Monday, October 14, 2013

AMCHAM Panama hosts its 4th Real Estate Forum on Panama City Urban Zoning

At least once each year the AMCHAM Panama Real Estate Committee holds its Forum which addresses timely issues within the sector and offers information and solutions to attendees

The American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama is pleased to announce the Fourth Annual Real Estate Forum to be held on October 16, 2013 from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm at the Miramar Inter-Continental Hotel.  The forum “Urban Zoning:  The Metro and the Streets.  Where do I park?”  will focus on urban planning in Panama City and how the new Metro and road infrastructure projects affect real estate in Panama City.  The speakers include  Henry Kardonski, General Manager , London and Regional Panama; Juan Manuel Vasquez, Director of Municipal Works and Construction , Panama City Mayor's Office ; Roberto Roy, Executive Secretary, Panama Metro Authority; and Jaime Ford, Minister of Public Works of the Republic of Panama.

Pamela Oakes, Chair of the AMCHAM Panama Real Estate Committee and event planner, said “we are very pleased to bring together these speakers whose projects affect our daily lives and will have a profound effect on real estate.  Panama is undertaking  major infrastructure projects such as building the country’s first metro  system and redesigning the city’s  roads and highways.  Proper planning is required to ensure that upon their conclusion the traffic  in Panama City improves and commuters will have better options.”

AMCHAM Panama’s Real Estate Committee has created and adopted an industry Code of Ethics to which all member real estate service providers must adhere in order to be part of an exclusive referral network. The Committee has become a good source of business for real estate service providers who have sworn to abide by AMCHAM’s Real Estate Committee’s Code of Ethics.

One of the Committee’s primary goals is to disseminate accurate information to the public about the Real Estate industry, so that investors may meet the challenges and avoid many of the problems involved in purchasing real estate and relocating to Panama.  At least once each year the Committee holds its Real Estate Forum with the valuable support of corporate sponsors, which addresses timely issues within the sector and offers information and solutions to attendees.

About The American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama (AmCham Panama)

Founded in 1979, AMCHAM Panama http://www.panamcham.com is a non-profit, non-political, independent, voluntary association supported primarily by its members. Much of the organization's work is accomplished through the efforts of volunteer member committees which collaborate to help AMCHAM promote free enterprise in Panama. AmCham Panama has over 450 active members, from small local companies to major multinational companies based in the United States.

For additional information contact Maria Florencia Suarez +507 301-3881, email realestate @panamcham.com or go to http://www.panamcham.com/en/events/view/730


Monday, August 12, 2013

Panama: Real estate on solid foundations

Panama: Real estate on solid foundations
Latin America | 7 Aug 2013

The real estate market in Panama is edging towards maturity, buoyed by the booming economy, a major national spend on infrastructure and ample liquidity in the financial system.

Initial estimates from the national statistics agency (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo) suggest the sector expanded by 9% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013, having notched up average growth of 7.8% in 2012 and 9% in 2011.
 


Panama City, home to nearly a third of the population, has been the centre of real estate activity over the past decade, with high-end residential, retail and commercial development combining to produce strong growth. New shopping malls and residential complexes have reshaped the skyline, alongside several hotels, evidence of the evolving tourism sector.

The city’s market for office space has been supported by strong macroeconomic growth and new business-friendly legislation, including the setting up of an incentive regime for multinational companies using Panama as a base for regional operations.

Vacancy rates for Class A office projects dropped to 7% from 12% in the second half of 2012, with the average monthly lease rate edging up from $23.30 per sq metre to $24.41, according to a study conducted by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). New construction of Class A office space eased to pre-2009 levels in the same period, however, suggesting demand could now be levelling off.

CBRE’s study found Panama City’s residential market to be relatively stable. New unit construction eased, in keeping with a rising 76% absorption rate and falling sale prices for Class A real estate. The gross absorption rate across the wider market stood at 77%, with a total of 3346 units reserved from 4330 under construction.

However, there are signs that the retail market in Panama City could be edging towards occupancy saturation. Monthly lease rates fell from $41.31 per sq metre to $40.16 in the second half of last year, while vacancy levels in shopping centres rose from 6.1% to 9.1%. An additional 97,325 sq metres of new retail space was under construction as of late 2012.

