrive going forward and is attracting increasing numbers of tourists, property investors and those wishing to retire to the sun.

Foreign investors are subject to exactly the same laws on property ownership as Panamanians and are protected by an extremely advanced administrative system which means the real estate market is secure and being driven steadily upwards.  Alongside excellent tax benefits for foreign investors, Panama offers one of the top retiree benefit programs in the world, which includes large discounts on medicines, treatments and public transport, shipping of household goods tax-free, no tax on foreign earned income and no inheritance tax.

Country Guide

Geography

Panama is a country that connects the northern and southern American continents. Bordering Colombia to the east, Costa Rica to the west and the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean to the north and south respectively, the country is very mountainous with low lands along the coastlines. There is only a quarter of the country that is inhabited with people living mostly in and around Panama City and Colon, the country's two major cities, or in the low lands. Panama is set in an ideal location as it is doesn't suffer from any natural disasters such as hurricanes and earth quakes.

GovernmentPanama has a presidential representative democratic republic which means the President is both head of state and head of the government.  The National Assembly is elected by proportional representation which means there are many small parties represented and the this also means the President does not necessarily need an majority to be elected.

Language

The official language in Panama is Spanish but English is widely spoken by many and a large number of locals are bilingual.

Standard of Living

Panama is rapidly becoming known as a popular tourist and retirement destination thanks to the very high standard of living the country enjoys. Panama has an excellen health care system, infrastructure and a low cost of living. English is widely spoken throughout the country and it is a safer place to live than neighbouring countries such as Columbia.

 

Country Economy

Panama is politically stable with a government dedicated to improving the welfare of its population through investment and economic growth. The country currently has the most stable economy in Latin America and growth has outperformed expectations in recent years. Medical facilities are first class and education is improving, though an estimated 40% of the population still live in poverty. Although it is still classed as an undeveloped country, Panama is showing steady economic growth with a growing tourist industry. 

Key Industries

Panama has the second largest trade free zone in the world. Services are currently the country's biggest sector with logistics, banking, insurance and tourism taking presidence.

Panama exports more goods to Spain than any other country.  These exports include manufactured goods, bananas and shrimps. 

Hotspots

Panama City

Once an important point for trade between colonial powers, Panama City is still a bustling, commercial hub, situated on the Pacific coast and the Panama Canal. A large proportion of the population is employment in international banking and other financial and service industries, in addition to the retail and hospitality sectors and, of course, the port with its shipping and trade. 

The city can be divided into two main areas: the modern district with its proliferation of high-rise condominiums, retail malls and office blocks; and the old town, Casco Viejo, a colonial gem. The government has offered financial incentives for those investors willing to renovate properties in the Casco Viejo district, and the increasing number of fashionable bars and hotels provide evidence that things are starting to change here. 

Balboa

The area of Balboa, directly on the canal, is already a large and important shipping port, but it is soon to be a centre of further economic growth. Two new mega-ports are planned in the area, in addition to the construction of a large oil refinery.

Much of the property in Panama City consists of apartments, often in apart-hotel complexes both in the city centre and suburbs, catering to the local residential population and the ex-pat employees and retirees market. 

Beach resorts

Pacific coast resorts, such as Conorado, Gorgona and Punta Barco are around an hour from Panama City and have long been popular with both overseas visitors and Panamanians. 

Colon

The province of Colon on the Caribbean coast has some of the country's most spectacular scenery and best beaches. It is also home to Colon City, Panama's second largest city and busy international commercial hub. Colon also has a free trade zone measuring around 400 hectares and is situated at the entrance of the Panama Canal on the Caribbean coast. The region is one of the most important trade centres in the world, second only to Hong Kong, with some of the best air, rail and road infrastructure in the country. Unfortunately, the city is in decline, crime-ridden, with high unemployment and large numbers of people living in slums. It is not a location that attracts many investors. However, the area also offers attractive coastal towns, such as Portobello and Isla Grande, and is the site of several new marina developments. 

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is an archipelago on the Caribbean side of the country; there are five main islands and many smaller, undeveloped ones. An area of unspoilt tropical forests, beaches and reefs, the location appeals to weekending locals and overseas tourists as well as investors.  Buyers should note that much of the land in this area, especially beachfront, is government owned meaning that there is not necessarily any legal title to it. Vendors may attempt to sell with 'possession rights' (see Purchase Process), but this does not grant any legal ownership.
 

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