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Panama City Is A Top Port Of Call For Property People

February 16, 2009Article by Ray Withers

Panama City, Panama is a port of call any property investor cruising round the world looking for high returns should consider. Property may be taking a hammering in a lot of old world markets due to the banking blitz, but in Panama City , business is booming. With an estimated 30,000 homes built in the 12 months ending July 2007 and another 40,000 planned or under construction, prices and Panama investment property yields are soaring. With the expansion of the canal and the importance that tiny stretch of man-made water has to world trade, Panama City sits proudly at the top table of current prospective property deals anyone looking to make money should investigate. What many investors don’t know is Panama is a retirement playground for wealthy, retired US citizens. Panama’s official currency is the US dollar and the cost of living is much cheaper – and with relocation to Panama comes a special 0% tax deal and citizenship. Almost 30,000 US citizens have already relocated to Panama to take advantage of exchange rate parity and tax benefits.
Panama tourism has become a real success story over the past decade. Growth in the sector in terms of investment, visitor numbers and tourism expenditure has boomed.

Tourism from the US is also growing, like at the newly launched Nations Hotel, Panama City just a stroll away from the financial district, offering expected net yields of 12% on investments including:

* Studio apartments from £95,245
* 1 bed apartments from £142,865
* 2 bed apartments from £357,972

Panama property investors can buy in to the Nations Hotel from just £37,810 with a 60% loan-to-value mortgage.
Hotel occupancy in Panama City is the second highest in the world behind Perth, Australia at about 85%.

Nations Hotel is a massive 26-storey structure stretching a whole city block and destined to become a key part of the Panama City panorama. Panama real estate investors can choose between varying sizes of one bedroom hotel rooms and also one and two bedroom apartments. Each is a turn-key package with all furniture and fittings included. As a five-star luxury development, the finishing is top quality and in keeping with a professional clientele of business people. Sterling Hotels is the development manager – the company currently has nine hotels under management with 1,677 rooms and includes brands such as Ramada Inn-Plaza’s, Howard Johnson’s, Days Inn, Travelodge, Wyndham Hotels and Worldhotels.

Finance for the Nations Hotel is available through several international banks, including HSBC and Scotia Bank. Currently, interest rates are at their lowest point in over 20 years. Interest rates in Panama are similar to those of the USA. As with all mortgages the terms are subject to status.
All income tax on rents and capital gains can be avoided in Panama by setting up a corporate structure to buy and manage the investment.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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