Despite its overall impressive growth levels, Panama’s real estate market faces a number of challenges. The country ranked 75 out of 97 nations in the 2012 Global Real Estate Transparency Rankings, behind Mexico (43), Argentina (58) and Costa Rica (70). Jones Lang LaSalle, which publishes the list, described Panama’s transparency level as “low”, adding that a lack of both sophisticated investment vehicles and general market fundamentals were instrumental in determining the country’s position.

Panama also faces a major national housing shortage. The most recent estimates from the Ministry of Housing (Ministerio de Vivienda y Ordenamiento Territorial, MIV), published in 2010, put the shortfall at 136,665 units, against total national supply of 896,050.

The MIV launched a series of social housing programmes in 2010 as part of a target to reduce the shortfall to 30% and increase supply by 4.6%. Once completed, the five-year programme, backed by a $576m investment package, is expected to have benefitted an estimated 344,000 Panamanians. With $268.8m still to be spent, work is expected to accelerate during the second half of 2013 and through 2014.

The real estate sector is expected to continue maturing, with both the private and public sector helping to drive it forward. The government took a small, but significant step forward in May 2012, when it amended its regulations to create a new tax and financial framework covering the purchase and sale of real estate property. The legal changes paved the way for the introduction of key incentives aimed at supporting the housing market, including more favourable interest rates for first-time buyers and tax exemptions for residential home improvements. Ongoing support from the government, together with sustained growth in the private sector, will set the real estate market on course for further expansion in the medium to long term.

For full text see http://www.oxfordbus inessgroup.com/
More information is available in http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/product/report/report-panama-2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Retiring Way, Way South of the Border in Panama



Retiring Way, Way South of the Border

Americans are starting to head into Central America for retirement, lured by luxury real estate and eased residency requirements.


    By KATY MCLAUGHLIN
       

When Steven and Robin Fine started searching for a place in Latin America to spend their early retirement, they looked at spots in Mexico and Costa Rica, both popular destinations for American retirees. On a trip two years ago, they decided to stop by Panama, too.
"We thought we would like Panama the least," Mr. Fine, 51 years old, a former communications executive said, "but we liked it the best."
The combination of luxury apartment buildings, good restaurants and modern hospitals drew the couple to Panama City, where 1½ years ago they spent $1.1 million, plus about $250,000 on renovations, on a 48th-floor penthouse with a view of the Pacific. It is now their full-time home.
The Central American nations of Panama, Belize and Nicaragua are increasingly competing with Costa Rica and Mexico for North American retirees and second-home buyers. New luxury developments, outfitted with spas, restaurants, marinas and golf courses, are on the rise. Builders say they are using more high-end materials and adding upscale amenities designed to appeal to affluent American buyers.
image
Bobby Pereira for The Wall Street Journal
Steven and Robin Fine renovated a $1.1 million, 48th-floor penthouse in Panama City.
These countries offer packages of residency and breaks on taxes and fees that imitate Costa Rica's pensionado program, which was introduced in 1971 and helped set the groundwork for a boom in retiree emigration from North America. Nicaragua added such a law in 2009, offering foreigners with retirement incomes tax breaks on everything from cars to construction materials. Last year, Panama, which has a long-established retiree program, created a path to citizenship for retirement residents and introduced a new residency program for people under retirement age that has lowered requirements for investment in property, business and other ventures.
Despite their inroads with American retirees, these countries still don't attract the same numbers as more established destinations, such as Mexico and Costa Rica. In 2011, more than 50,000 Americans collected Social Security in Mexico and more than 5,000 in Costa Rica. But Mexico's well-publicized drug war and escalating violence are starting to push Americans to look at new places for retirement. Central America, however, has its own problems with crime. 
The U.S. Department of State labeled the crime rate in Nicaragua "critical" and the murder rate in Belize "extremely high," though concentrated in Belize City and not in tourist areas. In Costa Rica, petty crime such as theft and "smash and grab" muggings have increased in the past couple of years, along with home invasions. In Panama, murders and gun violence have decreased in recent years, but reported rape and theft have increased. 
"Panama remains relatively safe when compared with other Central American countries, yet crime rates are higher than one would encounter in most of the United States," says the State Department's 2013 report.
...




