Is Real Estate Expensive in Panama?

When settling down in Panama, one of the things you look at is real estate. You want to invest in some properties in the locale, so you need a good look at the market. Finding the best real estate to buy or rent is vital to your relocation.

Real estate in Panama is inexpensive but luxurious, giving you a piece of this beautiful locale. It’s easy to buy some properties in different locales, providing first-world luxuries and third-world prices. Expats can enjoy the same liberties in buying properties as Panamanian citizens. There are no property laws that make the entire buying process more complicated as it is.

With this in mind, let’s do a quick foray into Panama’s property market. Let’s glance at its real estate market and get a good understanding of how it works and the prices in it. We’re sure this is something you need.

Understanding the Real Estate Market In Panama

It’s important to note how much property for sale in Panama you’re going to see. We’re talking about a good chunk of properties that are much more affordable than other markets. As you can figure out, there is a big differentiation in pricing for cities and more provincial areas.

Panama City, in particular, will have more premium prices compared to areas like Pedasi or Chiriqui. The city is a modern metropolis, almost similar to many cities in the United States. You can find all types of comforts and amenities in there, so expect a higher level of pricing.

Even with the pricing in Panama City itself, it’s still far lower compared to many western countries. You’ll think it’s a bustling metropolis with a big crowd, but there are still so many stunning properties in it. Pursuing the lifestyle that you want is possible due to the uncomplicated property laws in the country.

Why?

Panama’s property laws bestow the same right to ownership to foreigners as local Panamanians. It is a fact that to get permanent residency, they encourage foreigners to invest locally. If you see a beautiful beach property for sale in Panama, you can learn the price and get it!

As a foreigner, you have the option to either buy or rent property in Panama. Both offer different types of advantages to you as an expat. Depending on what you do, you can be sure to get superb benefits.

So, should you buy or rent Panama property? This decision depends on what you want to do.

Why Buy Real Estate in Panama

Buying real estate in Panama is your best move if you are liquid enough to do it. Properties here are great as an investment opportunity if you’re trying to build a market. It’s also a superior living option if you’re settling down with your family.

Why buy property in Panama? If you’re looking to invest, you’ll be happy to know that the prices are moving up. With more people aware of the country, property prices are getting to a good point as an investment. This makes the real estate you buy now to be more valuable in the future when you want to sell.

If you get Panamanian real estate, you can get the equity you need. You can find the best place to live and get breaks. They are still, however, more inexpensive compared to similar real estate in other locales.

Many of the best locales are either mountainside or island beaches. For example, Boquete is a mountainside paradise that offers cool nights and rustic days. Retirees come here and developments are growing as the years go. Other great properties include areas like Pedasi, Santa Catalina, and Bocas Del Toro.

Most of the real estate owners sell in private, without go-betweens or real estate agents. There are no escrow and title agents in Panama. For secure transactions, you can use a local bank. It’s crucial to talk to a local attorney to help you work through the process.

Why? You need an attorney to handle details like getting “titulo de propriedad” (formal titled ownership) for certain areas. A local attorney will also help you steer off native Panamanian lands belonging to local tribes.

Real Estate Tax Exemptions in Panama

Once you buy a property, one of the benefits you’ll reap are tax exemptions. The Panamanian government will give foreigns up to 20 years of real estate tax exemption. This exemption applies to all the assets of the enterprise. The tax exemptions translate to thousands of dollars a year, which is a great incentive.

If you’re selling the property, the tax exemption is also transferable. All you need to do is deduct the years you used from what’s remaining on the property.

Most foreigners who buy property in Panama will get them flat out. This option gives you the best flexibility, and with the local prices, you likely can do that. Even then, local banks still provide fantastic financing options if you need them. As long as you’re a legal resident and have a good credit score, you should be good to go.

Panama Property Values: It’s All About Location

A good caveat of buying a property in Panama is the value of location. Differential pricing depending on premium locations apply, more here than the West.

While people will buy properties that have bad locations in the US, Panama is very different. Beautiful choices in locales make a bad investment a stinker if you have a bad location. At the same time, a good investment looks better with a good location.

What all this means is that real estate property is all about location, location, location. If you find a great location for cheap, you can flip it fast in the future. Luxury apartments and constructions are only great if they have a good location.

If you’re buying and hit a premium price, remember the pricing gets better with the incentives you get. To give you a baseline, $500,000 will get you some of the best luxury apartments. We’re talking about ocean views, beachside properties, and 3 to 4 bedrooms. The space you get will be more than twice any size you’ll get in the US for an equal price.

For more modest real estate, you can find properties outside the central business district. These will cost somewhere around $150,000 and they’ll have lower operating expenses. If you are buying for your family, this move is great to get your kids out of the CBD itself. You benefit from both the rustic countryside and quick access to the city.

Renting Real Estate in Panama

Renting real estate in Panama drums up a weird sense of shame to foreigners somehow. People say that those who rent only do so for a short-term stay. They also say it doesn’t bring much value, similar to throwing money away. The truth can’t be much further.

Many expats like to go for rental properties to see which locales they would want to settle. It’s a popular option for people looking to decide which kind of lifestyle they’re looking to have. The real estate rental market is very hot in almost all parts of the country.

Whether you have a rural property or an urban one, rental is a great option. It is even a good recommendation to rent for a while to get a feel for the area. Once you decide that you want to settle, it’s only then that you buy. Foreigners and locals alike are very flexible with leasing terms, so all you need to do is deal.

Things To Consider When Renting in Panama

For those looking to rent real estate in Panama, consider what type of budget you have. Like in any country, many properties closer to the city will be more expensive. Popular ocean properties, suburbs, and towns will be the same. Pricing in Panama City will differ with rental in Pedasi, and differ further from leasing in Chitre.

If you want to live near the business districts in Panama, you’d need around $1500 minimum. The upper limit should be somewhere between $4000 – $5000. These prices represent luxury places like Casco Viejo and Avenida Balboa. Expect lower prices in older buildings, residential neighborhoods, and lower-income areas.

You’ll find most rentals in Panama have furnishings, usually furniture, beds, and appliances. The common lease type is a year per contract, with the option for longer lease periods. You can pay month-to-month, but you won’t get rentals for anything less than 45 days. This situation is due to a local law that forbids the practice.

When getting a lease, consult with a skilled attorney to read the terms and conditions. Remember to have the leasing contract notarized to make sure that the contract is binding.

Conclusion

Is real estate expensive in Panama? The simplest answer is no, real estate in the isthmus is less expensive compared to western countries. You can invest here, buy cheap, and sell high. You can also settle down without worrying you’ll blow all your retirement money.

Even then, it’s vital to understand what people value with the local real estate market. If you’re looking to settle down, it’s best to rent a property in Panama and get a feel for the locale. Once you’re ready, buy a property with a superior location.

If you want to invest in real estate in Panama, it’s best to buy direct. Get properties from private individuals, but do so with care. We’re sure you’d love living or investing here.

Matt Romero

I’m Matthew Romero, one of the guys behind PanamaLifeInsider.com I am incredibly passionate about Panama, its beautiful territory, and all the incredible opportunities which offer to people coming here from all over the world both either visiting and settling. In this blog, I decided to share my passion with you!

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