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Panama Real Estate and Passive Mistakes
May 11th, 2009
Panama real estate has sort of taken a back seat in the news to the election and the flu outbreak. The world press is all over the election of a supermarket magnate or is it mogul as Panama’s new president? Every article one sees still seems to refer to the virus as a swine flu when it isn’t. Seems be no end to hype. Right now, at least, the hype is not totally directed at convincing you that not buying a home in Panama would be the mistake of a lifetime.
Interesting, isn’t it, than just when the advice is most sound no one is offering it.
The news reports that thousands of Panamanians are lining up for flu shots even though the current vaccine is for last year’s flu strains and will provide no immumnity against the A H1N1 strain.
A number of speculators are still licking their wounds over buying too late in the real estate boom and, for many, losing their investment.
What comes to mind is that there are two types of mistakes, active ones and passive ones. Buying real estate that you intend to flip when the market is leveling out is an active mistake so is getting a useless flu shot.
The Panama real estate market has returned to some of the same conditions as when the boom started a decade ago. With all of the wound licking, finger pointing, and sticking one’s head in the sand folks are missing a golden opportunity to invest before things take off again.
Panama’s megaproject, the Panama Canal Expansion is going forward with the announcement of which consortium wins the bid to build the third land locks. We are seeing that the world’s biggest shipper is raising rates in response to greater shipping volume and China is importing refined copper and steel at record levels.
So, friends, the recession is mending itself and we will see it in increased employment, more spending, and loosening of credit markets in the next years.
By then, friends, you will have missed a golden opportunity to invest in real estate in Panama, a country that will in all likelihood continue to match economic growth rates with China.
And, all of the economic reasons aside, Panama continues to be a great place to live, beautiful, with an excellent, and improving infrastructure.
Remember, passivity in a time of golden opportunity is a mistake!
Influenza Update, May 10, 2009
May 10th, 2009
The number of confirmed cases has gone up to 2254 as more testing has been completed on waiting samples in the USA. The number of deaths remains at 2.
Panama now reports a third case, a contact of the 20ish Panamanian student who returned with the disease from the USA.
According to WHO there have been 4,379 confirmed cases worldwide in 29 countries. Costa Rica reports 8 cases and one death.
Deaths confirmed as caused by the A H1N1 influenza stand at Mexico-45, USA-2,
Canada-1, Costa Rica-1.
According to the Ministry of Health in Panama there are currently no plans to restrict activities to jprevent the spread of the virus.
However, we suggest that if you
that you remain aware of the possibiilty of restricted movement at a later date.
We are still enquiries
about real estate in Panama so it would appear not everyone is focused solely on the flu.
We remind our readers that a
home in Panama is still a home in paradise and that prices of
Panama real estate are likely to start going up again before year”s end.
Panama Gets a Boost
May 8th, 2009
The current Time magazine has a very complementary article about the election of Ricardo Martinelli and the associated possibilities for Panama.
This is the sort of free “publicity” that can give
Those of us here know that Panama’s economy is still growing despite a worldwide recession and that the Panama Canal is well run. We are aware of the possibilities when the
Panama Canal Expansion is finished.
Now Panama just got some free publicity. The article says nothing new but likens Panama to an emerging Western Hemisphere Singapore and talks about giving Miami a run as the “unofficial capital of Latin America.”
It is certain that as credit markets free up with the resolution of a worldwide recession that investment will not only continue in Panama but will increase. The subliminal message of the Time article is likely to speed up that process. Likewise, the article is a great reminder for those thinking of Panama retirement and the purchase of a home in Panama.
So, nothing is different but, yes, it is. We have a new president and the world’s focus will be on Panama and its emergence as a center of Latin American and world commerce.
Panama Travel, Homes, and Real Estate Investment
April 29th, 2009
There are a number of issues of the day regarding Panama.
The first is travel to Panama. Will the swine flu get out of hand and cause of global shutdown of travel and services? The press tends not to help in this regard. The harkening back to the Spanish Flu helps get people’s attention but in1918 there were no antiviral medications just as there was no penecillin. That was an era when people died from scarlet fever because there was no penecillin to treat the underlying strep infection.
