Tucked away and hidden off the Pan-American Highway in David, several country roads lead to new housing developments. These smaller developments are quiet, have great views, and a laidback atmosphere. You wouldn’t know you are only minutes from the bustle of the city of David. Most of these homes are owned by middle-class Panamanians. Now, expats are finding these treasured subdivisions and moving in.
These neighborhoods resemble those we all know from North America. Lighted wide streets with sidewalks, nice well-kept homes with beautiful landscaping capture the modern, and an upscale look and feel to these growing areas. Some of the neighborhoods have allowed custom homes to be constructed while others offer a selection of pre-approved plans for construction. Usually every project will have a small central park where the kids play and adults stroll in the evenings to enjoy being outside.
New construction in these small neighborhoods may surprise you. More and more new homes resemble North American architecture styles. Many of these have brick or stone facades, larger front windows, and wider driveways making curb appeal excellent.
A typical new model home in these neighborhoods includes at least two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a good size kitchen with granite counter tops. Bathrooms are fully tiled with nice size showers and vanities. Floors are all tiled and windows are large with screens and decorative iron bars. Many homes are walled with custom iron fencing or solid walls for privacy.
Now let’s talk price. Banks offer mortgages here at very good rates for new construction and as an added benefit if you purchase before a home is built, you can get really good pre-construction prices from $70,000 and up depending on lot size, house size, and the neighborhood. New construction includes only the house, no appliances, landscaping, or air conditioning. However, this means you can make it your own and pick out what you want to finish it off.
For example, in one subdivision, you have three choices of construction from $74,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home to $119,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
If you would rather have one of these homes that has already been built or lived in, you will find that many will be on the market furnished. These of course will be more expensive depending on the furnishings and extras. Still you can find these homes very reasonably priced compared to other areas in Chiriqui. For example, you can find a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in a subdivision that comes fully furnished for $150,000.
Another fairly new home for sale is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home for only $105,000.
Being aware of the Panama property taxes and how they are structured can also make a new home under $100,000 even more attractive. If you are not buying a home with a transferable 20-year Panama property tax exemption, then the current Panama property tax will apply. Today, the maximum annual property tax is 2.1% for any property valued over $75,000. With a sliding scale, a home valued at $100,000 would pay an annual property tax of $1,362.50 a year.
If you choose to buy an older home, you may be able to have a Panama property tax exemption transferred to you, if the previous owner received that exemption. The law regarding giving out those exemptions has ended. However, if the construction permit for the home was issued by Sept 1, 2006 and the occupancy permit was issued and improvements were registered by Sept 1, 2007, the property may have been given up to a 20-year property tax exemption at that time. So basically, if you buy a home that is more than 10 years old, you may still have some amount of tax exemption left.
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