Monday, May 6, 2013

May 15 - Presentation on Isla Saboga Resort project in Pearl Islands

.
Event: '"Isla Saboga Resort Project In The Pearl Islands"'Print
  Real Estate Committee
Comité de Bienes Raíces
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 8:00 am
Duration: 1 Hour





To confirm attendance: go to http://www.panamcham.com/en/events/view/653/date/2013-05-15

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Luxury Contadora Beach Front Villa with Direct Access to Beach


Luxury Contadora Beach Front Villa with Direct Access to Beach

Contadora Vacation Rental by Owner Accommodations: Villa, 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths (Sleeps 10)
Recently remodeled beach front villa featuring stunning architectural design and modern furnishings. Sleeps up to 10 people.
There are 4 fully air-conditioned bedrooms (including 1 suite) and 3 1/2 bathrooms.
The upstairs master bedroom suite has a king size bed, two adjacent twin beds, and a large bathroom with double sinks, large bath tub and separate shower. There is sectional sofa and 42 inch flat screen TV. The suite has its own private terrace with unobstructed panoramic views of the beach, ocean and nearby islands.
There are 3 bedrooms on the first floor. One bedroom faces the ocean, has a queen size bed and a private bathroom with a shower. The other two bedrooms have full size beds, face the garden and share a bathroom with a shower.
The large living and dining rooms faces the beach and have unobstructed views to the beach, ocean and nearby islands. The large sliding doors allow a cool seabreeze to enter. There is a white sofa set and comfortable chairs that seat up to 10 people. The double height ceiling and ceiling fans makes dining a pleasure at the table for 10 people.
The modern kitchen features full size stove, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher. There is a breakfast bar that seats 2 people.
The TV room has a 32 inch flat screen TV, DVD player, sofa and is fully air-conditioned.
The first floor terrace faces the has unobstructed views to the beach, ocean and nearby islands. There is a table with seating for 8 people, 2 chaise loungers with umbrella, and a large round canopy-covered chaise chair. Papaya trees and verenera plants are adjacent to the terrace.
The infinity pool is next to the terrance and overlooks the ocean. It features a bench to sit on and enjoy your amazing views or you can float away on one of the floating chaise loungers.
The stairs take you directly down to the beach. There is a small private patio just before you step on to the beach which is perfect for leaving you gear and coolers.
There is a caretaker on-site to help make your vacation a dream come true. Private tours can be arranged at an additional charge. Internet is available for an additional fee. A 6-seater Club Car is available for $100 a day.
Pets Not Allowed - Non Smoking Only Bedrooms
Beachfront : Magnificent 4 bedroom villa on Playa Cacique with direct beach access. Part of the Pearl Islands archipeligo, Contadora is an exclusive island retreat just 30 miles from Panama City. Villa Montecielo
Recently known for the CBS television series 'Survivor: Pearl Islands', Contadora is an island of private homes for Panama's wealthy families. There are 11 white sand beaches on Contadora with clear, turquoise water. You can snorkel around the beaches and also at the nearby islands. There is a scuba-diving outfit on Contadora and many excellent locations for scuba diving. Don't forget to pack your underwater camera for all of the incredible underwater sealife you will encounter! Contadora's turquoise colored waters are home to hundreds of species of fish, including tuna, sea bass & wahoo, making it a highly desirable fishing location. During the two whale breeding seasons, marvel at how the humpback whales seem to know you are watching them. The dolphins swim up to your boat as if to say hello. Bird lovers will delight at the 100+ species of birds that call the Pearl Islands their home including pelicans, hummingbirds and the blue-footed boobie.


Note: Until confirmed, rates are subject to change without notice.  Public services are subject to availability as provided in the island by local utility companies.
For online availability calendar and reservations go to http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p997812   Reservations are made only through homeaway and not by phone.




Sunday, February 6, 2011

Property Investing in Panama


View a database of carefully selected investment property in Panama


SUMMARY : Panama City is one of the world's least expensive first-world cities. It is also among the most modern and prosperous cities in Latin America with over 3 million people. The city's array of tall skyscrapers is reminiscent of Miami. It boasts incredible shopping where almost any product from the U.S. may be easily found. During the past several years Panama has been consistently rated in the top ten for the best retirement locations worldwide. A welcoming community, safe environment, low crime statistics, excellent incentives for retirees, together with the natural beauty and ethnic diversity that is Panama, all appeal to the increasing number of baby boomers from North America and Europe who are looking for a different option for retirement.

Currency:   (USD) Dollar

US Dollar:
A global benchmark currency. Little or no exchange rate parity fluctuation against Middle East currencies. The cost of living is significantly lower than that of Western Europe.