Panama has already stockpiled antiviral meds as has the USA. As the size of the outbreak is understood it will be contained and it is unlikely that travel from North America to Panama and back will be restricted.
The other issue is the decline in the US housing market that has decreased the buying power of North Americans who might otherwise come to Panama to buy a home. Real estate prices have gone into a pause here because of the credit crisis elsewhere. Last month’s housing figures from the USA show that the drop in home values has bottomed out.
There is a drop from last year but not from last month.
The general concern about credit, home values, a potential rampant disease epidemic keep the majority of Panama home buyers home in North America. But there are great deals here! Anyone who has the capacity to think ahead will explore the opportunities in
Panama’s real estate market and consider buying before year’s end.
Swine Flu Update
April 28th, 2009
Panama’s customs officials and other at border crossings and at Tocumen International Airport have taken to wearing masks because of the concern that cases of Swine Flu may enter the country and spraed.
The press reports that kits have been ordered to test specifically for the swine flu and that doctors and hospitals have been put on alert for suspect cases.
As of today there have been no deaths reported from swine flu in the United States. However, more cases have been reported.
There are no reports of
restrictions so if you want to go to the United States or Canada and come back to your
Panama home there should be no problem at the current time.
Panama City Highway Opening Delayed
April 28th, 2009
The Public Works Ministry announced that the opening of the new highway connecting Panama City to Colon will be delayed past the hoped for date of April 30 due to a delay in the Quebrada Lopez ares.
The new road will dramatically reduce the time it takes to get from Panama City to Colon. Tolls are expected to run about $4.
With the transit time reduced to a long commute, short if you are from California, one might be able to purchase a
Panama home in or around Colon and work in Panama City.
in the Colon area is likely to appreciate in the next year or so as development speeds up.
The timing is great right now to purchase property for a
Panama home in and around Colon before development accelerates and before the recession rights itself and a flood of North American buyers returns.
Panama, Homes, and Panama Stability
April 27th, 2009
With the recession starting to show signs of recovery the newspapers are true to form. They are reporting more doom and gloom. Car sales are down and so are Panama home prices. That means, of course, that if you are shopping for a car or real estate for your home in Panama you will find some great deals!
The country of Panama is stable and a good place to call home. Panama is a democracy with a free market economy. Panama has the canal which generates more than half a billion dollars a year for the treasury. Panama City real estate is currently the best bargain it has been for years.
Cash Flow in Panama
Panama still has jobs and still is building. Folks are still getting paid although from what you read in the papers everything is going down hill. The rule of thumb for the stock market is that half way through the recession, stocks start to rise. That has been going on for a month. Because of a drop in discretionary spending there are some great deals in real estate, cars, and sales in the department stores.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reports only a 3% drop in tonnage over a year ago. Thus the monthly checks to the treasury will continue. Regarding the Panama Canal, ACP, the folks who have run the Panama Canal since the American left are budgeting payments of $748.8 million to the national treasury this year. That works out to $1 per ton of cargo that passes through the canal.
The ongoing debate is how the money from the canal gets spent as it is meant to help with social causes. From the viewpoint of Panama real estate, investment, and business it is sufficient to see that the canal is still doing well, employing people and contributing to the national well being.
In general ACP has done very well since taking over as evidenced by an improved credit rating last year and the two and a half. In its first years of operation ACP improved canal transit times and has come to be seen as a competent, reliable, world-class organization.
For someone looking for a home in Panama the overall stability and competence of business here as well as the democratic government provide reassurance as the security of ones investment in this tropical paradise.
Regarding Panama real estate ABPanama believes that the current pause in the high end for the market for Panama homes will last a few months until the best deals are gobbled up. Somewhere in the next year or so the upward climb of property values in Panama will resume.
