Panama Real Estate
Panama Real Estate: Double the Luxury for Half the Price
If you are considering a move to Panama, then you will be pleased to learn that there is a large amount of real estate for sale here. Whether you want to find a home in Panama City, a beautiful property in the mountains, or a house by the beach, Panama offers it all.
The Real Estate in Panama Is Inexpensive and Easy to Purchase
It is important to first note that most of the property you will find for sale in Panama will be much more affordable than what you may be accustomed to. Panama is regularly hailed for providing First-World luxuries at Third-World costs.
Panama City is a modern metropolis where you will easily find all of the amenities and comforts you need. Nevertheless, the country's economy is still developing, and prices are relatively inexpensive across the board. In other words, you will be able to find stunning properties for sale in Panama that you may not be able to find or afford elsewhere.
It is similarly important to point out that buying real estate in Panama is relatively simple. Foreigners in Panama enjoy the same property ownership rights as Panamanian citizens. So when you find that exquisite beach lot for sale and are ready to pursue your lifestyle dream, you needn't wade through painful property laws that persist in other nations. That said, you should always proceed cautiously and legally when eyeing real estate for sale in Panama. But rest assured that you will most likely be able to buy the property with little hassle.
Real Estate in Panama City
Those interested in living in booming Panama City will be happy to know that there is a long list of luxurious high-rise properties for sale. Many of these high-rises offer state-of-the-art modern facilities that are the definition of luxury. There are always properties for sale, but the apartments and condos are typically sold out well before the construction is finished. Do not let that dissuade you from researching the market—rather, take it as evidence of what a hot spot Panama City is becoming and the bright future ahead.
There are also countless other properties for sale in Panama City at even cheaper prices than the luxurious high-rises. There are attractive apartments and houses scattered around the city available for purchase. These properties may not be advertised as vigorously as the new high-rises under construction, but you can undoubtedly find quality properties for sale that suit all price ranges.
Property samples in Panama City:
- In the San Francisco area of the city is an apartment of about 860 square feet and features two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a laundry room. The unit comes with one allotted parking space. The building has a covered carpark with visitor parking, as well as a night doorman. Price: $78,000.
- In the neighborhood of Betania (where International Living’s Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch lives), there’s a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with balcony for sale. The unit is just seven years old and comes with a laundry room. The property is about 800 square feet and comes with one allotted parking space. Price: $79,500.
- A new apartment in Albrook is on the market. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit is about 900 square feet (including balcony) and comes with white-line included and central air conditioning. The building (with a doorman) boasts a social area with gym, pool, and party room. Price: $139,000.
Properties for Sale in the Mountains and on the Beaches of Panama
Many people looking for Panamanian real estate are not at all interested in living in Panama City. Many are, in fact, more attracted to life in the countryside, where the cool breezes and mountain valleys create an eternal spring-like climate. Boquete, in Chiriqui province, is the most famous of such locales, and there is much land and many developed properties for sale there.
Unfortunately, Boquete's many attributes have led to increasing popularity that has also spurned a rise in prices. People looking for slightly less expensive properties will be able to find them for sale in other comparable locations around Panama.
The forested mountains of Boquete offer another kind of paradise in Panama. This little valley, located in the mountainous Chiriquí region at an elevation of 3,500 feet, is one of the world’s most wondrous refuges. Due to its elevation, daytime temperatures rarely dip below 70° F in Boquete and rarely climb above 80° F.
Nights are cool and comfortable. Boquete is ideal, therefore, as either a year-round, full-time retreat, or as a place to escape to for several weeks of the year. In our minds, it’s hard to imagine a better haven than this little village. Boquete’s lush green hills, flowing rivers, and spectacular waterfalls make it one of the most unspoiled retirement retreats in the world today.
Retirees have flocked to this retirement gem. With banks, B&B's, hotels, and museums, Boquete is fast becoming an eco-tourist’s mecca. From our vantage point in Panama, we’ve noticed that Boquete has more to offer every time we look. In the last few years a number of new developments have sprung up, including a riverside restaurant, a hotel, a folklore shop with arts and crafts from Central America, a visitors’ center, and a sports center with basketball courts and baseball fields.
Property samples in Boquete:
- A two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in a secure, quiet neighborhood. About five minutes from the town center, the home is about 1,600 square feet and sits on a lot of just over 2,000 square feet. The home features a large laundry and storage room, custom wood cabinets in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, and comes with hot water heater and a water tank with pump system. Price: $90,000.
- A three-bedroom, two-bathroom home located just five minutes from downtown Boquete. The kitchen and bathrooms have granite counter tops, there is a kitchen island with wet bar and built in wine rack. The master bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub with an aquarium window view of the surrounding mountains. This house has 1,500 square feet of living space and all of the floors in this home are tiled and there is a beautiful gas fireplace in both the living room and on the patio. Price: $179,000.
