Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Golf community with twice the amenities for half the price

This project is a private, gated golf comunity located in Penonome, capital of the province of Cocle, the geographical center of the Republic of Panama. This community was designed especially for those who enjoy nature and the comfort of urban life. The project combines a number of unique amenities.

The purpose of this project is to offer the ammenities that the affluent Baby Boomers want at a price that is more than 50% off than similar projects on the beaches, allowing many more clients to have a dream life in Paradise.

The Marina in the Pacific Ocean is just 9 miles away in the Delta of Rio Grande. Rio Grande is a historical site which 400 years ago the Spaniards used as a base for commerce within Panama. Now it is used by local fishermen and by residents to have fishing and pleasure boats. From here they can get closer to exotic locations in the Pacific Ocean where many Fishing Records have been set.

Penonome for many decades and still today it is in one the vacational spots of the residents of Panama city due to its close proximity to mountains and beaches. The town also has medical services and hospitals, Banks, supermarkets, shops, lower cost of living than Panama City and less humid weather. Founded in 1581, Penonome served as the temporary capital of the isthmus in 1671 when Panama city was destroyed by pirates. Currently is is a distict of 60,000 habitants which location allows you to be as active as you want , giving you unlimited alternatives from fishing to golf, from horseback riding to bird watching.

Attractions close-by include the Fishersman´s Marina (9 miles away), the pre-Columbian site of El Caño ecological park (15 miles), thermal waters & terapeutic Natural spas (20 miles), a par 72 golf course (15 miles) and 3 other par 72 golf courses not more than 50 miles away.

The development will include "El Pueblito" - a XIX-century replica town with Colonial architecture, shops and restaurants, which will become the center for all tourist trips of the area and include a health fitness center, an Internet café, hotel-suites, and a small business center with offices for rent by the residents. A nine-hole par-3 golf course, surrounds the property, allowing the residents to enjoy the view and facilities of more expensive projects. A uniquely scenic ecological trail will give residents an unforgettable experience.

Sale Price: $275,000-$325,000. Single Family Homes. Bedrooms: 3-4 + maid's room.
Built Area: 201.70-246.45 m2
Google Earth coordinates 8.63333 / -80.28333
Contact your real estate agent.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Upcoming: Jan 22 SLAM presents Panama and its Opportunities - in Chicago

Dr. Christopher Grande, Executive Director of Street Level Asset Management (SLAM) Panama, and Pamela Oakes, Managing Director, will deliver a presentation about its property management services before participants of the Latin American Investment Summit in Chicago. "Panama & its Opportunities" will be presented on Tuesday, January 22 at 2:15 pm at the Sheraton Chicago of 301 N. Water St. More information is listed at the Summit schedule.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Panama mortgages reach the $4.85 billion mark

Panama financial weekly Martes Financiero

features a series of articles on real estate. Interesting numbers
tell us that:
* The first half of 2007 closed with $4.85 billion in mortgages, led by Banco General ($0.98), Continental ($0.59, later acquired by General), HSBC ($0.55), Banistmo (acquired by HSBC), and Banco Nacional ($0.51).
* They are followed by Caja de Ahorros ($0.45), Scotiabank ($0.20), BBVA ($0.18), Banvivienda ($0.17) and Credicorp ($0.09).
* Risk analysts point out that banks have increased their mortgage exposure from 15 0/0 in 2003 to 21 0/0 in 2007.
* Despite the real estate boom, Panamanians face a housing shortage of 160 thousand homes, down from 178 thousand in 2006.
* A square meter of Pacific beachfront costs $2,300.00.
* Investment by developers in Altos del Maria is of $20 million.
* Investment by developers in Malibu will be of $400 million for 1200 houses and 800 condos, with 80 o/o destined to the foreign market.
* In San Francisco, the price of a square meter of land ranges between $800 and $1500, while in next-door Parque Lefevre they range between $200 and $900. Middle-class Pueblo Nuevo has parcels between $80 and $120 a square meter.
* The 2004 Panama Structure Regulations increased the anti-seismic features - along with the cost - of high-rises.
* Monthly salaries of construction workers range from 2 times the $300 minimum wage to $1200.
* Inmobiliaria San Felipe has 83 shareholders and has restored 50 apartments and 13 commercial spaces in Casco Viejo, for $6 million since 1995.
* Inmobiliaria San Felipe has 30 proyects in the pipeline and is planning its IPO.
* The price of the square meter of land in Casco Viejo has increased from $1000 to $2400, due to the demand from foreigners.
* Foreign competitors entering the market are Shyreen Deer Company under Kurt Kisto with a $30 million investment in units of $50K and Adsum Group with an $18 million office building sold at $2,200-2,600/ square meter.
* Only properties with occupation permits registered before August 31, 2007, qualify for 20 year property tax exemptions. Others have lower tax holidays of 15 years or less.