If you have questions about Panama’s real estate market, are looking to invest in real estate or just want to buy a home in Panama come to see us. We have over 23 years experience managing real estate portfolios, are bilingual, and do business throughout Panama
The Drop in Discretionary Spending and Your Home in Panama
April 26th, 2009
Car sales are down substantially in Panama. It looks like folks are being careful about discretionary spending. In the press this is presented as a looming disaster. If you have a home in Panama, are a resident here, or do business here how does the drop in discretionary spending affect your business, Panama real estate investment, or residency?
First we have a couple of thoughts about how folks spend their money during recessions. During an economic downturn people remodel their homes instead of buying or building a new one. Workers on larger construction projects tend to move into “fix up” work and small home improvement projects. When folks don’t buy new cars they fix the old ones and auto repair shops take on more work and more employees. People put off the big trip to the theme park in the United States and take a cruise on Enchantment of the Seas out of the Port of Colon.
A Drop in Discretionary Spending and Panama Real Estate
If you home is in Panama and you are not planning on buying or selling in the next year or two the drop in high end Panama real estate values will have not great effect on you. The drop in discretionary spending could end up reducing prices for cars and you might get a good deal on a new Toyota, which seems to have had a big drop in sales.
If you want to purchase a new Panama home the drop in the high end of the Panama real estate market is a great piece of luck. ABPanama is actively seeking both distressed sellers and buyers with cash to the benefit of each party. We believe that one will be able to get a home in Panama at a great price during the next few months to a year before the recession starts to improve.
A Drop in Discretionary Spending and Bank Accounts
The savings rate has gone up in the United States, at long last. That is probably true of Panama too. Considering that the local banks are very conservative and tighter with credit this year than last an influx of money into CD’s and savings accounts will help loosen the credit supply and hasten the next economic boom in Panama.
Despite the worldwide economic downturn Panama is still building. There is published concern about when the current construction projects end, when the Cinta Costera is finished, and when the Interoceanic Highway is finished. Will folks have jobs?
Panama is building more than one road and not all construction workers need to work on high rises. In a free market economy money moves to where it will make money and jobs move to where the money is.
In the meantime if you have a home in Panama you live in a tropical paradise with a stable democracy as well as a relatively low cost of living. You may even be able to talk the car dealer into an extra discount to take one of those Toyotas off of his hands.
Home on a Panama Island
April 26th, 2009
Homes in Panama are currently selling at a discount to their true value. The recession has temporarily reduced the number of foreign and well to do local buyers causing a temporary pause in the high end of the real estate market. This is most noted in the Panama City condo market but what is happening on Panama’s islands?
One of the things we talk about is the issue of why you would want to come and live in Panama. It is not just because the real estate values are reasonable and that they will be appreciating over the years. It is not just because the government is democratic and stable, nor because Panama has a free market economy that typically grows at the same rate as China’s.
Panama is a tropical paradise. It has two seacoasts, each with numerous islands where one can find a Panama home. The tranquil lifestyle possible here allows you to truly “get away from it all.”
Caribbean Island Homes in Panama
From Caribbean island property in Panama it is a close trip to coral reefs, sandy beaches and exotic plant life. Fish, snorkel, surf, walk in jungles and bird watch to your heart’s content. The Panamanian Caribbean has many islands, especially in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago but also in the more remote areas off of both coasts of Veraguas Province.
On the Pacific coast of Panama there are the Pearl Islands to the south of Panama City and more island from the Darien up to Chriqui Province. Depending upon whether you want to sail or just use a local island ferry there are easy to reach island getaways and there are true island getaways not served by commercial ferries.
To the extent that someone has purchased a large tract of Panama island real estate and does not have the cash or credit to develop there may be some excellent deals for someone with cash. However, anyone who wanted a Panama home on one of Panama’s islands probably is very happy and not about to sell. That is a testimony to life in Panama on the islands!
In general as the real estate market has cooled off a bit in Panama this is great time to go looking for your Panama island home. If you are looking for a home on a Panama island come to see us at ABPanama. There are many excellent locations and some great bargains. You many want to sign up for one of our free real estate tours but it would be better to talk a little first as there can be a lot of ground (or water!) to cover.