- People searching for an endless summer rather than an eternal spring will probably be inclined to search out beach properties for sale in Panama. Thankfully, Panama has miles and miles of coastline. There are several developments where you can find excellent beachfront real estate for sale. Also, much of Panama's coast has yet to be developed, so you can find amazing beach lots for sale at bargain prices.
*Prices as of 2013
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When I think of country living in Panama, I think of Volcan in Chiriqui Province. To me, it offers the ideal blend of rural lifestyle in a small-town setting.
Fun and Sun in Panama’s Most Convenient Beach Community
Most folks looking for their dream home have a good idea what they want…a mountain estate with panoramic vistas, or perhaps a country cottage with a colorful garden.
Something strange happens when you’re buying property overseas. It happens to cautious folks, wary folks, even savvy folks that are seasoned pros when it comes to buying real estate. It’s something you need to watch out for. It’s getting caught up in the fine details of your contract…and, in doing so, losing sight of the forest for the trees.
Coffee plantations and orange groves line the slopes outside of the town of Santa Fe. Sparkling rivers, like the Santa Maria and Mulaba, rush around huge boulders to flow gently between the trees. Giant peaks tower above, one after the other, with names like El Salto, Cerro Tute, El Sapo, and Cerro Mariposa. With an elevation around 1,500 feet, Santa Fe is blessed with year-round cool temperatures, averaging in the 80s F during the daytime and 60s F at night. Clear blue skies yield to misty clouds among the mountain tops and in the low valleys. For nature-lovers, it doesn’t get any better.
Perhaps best known for its extravagant Carnaval celebration, Las Tablas is the center of Panama’s folkloric culture. Though not well known to North Americans, Panamanians flock here regularly, particularly to the two annual festivals that are held each year to honor the pollera, the national dress. But folklore is just the start of what this friendly little town has to offer. In-the-know expats have been coming here for several years. They come from all over—we’ve met residents from Europe, South America, the U.S., and Canada.
When I started apartment hunting in Panama City almost a decade ago, I thought I knew what neighborhood I wanted to live in: the ritzy International Banking District, where the tallest skyscrapers face the sparkling Panama Bay. The area had undeniable cachet, and everyone I knew was living there. The district is in the heart of downtown, where you’ll find the best hotels, restaurants, shops, and more. Since 2009, new pedestrian walkways, green areas, and recreation facilities line the bay. On any given day you’ll see people jogging, buying fruit, or just sitting and enjoying the pleasant atmosphere.
For me, and plenty of other Americans and Canadians who have scratched the surface, the capital of Chiriqui Province in western Panama is a retirement location that’s hard to resist. If you’re looking for a convenient hub city that’s a manageable size, David should be top of your list. It’s Panama’s third-largest city and second only to Panama City for shopping, healthcare, services, logistics, education, and just about anything else. And, with a population of about 86,000, (the larger district of David has a population of about 250,000), it’s certainly manageable.
From the quaint town of Cotacachi to the vibrant capital, Quito, from Salinas by the sea to the peaks of the Andes, Ecuador’s diversity is a key part of the massive appeal that sees it regain the coveted top spot on this year’s retirement index. Although prices have risen slightly in recent years, Ecuador’s real estate is still the best value you’ll find anywhere. This is bolstered by the generous array of benefits the government has afforded to retirees. Over-65s get discounts on flights originating in Ecuador, as well as up to 50% off entry to movies and sporting events. Discounts are also available on public transport (50%) and utilities, with the option of a free landline if you purchase a property.
There are many low-cost places to retire to in Panama. For those who enjoy the slower pace of rural living, Chiriquí Province, where I live, offers a delightful climate, easy convenience, and a quality lifestyle in an affordable retirement destination. While the city of David offers all the amenities of a good-sized city and the town of Boquete is a favored expat haven, some of the smaller towns in the area combine access to these desirable features with a lower cost of living. Dolega is one such small town in Chiriquí Province in western Panama. The four-lane highway that runs north and south between David and Boquete runs right through Dolega, so it’s easy to find. A new pedestrian overpass marks the main turnoff into town, at the Municipal Palace, shaded by a gigantic mango tree. Dolega is the administrative seat of the district of the same name, which encompasses a total of nine towns such as Los Anastacios, Dos Rios, Los Algarrobos and Potrerillos.