The full text is available in

Monday, January 14, 2008

Panama City Office Market View

CBRE Panama has an interesting report on the office building market with numbers from the 2006 market:

Panama has experienced a strong recovery and real estate market activity has rebounded in 2006.

Although a significant volume of new Class A buildings were delivery to the market in the first quarter of 2006, lease rates and sales prices have remained relatively stable and are expected to increase once the available space is absorbed.

Construction activity remains strong in the residential market, but has slowed the price in commercial spaces. Panama is steadily positioning itself as a top second home or retirement haven for foreigners within the region. The positive result of a nationwide referendum about the ambitious Panama Canal expansion project has attracted the attention of international companies for related business and offshore relocations.

Furthermore, economic growth projections accounting this project are 2% higher than former estimates.

The Class A office buildings that have been delivered on the first semester, doubling the existing stock have been relatively fast absorbed.

At present, there are few buildings in construction, and in planning stage.

Although inflation and oil prices increased since last year, the Panamanian economy grew of 6.5%.

Panama maintains the best performance of Central America in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the fifth consecutive year, and figures among the top 10 recipients in Latin America.

The overall economic growth in fueled by and increase in tourism, exports of non-traditional products, Free Trade Zone at Colon, and the Panama Canal project expectations.

The construction of the Port of Farfan and the reopening of the former military airport of Howard, both located in the Panama Pacific logistics zone at the west of the city are starting. Dell and other tenants already out of this area, and Singapore Technologies Aerospace is establishing an aircraft maintenance facility. Call center activity, plenty of fiscal incentives, is also strong, and now complemented by back office facilities coming offshore.

Given the current stable political and economic conditions, prospects for Panama�s office market remain positive.

Things may have changed in 2007 but the outlook remains positive.  The full text of the report can be downloaded from

Friday, January 11, 2008

PWC offers Global real estate now

Global real estate now by PWC offers in-depth analysis and commentary that is invaluable in making informed business decisions. Global real estate now offers readers insightful articles and perspectives on emerging global industry trends and important issues.

Previous issues of global real estate now can be downloaded free from here

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Buying Abroad


Buying Abroad

Getting your feet wet in international real estate may take a little help and some close study

Neil Hamm just bought his third condo in Mexico, a 2,250-square-foot beachfront penthouse where he can sit on his covered porch in the mornings and drink coffee as he watches the sunrise. Because his primary home in California is just a short flight away, Hamm can hop on a plane at 9:30 a.m. and be on the golf course by 1:30 p.m. Mexico’s low cost of living and negligible property taxes (Hamm paid less than $800 a year in property taxes for his last condo, valued at $550,000) only add to the new residence’s appeal.

Hamm is one of many finding a place in the new international real estate landscape, where borders between continents are becoming less visible and more countries than ever are open to foreign ownership of property. “It’s part of the relentless pace of globalization,” explains Miriam Lowe, vice president of international operations for the National Association of Realtors. She says a recent NAR study found that nearly one in five Realtors sold a home to an international client in the past year, and one-third worked with international clients or prospects.

