Aug 28, 2019

What makes investing into Panama real estate a universal business solution?

Here it is: the real property that you buy in Panama can bring you profit if you let it on a lease or sell it after some time, it can serve as your business office or residential accommodation, and it will provide for a legal basis to apply for permanent residency in Panama. Sounds inviting, does it not?

Panama is the Central American leader in attracting foreign investments

Over the last few decades, Panama has been the place where immigrants from all over the world find their new homes. The capital of the country – Panama City – is sometimes referred to as “Latin American Singapore”.

This is because the city is a modern cosmopolitan megalopolis with advanced infrastructure, wonderful roads, high-speed Internet connection, and high-quality mobile services. Panama City is undoubtedly a First-World spot in Latin America. 

Investment into Panama real estate will not only serve the purpose of asset diversification but will also provide for your economic freedom as well as civil rights and asset protection. There are plenty of investment opportunities around but buying real property in Panama looks especially attractive.

According to the Central American investment report of 2018, direct foreign investments (DFI) into the region amounted to US$ 12.7 billion that year.

Panama received US$ 6.5 billion of the total sum and the other US$ 6.2 billion was divided among seven other countries. It can be concluded from this fact that Panama has the top priority with foreign investors as it receives the lion’s share of the total DFI in Central America. Thanks to the foreign investments into the country, Panama’s GDP grows by 5% to 6% on average every year.

The following factors incentivize the investors to bring money to Panama: the extension of the Panama Canal and increase of its transit capacity; the construction of the third bridge over the Canal; the launch of the construction of the fourth bridge; and many other infrastructure development projects.

In addition to that, a new copper mine has been opened in the north of Penonomé city in Cocle province. The mine operations requires at least 10,000 workers and its expected working lifespan is minimum 34 years.

Even though Panamanian natives will constitute the largest part of the entire personnel, Panama experiences a shortage of skilled professionals. Those will have to come from abroad and thus they will have to rent or buy living accommodations. This factor is going to put Panamanian real estate in higher demand.

Usually foreign specialists are hired on two- or three-year contracts and they return home or relocate to another foreign country afterwards. As far as the copper mine in concerned, there are regulations requiring that all foreign specialists reside within one-hour drive from the mine. This means that the demand for real estate in the northern part of Penonomé is going to grow dramatically in the nearest future.

The mine development project includes the establishment of a residential complex with a transportation hub, and a condominium hotel with apartments and commercial office spaces.

The copper mine project is only one example of Panama investment potential. You can be one of those foreign investors into Panama real estate who will find financial security, profitability, and investment portfolio diversification perspectives.

Take the good chance to buy property in Panama

The real estate sector in Panama is the primary investment target with foreigners. Thanks to foreign investments, the prices of real property have grown considerably in comparison to 2013 when foreign nationals started actively buying property in Panama.

Today the situation on the real estate market is beneficial for the buyer. A few years ago, when Panamanian construction companies saw that the demand for real property was growing, they began erecting new buildings in large quantities. As a result, the supply of residential accommodations and commercial estate currently exceed the demand. A large number of houses and especially apartments in high-rise buildings are still waiting to be sold.

At the moment a great number of hotel suites remain unoccupied and new furnished apartments are not lived in. The prevalence of supply over demand has led to a fall in rental and sales prices. 

Of course, this situation does not make the developers happy as they have to reduce the prices and ‘freeze’ unfinished construction projects because of their bank loan obligations.

But there are always two sides of the coin. The decline in the real estate sector has brought troubles to the sellers but at the same time, it is advantageous for the buyers. Today a foreign national can purchase a residence place in Panama at a very affordable price. The quality of the accommodation, however, will meet the highest standards.

Once again: the material quality, the luxurious interior decorations, and the surroundings where the buildings are located will live up to your highest expectations. However, the price is going to be much lower than the price for similar accommodations in the capitals of the First-World countries.

