Where to buy Property in Panama is an important factor that many must consider before looking into Panama real estate investment. Panama is a relatively small country, but it has a lot of diverse areas and markets when it comes to properties. Buying property in Panama as a foreigner is popular due to Panama’s lack of burdensome regulations, as well as the pricing and strategic location of the country. It’s also a US dollarized market, which means that inflation will affect investment properties far less than its neighbors. There are different advantages for different buyer types in Panama, and many of these are location-based as much as they’re budget-based. Here’s a brief overview of some markets where we think you should buy property in Panama, and why.
The housing market in Boquete, Panama has been steadily growing for quite some time now, due to its massive appeal for foreign investment. Boquete is a small town, and it has both a unique climate and culture that appeal to both foreigners and Panamanians alike. It is, by far, the #1 destination for people looking to retire in Panama, and this has created a lot of value from a real estate sense. There is a somewhat consistent demand for Boquete properties from both a rental and sales perspective, which keeps prices relatively high. There is also a limited supply, as Boquete is in the mountains, and not overdeveloped in the main areas of the town or its surroundings.
Rental rates can fluctuate in Boquete, however, as there are price corrections that happen with economic swings from North America. There is also more new housing that is being built near the town of Boquete, which may dilute the market a bit. The center of Boquete and its immediate surroundings, however, hold a lot of long-term value and though more expensive, tend to be a safer bet for long-term investment.
The neighborhood of “Casco Viejo” in Panama City, which is the old city term for the San Felipe district, is one of the most sought-after places for property investment in Panama. The reasons are fairly simple, too. The area is a well-preserved colonial district that is protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. There are no real “new” buildings in Casco, but rather renovated ones. It has a huge appeal for tourists, as well as high net worth long-time renters, so from an investment perspective, it’s hard to match. Many people also choose to live in Casco themselves, as the neighborhood provides many conveniences that others do not (particularly in the walkability category).
As prices for real estate in Panama City fluctuate, Casco tends to hold value with more stability. There are risks involved in Casco, however, and ones that are worth considering. When buying a property in Casco Viejo, it’s important to make sure the property is up to date. There are so many old buildings, that it’s worth doing a lot of due diligence on the building’s structural status, water pipes, plumbing, and even street condition. These factors can lead to headaches in the future and are avoidable with some research and meticulous planning.
The Azuero Peninsula of Panama was a relatively under-looked area for property investment until recently. It is the peninsula at Panama’s southern tip, and famous for its incredible beaches, and authentic vibe. Unlike some beaches on the Pacific coastline, most of the Azuero has not been mass-developed. This is actually a big part of its appeal. Some areas like Pedasi and Playa Venao have seen massive growth in construction recently, but it’s still not at a level where it would cause concern for an investor or resident.
The main reason investing in the Azuero Peninsula is a good idea is that there are many towns that have yet to capitalize on the tourism and foreign residency demand. There is a lot of room to grow the tourism market, as well as the expat market, and those looking at ecotourism or sustainable living solutions. As the popularity of this area rises, so will the infrastructure to get there via plane, car, or bus. It’s located far enough from any big city to avoid suburban sprawl, but close enough to make it attractive for tourism and even 2nd home options for Panamanians and foreigners living in Panama City.
The town of Volcan is an interesting one when it comes to buying property in Panama. It’s on the other side of the mountain from Boquete, and though it shares a similar climate and natural beauty, is far less developed. Volcan has some of the best price-to-value properties in western Panama because of its proximity to Boquete. It’s a short drive from the commercial center of town, and has a ver small business community of its own. The appeal here, however, is a rural lifestyle. Volcan is deep in Panama’s coffee country, which is the industry that supports most of the economy there. What it also does is draw tourism.
The tourism market for coffee farms and mountain exploration is underrated in our estimation. Also, because it is close to Boquete, Volcan offers a lower-cost alternative for people who’d like to live that lifestyle but on a tighter budget. As Boquete’s popularity continues to grow, more people will choose Volcan as a nearby alternative. That has positive benefits from both a lifestyle and investment perspective when it comes to real estate.
Panama’s interior tourism market was heating up pre-COVID, and should rebound strong as we head out of the COVID-19 pandemic limitations. Boca Chica is a small town in one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the Pacific coast of Panama. It is a picture-perfect beach town with incredible, quiet beaches and islands around it. This is a gem of a place for ecotourism, or for residents who want to live around unspoiled nature and calm. Land to develop is very limited here and there are no large-scale residential or commercial projects. This means that the value should only go up, and even with a limited volume of visitors and residents, hold its appeal.
If you’re looking to buy property in Boca Chica to live in yourself, there is a tremendous value in the location, too. Lifestyle on the coast is relaxed, safe, and literally surrounded by tropical natural wonders on all sides. You’ll also find great options for food and drinks, and plenty of excursions to do in the outdoors from a few different local and international tour providers.
For more info, or to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns, contact POLS Attorneys here.