Economic climate: The trend towards an open economy and possible trade pacts with such nations as the U.S. and Mexico are conducive to investment in Panama. There are also no government expropriation or interference as in many Latin American countries. A business-oriented government encourages foreign investment. A government that realizes the value of private business to a developing country backs all investment. In 1946 Panama's business-oriented mentality led to the creation of the Colon Duty Free Zone, considered to be the second largest free trade center in the world, after Hong Kong. In addition, the Panamanian government offers foreigners who invest in Panama many attractive incentives such as legal residency and tax privileges.

Capital Gains tax: Since the enactment of Law 8 of 1956, successive legislation has been passed offering tax benefits to developers. It has been widely accepted that, as a result of these incentives purchasers of real property have also benefitted. This tax is applicable if there is a capital gain. This tax is also regulated by Article 701 and applied at a flat 10% rate, whether a corporation or an individual is acting as a seller, on the gain resulting from the price of the sale minus the price of the acquisition by seller, as well as registration, notary and real estate agent expenses. If there is no capital gain on the transfer of a property, the 2% transfer tax, is also paid in advance for the sale, levied on the difference between the price of the sale or an appraised value increased at a 5% yearly rate (whichever is higher) and the price of acquisition by the seller.

Popular investment areas: Panama City has become a cosmopolitan modern metropolis - there are many raise buildings overlooking the ocean and the Bay of Panama. Exclusive residential areas like Marbella, Paitilla, Coco del Mar, Punta Pacifica and San Francisco offer a good range of apartments and condominiums for sale. Suburban residential areas in the former Canal Zone like Amador Heights, Balboa, Albrook and Clayton offer large and attractive single-family homes and condominiums. Casco Viejo -- the oldest city on the Pacific Coast of the Americas -- has become a desirable place for real estate investment, encouraged by the Panamanian government Casco Viejo investment incentives for the restoration of the historic Casco Viejo district. Outside Panama City, there are beautiful real estate properties located in popular destinations including, Chiriqui, El Valle, and Altos de Maria. Known mostly for their cooler climates, incredible flora and quiet peaceful atmosphere, real estate in the highlands of Panama are ideal for those interested in retiring abroad. Bocas del Toro is another popular destination for Panama real estate. Most known for its crystal clear waters, rich Antillean culture, unique over-the-water architecture and laidback tropical atmosphere. In recent times, Bocas del Toro has become a booming center for European and American Expats, as well as an impressive number of tourists. Several of these destinations are also considered Tourism Development Zones, where additional tax benefits are granted to investors in hotel projects. Real Estate Values in Panama and primarily in these Pacific Coast Beach areas has been appreciating very steadily, and as interest and growth increases so to do the real estate values.

Price ranges: The Panamanian government incentives for the restoration of the historic Casco Viejo district encourage investment here, this area reminiscent of New Orleans or SoHo years ago abounds with shells of graceful buildings that are crying out for renovation. Outside of Panama City excellent real estate properties are available for developers and individuals. The more remote the location the more reasonable the cost but be aware that you may be far from utilities or roads. The real estate in Bocas del Toro offers beautiful Caribbean beach property. Here palm-fringed golden sands surround the islands and turquoise waters where the rain forest meets the ocean. Here families shop by boat, enjoy water sports and the natural beauty of this wonderful location - better yet it is still affordable.

Budgetary guide: Prices  per square meter in Panama vary according to the location (city, mountain, beach).  In the city, you may find prices starting 1000$ per square meter in a new condominium.  In the mountain, the price may drop down to 20$...yes this is not typo however in those cases you might want to research the access possibilities to this property.  Many areas in the mountains have no road of access and local transportation might not be available.  In the beach, prices depend on the zone.  An hour away from the capital prices start at 600$ per square meter depending on the quality of the beach and neighborhood.