Meanwhile, these lucrative conditions are not going to remain in place for a long time. The economy of the country is growing, the national elections are over, and the new Government will make every effort to attract new investors and change the situation in the real estate sector.

Things can actually change very soon as Panama is actively developing economic contacts with China. One large investment project has already been launched. Chinese companies are building a railroad between Panama City and David. On the whole, Chinese investors are growing more and more interested in establishing closer economic relations with Panama.

After a general agreement with China was signed, direct flights from Panama City to Beijing were put into place. The procedure of issuing visas to Chinese visitors has also been simplified and the number of tourist to Panama from the Celestial Empire grew by 40% in 2018.

Now, China is the largest supplier of tourists in the world, and the Panamanian Government hopes that the tourist industry in the country is going to boom again in the near future. The state authorities also expect that the growing number of Chinese tourists will eventually turn into a large number of Chinese investors into Panama real estate. The more property the Chinese buy or rent in Panama, the faster its economy is going to grow.

Here is some more news from Panama of interest to potential investors. Panama City mayor’s office has secured the backing of President Cortizo for the cleaning up and refurbishing of the city beaches. When this project is over, the cost of the property in the vicinity of the beaches will double or even triple.

It is simple: invest into real property in Panama and you will acquire legal residency in the country

The process of purchasing property in Panama is analogous to that in the USA or Canada. The foreigner’s property rights are protected as effectively as those of the locals in the country. There are some minor restrictions conditioned by national security considerations. In particular, foreign nationals are not allowed to buy property closer than sixteen kilometers (ten miles) to the Costa-Rican and Columbian borders.

At the same time, the Panamanian legislation permits buying real estate in the country on a power of attorney issued in the name of a licensed lawyer or a law firm. Thus, you do not even have to visit Panama in order to buy some property there.

If you purchase a residential accommodation with the intention to live there permanently or temporarily, you can file an application for a permanent residence permit right after you sign the purchase agreement.

We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that a new property tax law came into effect in Panama in January 2019. In accordance with this law, the new untaxable worth of residential real estate is US$ 120,000. It is four times more than it was in the previous version of the law. This regulation covers only one piece of residential property.

In addition to that, if the cost of the family accommodation in a newly constructed building is between US$ 120,000 and US$ 300,000, this property is tax-exempt for three years.

At the same time, if you buy the type of real estate that falls under older tax regulations, you may find that you will not have to pay the property tax for the next 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years. We encourage you to seek the lawyer’s advice in order the make use of the most significant privileges available.

As the Panamanian Government in interested in attracting foreign investors to the country, it has put into effect several visa programs that will lead to Panamanian legal residency in exchange for some investment into the country’s economy. Below please find concise descriptions of three most popular of such programs.

Economic Investor visa

With this visa program, you are supposed to bring minimum US$ 300,000 to Panama. The investment can be made in several forms. You can buy a piece of real estate that is worth at least that much; or buy several pieces of real property that together are worth as much; or put the money in the bank for three years; or spend part of the sum on purchasing real estate depositing the rest of it into the bank. The essential requirement is that you shall invest minimum US$ 300,000 into Panama in total.

It has to be emphasized that the investment is going to be fully returnable. You are entitled to sell the property and/ or withdraw your money from the account after three years. And you will still keep the permanent residence permit.

You can find more information about this immigration program here.

Pensionado visa

With this visa program, you will have to conclusively prove to the Panamanian immigration authorities that you have a guaranteed lifetime monthly income of at least US$ 1,000. A state pension, for example, will serve as such source of guaranteed income. In case you buy real property that is worth US$ 100,000 or more, you will have to show that your income is stable at US$ 750 per month.

You can find more information about the Pensionado visa program here.

Friendly Nations visa

Unlike the two immigration programs described above, this one will not suit citizens of all countries of the world. Only the citizens of fifty nations that Panama has established especially friendly relations with are eligible to apply for a Friendly Nations visa. This is the easiest and the fastest way to obtain legal residency in Panama.