Foliage presses up against the perfect, charcoal gray road. Though this time of year is known as the “rainy season” in Panama, the sky in this region is a powerful blue, and the sun is shining hot and strong. It’s quiet, and I pass very few cars…and perhaps just as many horses. For my recent scouting trip I drove the five hours from Panama City to Pedasí, a town of about 2,500. It’s a place that’s been growing in comfort and convenience— slowly but surely—since 2004. Over the past couple years in particular, it has become a burgeoning expat hub. Still, it remains a place where a couple can live on $1,300 a month including rent, and as little as $950 if they own.
The original Riviera (from the Italian word for “seashore”) sprang up in southern France and the bordering region of Italy. Upper-crust Brits, northern Europeans, and—later—well-heeled Americans flocked here for the beach resorts, casinos, and parties. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald had a villa here in the Jazz Age, although it’s said he was a horrible party guest. The term riviera has been adopted by regions all over the world, in places where the sun, surf, and vacation vibe live on. And when we hit the new-school rivieras in the developing world, expect to get a real bang for your real estate buck.
Not so long ago, you could pick up properties around my home province of Chiriquí for a fraction of their boom-time prices. In the hills and villages around Boquete, where an estimated 12,000 expats live, spacious mountain-view homes were selling for as much as 50% off. This drop was due to the 2008 financial crisis, which left many North Americans and Europeans with homes in these lush valleys in need of funds.
To live the big city life for less and enjoy a world-class retirement look no farther than the San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City. I chose to live in San Francisco because of its walkability, its amenities, and just how close it is to the kind of action that makes for a great city life…and from gourmet delis to evenings at the opera, I enjoyed every minute.
The first time I saw Chiriquí Province I was enchanted. It felt familiar and was just so green! Although I was born and raised in New Jersey, I’m a country girl at heart and Chiriquí felt like home. My husband Al and I had rented a car to tour Panama in our quest for a new place to live. Having traveled throughout Central America, Panama was our pick due to its warm climate, low cost of living, developed infrastructure and economic and political stability. We came back to stay in 2009, made our home in Chiriquí and I’m still awed by the stunning scenery.
Sarah Booth was only 23 when she bought her first vacation rental. It was a tiny studio in a ski resort village in Canada, but it was the beginning of a portfolio that now includes properties in Panama, Colombia, and Mexico…and an income that allows Sarah to enjoy a wonderful lifestyle from her home in Coronado, Panama. “Ultimately, my rentals have funded my lifestyle and my travels,” says Sarah. “I live for free and enjoy awesome rental yields.”
Warm and sunny days…beautiful people lounging on the sand as surfers vie for choice waves… palm tree-lined boardwalks in picturesque beachside towns, dramatic craggy cliffs…the California coast has certainly captured the popular imagination. No wonder; it’s one of the most pleasant places in the world to live. But on the flip side, it also has some of the most expensive real estate in the world and a high cost of living.
“What are you doing tomorrow?” That’s how the best weekends start in Panama. Last-minute invitations are never considered rude. And I’ve learned they should always be accepted…especially if you want to explore the country. So the next thing I knew, I was piling into a pickup truck with two local friends and heading to the little mountain town of Cerro Azul.
To me, there’s something almost magical about the beach. From the peaceful sounds of the surf breaking against the shore to the squawking of the gulls high above, it conjures up visions of simpler times when the only worry in the world was whether or not the water would wash away our sand castle.
Whenever my husband and I have guests who visit us, we make sure to take them to the highland town of Volcan, in the Chiriqui Province in western Panama. Named for Baru Volcano, the only volcano and the highest peak in Panama—reaching 11,480 feet—Volcan is a pleasure to travel to. The drive from our home in the city of David involves driving past some stunning scenery.
What if you were sitting in the shade of a palm tree looking out at coral white sands on a tropical island? Yesterday, you were learning to paddleboard from a hidden cove, and tomorrow you’ll explore surfing spots farther up the mainland coast. Tonight you’ll choose from French cuisine, Italian pasta, or feast on fresh-caught tuna while watching the game at Smileys bar.
When moving abroad, renting a place to stay is an attractive option that offers a lot of advantages, whether you’re headed to Costa Rica, Malaysia, France, Mexico, Ecuador, Ireland…or any country. If you plan to buy or build a home eventually, renting allows you to investigate a region and/or community…or several…before you put down roots. You don’t want to be stuck in a neighborhood, region, or home you don’t like.
Are you dreaming of a California lifestyle…but think that you’re unable to afford it? If so, you’ll want to consider Coronado, Panama. Just an hour’s drive from the only First-World city in Central America, at first glance you might notice that Coronado isn’t the cheapest retirement choice in the world…or even in Panama. A couple would want a total of $2,000 to $3,000 a month to live comfortably within the Coronado gates (including rent). Monthly rentals can be found for $1,000 to $2,000, and homes sell for $175,000 to $300,000…
For many, Latin America conjures up images of steamy, wildlife-filled jungles and beautiful people lounging on tropical beaches, sipping umbrella-bedecked drinks. But there’s a whole other side to Latin America…regions where temperate—even cool—climates and jaw-dropping vistas of snow-covered volcanos are the order of the day.