According to Lowe, three main groups of buyers are responsible for the worldwide surge in foreign ownership: foreign buyers in the United States and other markets; U.S. citizens buying outside the country; and foreign immigrants who now live in the United States buying property within U.S. borders. However, as anyone who has stared down the intimidating stack of papers at a closing knows, buying real estate even domestically can be complicated — and for some, downright scary. How does one negotiate the uncharted waters of a real estate transaction in another country, sometimes in an unfamiliar language?

With caution, says Lowe. “Keep in mind the general business climate, safety, and risk issues,” she says. “Also, tax consequences — either in that country or here in the U.S.


Lay of the Land

“Let’s say you’re based in Chicago and you’re interested in buying property in the Mediterranean,” says Lowe. “You just contact a CIPS broker in Chicago, and they’ll put you in contact with the right person. Through CIPS, we have a strong network of agents around the world that work collaboratively.” As a buyer, you could deal directly with the international CIPS partner or with your local broker, who’d get a referral fee from the international liaison. Depending on the type of agreement reached, there may be no out-of-pocket cost for the buyer.


But before you actually plunk down cash or sign any papers for that dream house on the beach, Henda Salmeron, a CIPS Realtor with Ellen Terry Realtors in Dallas, suggests that you visit the property — as obvious as this sounds, many people don’t — and that you do your homework.

Buyers need to understand that the way you buy it here isn’t the way you buy it there,” says Salmeron. “They need to know how real estate in that country is exchanged. In the U.S., the most common process is fee simple, or free hold — you buy it, and you own it forever, or until you sell it. In some countries, it’s leased from the government, which is called a lease-hold type of ownership. Also, here in the U.S., we protect buyers with seller’s disclosures and inspections. In France and Spain, and many other countries, it’s more likely to be a ‘buyer beware’ situation — you buy properties ‘as is.’”

Cultured Negotiations

In hot markets such as the United Kingdom, India, and Belgium, there are other factors to consider too. There’s no property tax per se in the United Kingdom, but often capital gains taxes are levied on nonresidents when they sell property. India has a fee simple system, similar to that in the United States, but if you’re planning on buying and renting, beware. The country’s tenancy laws favor tenants, not landlords, and the eviction of a nonpaying tenant, for example, is virtually impossible. Property in Belgium is transferred by deed, which must be registered, and security of title is achieved by researching 30 years of undisputed ownership, not through title insurance.

Financing is another aspect of the deal that may be quite different. In some countries, cash, not credit, is still king. Julie Kershner, a CIPS broker with Prudential California Realty, has been selling real estate in the booming Mexico market for seven years. Kershner says that besides learning about nuts-and-bolts issues — such as whether or not title insurance is available (many countries don’t have title insurance, which means that what you “bought” may legally belong to someone else), or if there’s a third-party escrow system in place (many countries don’t have this, either) — it’s important to know how the society works. There are numerous cultural nuances to consider.

“The Internet is great, but especially in relationship-based countries like Mexico, you still need a person on the ground to help you,” says Kershner. “In the U.S., we’re ‘business first’; we could care less about your personal life. In Mexico, even for something as small as getting a real estate permit, you need to know which office to go to and who to ask to make sure that your papers aren’t at the bottom of the stack. If you don’t have a relationship with that person, and say, haven’t taken cakes to him at Easter, your papers may sit around for months.”

— Ellise Pierce

International Real Estate 101

You don’t have to be Donald Trump to understand the art of the international deal. “The Internet is the biggest conduit in creating the perception of the borderless world,” says Mitch Creekmore, senior vice president and director of international business development for Stewart International. “It has also been the biggest catalyst in understanding the international real estate arena.” Here are a few Web sites that’ll give you what you need to know:

For solid information on real estate trends and ownership rules, go to the Web site of the University of Denver’s Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management.

The National Association of Realtors Web site offers country profiles, along with names of CIPS brokers and qualified agents across the globe.

The Web site for the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA), which represents more than 25 national real estate organizations and 2 million brokers and agents worldwide, allows you to click on a country for specific information about business practices in residential or commercial real estate, and tips on how to find property. — E.P.

Full text in