If you purchase real estate in Panama that is worth US$ 100,000 or more, the only additional requirement you will have to fulfill with this immigration program is having US$ 5,000 in you bank account in Panama.

You can find the list of Panama’s Friendly Nations and learn more about this visa program if you click here.

Bristol Hotel: an ideal home for your family or an investment opportunity

Here we would like to bring to your attention a few existing offers of real property in Bristol Hotel in Panama City. You can buy these apartments today.

The five-star Bristol hotel is located in the financial district center of Panama capital in the quiet  Aquilino De La Guardia street, very close to Cinta Costera boulevard and one block away from the busy Calle 50 street.

Bristol hotel-condominium is one of the most elegant buildings in Panama City. It has absorbed the architectural richness of the country and the most advanced modern trends. 

The hotel first opened its doors to visitor in 1997. At that time it had only 56 suites. Later on, the owners extended the building and now the hotel has 125 suites including presidential and deluxe suites. In addition, there are 48 apartments that are maintained by the condominium division of the hotel administration.

The apartment owners and the hotel guests can make use of the SPA center, the swimming pool, and the solarium on the 25th floor. On the 5th floor you will find one of the most elaborate restaurants in Panama City called ‘Salsipuedes Cocina & Bar’. On the second floor there is a most popular ‘8º58’ Lounge’ bar.

The apartments for sale in Bristol hotel are fully furnished and the furniture is made by world-famous designers.

There are three types of apartments you can choose from:

  1. An Apartment 75 square meters (90 sq. yards) in size – at the price of US$ 390,000.
  2. An Apartment 98,9 square meters (118 sq. yards) in size – at the price of US$ 470,000.
  3. Apartment 104,6 square meters (125 sq. yards) in size – at the price of US$ 460,000.

The interior decorations and the style of the apartments will leave the most demanding customer satisfied. Here are some characteristics that the apartments boast:

  • Massive wooden entrance doors treated with a fire-resistant composition. In case of fire, the doors will be able to keep the fire from entering the apartments for one hour. 
  • Centralized air-conditioning with the possibility to adjust the temperature.
  • Double-pane windows with thermal insulation.
  • Telephones providing direct access to the round-the-clock concierge service of Bristol hotel.
  • Washing machines and dryers by the Italian company Smeg, with frontal loading.
  • The kitchens have marble floors.
  • Induction stoves with ceramic coatings, dish-washers, and refrigerators by Bosch.
  • “Black Pearl” kitchen tabletops made of granite.
  • Exclusive Italian kitchenware by Scavolini. Stainless steel sinks built into the granite tabletops.
  • Chrome-plated sanitary fitments by the American Kohler company.
  • The floors and the trimmings in the bathrooms are made of Galala marble. The tabletops with porcelain sinks are made of Emperador Spanish marble.
  • Both living rooms and bedrooms are equipped with 42-inch LCD Samsung TV sets and iPod alarm clocks.

As you can see, when purchasing an elite apartment in Bristol hotel, you can move in straight away. In case you want to purchase the property for rental purposes or if you are interested in acquiring an office space for your company in Panama, we can help with that too.

We are also happy to invite you on a familiarization tour to Panama where we will take you on excursions so that you can see the property with your own eyes and buy anything that you like. You can also use this tour to start the process of acquiring Panama legal residence if you purchase a piece of property while on the tour.

Offshore Pro Group has managers residing in Panama City who deal in real estate and also provide administrative and consulting services to the newcomers to Panama.

Our realtors are fluent in English and they can help you choose the best property in the country. Our licensed Panamanian lawyer, in his turn, will provide for the legality and the security of the purchase deal.

If you are interested in relocating to Panama and obtaining permanent residence there, you are welcome to request a free consultation with us. Please write to us to [email protected] and we will advise on how you should proceed in order to make the relocation process as smooth as possible.