The first time I visited Pedasi, I thought to myself, “Is this it?” Small colonial homes line the main strip, behind which you’ll find a small plaza flanked by a neat little white church. There are usually a few old-timers sitting under the gazebo, wearing the same sombreros pintados (painted hats) their fathers and grandfathers wore.
Panama City is one of the world’s top cities for retirees. There are plenty of reasons. For one thing, Panama’s Pensionado program provides the most attractive range of retiree benefits you’re likely to find anywhere. The temperature rarely drops below 68 F. And the city is jam-packed with modern amenities, thousands of restaurants, glittering shopping malls, cinemas where you can catch English-language movies…
In the heart of rural Panama, nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano, El Valle is a place of orchids, rainforest greens, and canary-yellow flowers. Though it’s relatively unknown beyond Panamanian borders, locals argue that no other town can match it. And not just because of the singular beauty of the velvety-green mountaintops.
As I sit here sweating in the middle of January it’s hard to imagine that it’s cold somewhere. Our friends back in the U.S. are still working, yet I’m only 53 years old and happily retired now for two years. The past two and a half years have gone by quickly as we’ve settled into our new life in Panama.
In much of Panama, sultry tropical days average 88F…but there are places where you can experience more temperate weather. Think mild and breezy—up to 10 degrees cooler (or more, when the sun’s not out). Places where rain will be your biggest concern…where there’s no hail, or snow, or hurricanes either. The most popular is the mountain town of Boquete, located in the Province of Chiriquí.
It’s hard to believe four years have passed since I moved to Panama. It’s even more incredible to think that I left the U.S. almost nine years ago. I live in David, the capital of Chiriquí Province in the west of the country. I didn’t plan to move here; it was never on my “to do” list. But when my husband, Al, and I first saw the rolling hills and slopes lined with rows of vegetable plants, acres of pineapple and rice fields, coffee plantations…
You might not “get” Coronado, Panama’s fastest growing beach town, immediately. There’s no main square or plaza, and at a glance it looks rambling and unremarkable. But trundle down its mansion-lined lanes, and you’ll find there are many hidden gems.
I have discovered my favorite way to view a property for sale. First, you get an hour-long massage costing just $45. Then you eat your fill of fresh-off-the-boat tuna for just $8. And finally, you take a five-minute walk through the streets of Pedasi, Panama and take a look at this house on the left. For sale for $80,000, it’s a two-bedroom, 743-square-foot home currently renting for $600 a month unfurnished.
It’s hard to believe four years have passed since I moved to Panama. It’s even more incredible to think that I left the U.S. almost nine years ago. I live in David, the capital of Chiriquí Province in the west of the country. I didn’t plan to move here; it was never on my “to do” list. But when my husband, Al, and I first saw the rolling hills and slopes lined with rows of vegetable plants, acres of pineapple and rice fields, coffee plantations and orange groves, I said to myself, “This is it; this is where I want to live.”
There’s always room for wealth creation. Despite the world’s economic woes, the number of people with $30 million or more in net assets rose by 5% globally last year. And according to the Frank Knight Wealth Report 2013, over the next 10 years there’ll be a 50% rise in the number of people breaking that barrier.
Prepare to buy in Panama. I first scouted real estate opportunities here nine years ago and since then there has been a lot of changes. The canal is being expanded with a $5.25 billion investment and an investment of $1.9 billion investment in a new city-wide metro. Balboa and Colón were two of Latin America’s busiest ports last year.
Right now, real estate values in Panama’s highland country around Boquete are perhaps the best they have ever been—certainly the best in seven years.
It may be your lifelong dream to live in Paris, Rome, or London…the grand old cities of Europe with a foot in the past and another firmly in the present.
A short stroll up the hill from Boquete town center is the exclusive neighborhood of Santa Lucía. Here I saw a 1,900-squarefoot home on a corner lot. I met the seller who wants out now. I reckon he would accept an offer of $152,000. Before the economic crisis he would have easily gotten $210,000. Close by, in Volcancito Village, for just $95,000 you can own…
Right now, real estate values in Panama’s highland country around Boquete are perhaps the best they have ever been—certainly the best in seven years. A short stroll up the hill from Boquete town center is the exclusive neighborhood of Santa Lucía.
Sunday morning breakfasts, poker nights, backyard barbecues, book clubs, church groups, happy hours…expats all around the world know that a sense of community is what truly makes you feel at home.
Panama Real Estate
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