Service Fees: Fees charged by the Public Notary and the Public Registry which total in the range of $200 to $300 for registering a buy/sell contract for the sale of real estate in Panama.The closing costs vary depending on the particular transaction. For example, if the property is held in the sellers personal name, and the buyer is transferring the property title to a Panamanian corporation (most recommended), then the closing costs would include; (1) the legal property transaction fee of US$1200 (includes; title search, buy/sell contract, closing, & property title transfer service), (2) public registry title transfer fees of approx. US$2.50 per every US$1,000 of the sales price and – if applicable - the mortgage amount, (3) escrow fees from 0.5% to 1% of the transaction amount (vary depending on amount of transaction), and (4) incorporation fee of US$1000 to setup the Panama corporation. However, if the property is held by a Panama corporation already, and the buyer is purchasing the shares of the corporation, then the transaction is relatively simple because there is no registration of title transfer, meaning that there is no title transfer tax, and no public registry title transfer fees. In this case, the closing costs would include; (1) the legal property transaction fee (includes; title search, review of tax liabilities, purchase of shares contract, and closing for US$800), (2) change of directors / resident agent of the corporation (approx. $350), and (3) escrow fees from 0.5% to 1% of the transaction amount (vary depending on amount of transaction).The notary and public registry costs total up to approximately $200 to $300 depending on the particular transaction. Title transfer taxes are by law paid by the seller. Escrow fees (if an escrow company is used), are normally paid by the buyer, and range from one half of one percent (0.5%) up to one percent (1%) of the transaction.

Mortgages: Between 60% - 70% of the purchase price or appraised market value, whichever is the lesser. Interest Rate from 5.5% to 6.5%, plus FECI tax of 1% per year.



For more information go to:
www.slampanama.com
www.pensionadovisa.com
www.strategicpointconsulting.com

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nov 17, 2010 'Panama Week' planned in Washington, D.C.



'Panama Week' planned in Washington, D.C.

The new version of "Panama Week" will take place starting Nov. 17 in Washington, D.C.

Félix Carles, president of the U.S.-Panama Business Council, said the motto of this year's event is "Panama, changing world trade."

One of the objectives of the event is to promote the ratification of the free trade agreement between the two countries that is still waiting to be discussed by the U.S. Senate.

It will also emphasize the role of the country as a maritime center, the progress of the Panama Canal expansion and the modernization of Tocumen International Airport.

The Panama Tourism Authority will also discuss its master plan at the event, which is aimed at increasing the number of visitors to the country.
http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2010/09/30/hoy/english/news_4891.asp



PANAMA WEEK 2010
Panama: Changing Global Commerce
Venue: Washington Hilton Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C

For registrations and sponsorship opportunities contact UNITED STATES-PANAMA BUSINESS COUNCIL (USPA)
5353 Memorial Drive #2041, Houston, Texas 77007
Tel. (713) 426-0554 /  Fax. (713) 426-0375  /  E-mail: Panamerica @msn.con  http://uspanama.webs.com/pwsponsorlevels.htm



November 1, 2010

Dear Friends of Panama and the United States

The U.S.-Panama Business Council (USPA) was created in 1994 with the mission of strengthening relations between the United States and Panama, and promoting business opportunities between the two countries. During its sixteen years of existence the Council has organized hundreds of programs and events which have greatly contributed to enhancing relations between the two countries.

Every year the Council organizes a comprehensive program in Washington D.C. entitled Panama Week. This year Panama Week will be held on November 18-19 in the Nation's Capital, coordinated by both the U.S. and Panama USPA associations. We anticipate a strong attendance this year, and several high profiled speakers that will address the numerous business opportunities offered by Panama.

Panama's excellent economic climate has produced positive news over the past five years with annual growth close to double digits. Even in 2009, when the world was impacted by a financial crisis, Panama still registered economic growth. The Panama Canal is undertaking an ambitious expansion, unemployment has decreased dramatically, the country attained investment grade and recently a $13 Billion investment plan was announced for the next five years.

An updated program is enclosed and periodic updates will be published in USPA USA website http://uspanama.webs.com/pwprogram.htm Several Ministers from Panama will be attending the program including Minister of Commerce and Industry H.E. Roberto Henriquez, Minister of Tourism H.E. Salomón Shamah, Minister of Energy H.E. Juan Urriola and Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority Jose Barrios Ng. The traditional black tie Gala Friendship Awards Dinner will be held on the evening of Thursday, November 18th and H.E. Jaime Alemán, Ambassador of Panama to the United States, will be the Keynote Speaker.

We avail of the opportunity to thank sponsors for their generous support. Please review the website for additional information. Should you have any questions you may contact Amb. Juan B. Sosa at (713) 426-0554. We look forward to see you in Panama Week 2010.

Best regards,
                                                         
Amb. Juan B. Sosa President, USPA (USA)
Amb. Roberto Alfaro President, USPA (Panama)