As many expats and investors have already discovered, living in your own tropical paradise is not an unreachable dream. In particular, Panama real estate has become the best choice for a 2nd home in the tropics for a wide variety of reasons.
Finding a destination that is affordable, provides stability, and offers a good return on initial investment can be a challenge. More and more people are finding that Panama real estate checks all those boxes.
Top Reasons Why Panama Real Estate Is the Best Choice
There are many reasons why Panama real estate has become the preferred choice for a 2nd home or retirement destination. Below is a list, in no particular order, of some of the top reasons to pick Panama.
Location, Location, Location
Panama is readily accessible from many U.S. airports. As such, it is ideal for those wanting to stay connected back home even while they enjoy their time in the tropics. Daily, regularly scheduled flights, from at least 15 U.S. cities, make traveling to and from your second home affordable and easy to arrange.
Panama has developed many expat-friendly programs that make living there an easy transition. A streamlined residency process, ease of obtaining work permits (for those so inclined), discounts for retirees, and a growing expat presence, are just a few of the features that draw investors, retirees, and those seeking a tropical escape.
Some of the many programs geared toward retirees can result in significant savings. Discounts of 30% on all forms of public transportation, medical services (including prescriptions) that can range from 15% to 20%, even savings of up to 50% on personal and commercial loan closing costs make choosing Panama as a second home an economically attractive option.
One of the most important features of Panama life is the growing number of English-speaking expats. While having some knowledge of Spanish is important, finding someone who can help translate is easier than one might imagine – especially in the larger areas like Panama City.
Climates and Contrasts
Panama has many comfortable climate options that range from cool and comfortable in mountain locales – such as Boquete – to hotter, humid, beachfront areas like Rio Hato. For those desiring the island lifestyle, the Las Perlas Island group on the Pacific side and the San Blas Islands on the Caribbean coast have some of the best beaches in the country.
Fast-Paced or Laid-Back
Having the choice of city living or rustic country life is yet another reason why Panama is a great choice. The selection ranges from Panama City, a vibrant, modern city with a skyline resembling Miami’s South Beach, to more rustic towns, like David and Chitre, which provide a more authentic village experience.
The U.S. Dollar
Perhaps one of the most important pluses for choosing Panama is the fact that the U.S. dollar is considered legal tender for daily transactions. Not having to go through the inconvenience and expense of converting money can make transactions, such as purchasing Panama real estate, much easier.
Being able to use U.S. currency for real estate transactions is especially attractive given the global fluctuation and uncertainty that impacts the value of many foreign currencies. This convenience also makes it much easier to budget for both the near term and longer time frames.
The stability of the Panamanian government greatly reduces the risk of investing in a foreign location. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace 2016 Global Peace Index, Panama is only one of 10 countries, worldwide, that is free from conflict.
A major advantage of this political stability is a sound legal system. Article 44 of the Panamanian Constitution guarantees protection of private ownership of real property.
These legal protections apply to both foreign investors as well as Panamanian citizens. Having this kind of security makes the investment decision much less complex.
Although the 20-year exemption on property taxes ended in 2009, Panama’s revised tax structure still compares favorably with that of the U.S. With a 10-year exemption for property valued under $250,000, and a 15-year exemption for property under $100,000, buying Panama real estate certainly is a favorable investment long-term.
Prices for property in Panama still compare favorably with neighboring Latin American countries. It can be anticipated, however, that as the market expands, the value of international real estate will also increase.
The Bottom Line
Panama’s popularity and features have made it the best choice for your home in paradise. But just because Panama is growing, that doesn’t make it the ideal choice for everyone.
Like all important life choices, doing your homework is a major step in the decision-making process. Even more import is actually visiting to see if Panama is the perfect place for you and your 2nd home.