Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Panama mortgages reach the $4.85 billion mark

Panama financial weekly Martes Financiero http://www.martesfinanciero.com/

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.

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