About Panama – OwnBoquete Real Estate Agency in Boquete

Rising costs of living, out of sight health care expenses, growing crimes rates and the shrinking purchasing power of money in the US and Europe have many people asking: “How—and where— will I be able to live out my life in comfort and security?”

Panama is the answer to both!

The skyline of Panama city Panama

Below we will provide you extended information why to live, invest or buy Boquete Real Estate in Panama.

Retiring overseas was once an option available only to the wealthy. Now it is an affordable option for many baby boomers. Panama is fast becoming one of the world’s top retirement destinations—as well as a vacation destination for adventure and ecotourism. Panama has long played “second fiddle” to countries such as Mexico and Costa Rica where mass tourism and expat retirement enclaves have been the norm for many years, but no more.

Word is rapidly spreading that Panama is still a country where you can enjoy unparalleled natural beauty in relative solitude, rather than having to join thousands battling over limited resources—and still enjoy first world US style infrastructure. Panama offers a virtually seamless transition for US citizens. The low cost of living means your retirement savings and pension will go a lot further in providing you a worry free retirement. Discovering a less stressful environment also has a definite allure! Perhaps most importantly, Panamanians are some of the friendliest people you will ever have the good fortune to come across. Throughout the land, “Bienvenidos a Panama!” is the official welcome.

Panama is making headlines throughout the United States. But many Canadians are also heading further south than Florida for their annual “snowbird” sojourn. The increasing cost of living, overcrowding and higher crime rates in Florida are encouraging them to take a slightly longer flight south and they are deciding to visit and then retire in Panama.

The Expatriate Telegraph (offshoot of a venerable British newspaper) suggests that Panama is an alternative retirement destination to the usual venues of Spain, France and Portugal, encouraging British, Irish and European retirees to look further afield: “Panama is a…warm, adventurous and inexpensive place to retire. Panama also offers an attractive incentive program for retirees .

In the May/June issue of Modern Maturity magazine rated Boquete , Panama, the fourth best retirement destination in the world. International Living, one of the world’s foremost authorities for information about expat living, consistently rates Panama even higher on their list of retirement destinations, with perfect scores being awarded for safety. Check out what these experts say.

Beautiful land in Boquete with mountain view

If you are thinking about joining the rapidly growing ranks of expats in search of a better life, Panama should be moved right to top of your list. The smart money is moving to Panama!

Why Panama?

  • Panama has more amenities, more incentives, lower costs and lower crime rates than almost any other traditional retirement location. In fact, Panama ‘s advantages are unrivaled. Consider the following: Panama has a stable government and a growing economy.
  • The US dollar has been the currency since 1904. Residents pay no tax on foreign earned income. Foreigners can buy and own property in Panama with the same rights and protections as Panamanians citizens—and Panama has strictly regulated property owner rights.
  • Tourism investments have exemptions from import duties on construction materials and equipment, income, real estate taxes, etc.
  • Property tax exemptions apply to all new construction on a sliding scale according to value, for up to 20 years.
  • English is widely spoken—in fact, it is the official second language.
  • The US presence in the country for many years has lead to a US style infrastructure with a number of familiar names and businesses.
  • Panama has many top notch health care facilities and services. Many doctors are US or European trained and many speak English.
  • Panama has a reliable communications system with fiber optic telephone lines and much of the country has ADSL internet.
  • Panama is one of the best offshore tax havens in the world.

The Panamanian Pensionado program (retiree incentive program) is the best in the world—it is not strictly age related and the benefits are considerable. Just look at some of these discounts!

Once you have qualified as a Panamanian resident with a pensionado visa you qualify for these benefits. The process to obtain this visa can be completed in as little as 60 days.To view all general requirements to qualify for a pensionado visa (and other visa options), click on this site.

However, the main requirement is proof of a minimum lifetime income of $1,000 per month.

  • Import tax exemption for household goods.
  • Tax exemption to import a new car every two years.
  • 25% discounts on utility bills.
  • 25% discount on airline tickets and 30% on other transportation.
  • 15% discount on loans made in your name.
  • 1% reduction on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence.
  • 20% discount on doctor’s bills, 15% on hospital services.
  • 15% off dental and eye exams.
  • 10% discount on medicines.
  • 20% discount on bills for professional and technical services.
  • 50% discount on entrance to movie theaters, cultural and sporting events.
  • 50% discount at hotels during Monday to Thursday, 30% on weekends.

You don’t have a pension income? Not to worry. There are many other types of visas available for expats, and all foreign residents of Panama, regardless of visa type, who are over the age of 57 years for a woman and 62 years for a man, are entitled to most of the retiree benefits listed above.

And remember, the cost of living in Panama is significantly lower than the US and much lower than Western Europe. Electricity costs are low (and in the Chiriqui highlands of Boquete and Volcan, you need neither heating NOR air conditioning!), water and trash collection run around $7 per month. Direct TV (with over 50 English channels available), telephone and internet services vary according to the plans chosen. Locally produced vegetables, meat and fish are priced at least a third lower than in the US, although imported items may be slightly higher. The minimum wage for housemaids or gardeners is $1.10 per hour. Local beer at the supermarket costs 30 cents per can, a coffee in a restaurant may be as little as 30 cents. Excellent Chilean and Argentinean wines can be purchased for $3-6 per bottle.

You say you’re not ready to retire? Great!

There has never been a better time to invest in Panama. While the rest of the world is suffering from economic hardships and free fall, Panama’s economy is gaining strength. President Martin Torrijos, elected in 2004 with a strong popular majority, has carried out sweeping measures to promote growth, build infrastructure and wipe out corruption. The Panama Canal expansion, begun in 2008, is pumping billions of dollars and thousands of jobs into the economy. Increased participation in free trade associations is stimulating the economy still further. Panama’s Colon Free Trade Zone (CFZ), established in 1953, is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and contributes substantially to the country’s economy. Panama has consistently maintained Central America ‘s highest per capita gross domestic product.

To encourage long term foreign investment, Panama does not require special permits, authorization or registration to qualify investors. The 1998 Investment Stability Law protects foreign investors for 10 years following the registration of an investment, shielding them from changes in tax, customs duties, municipal and labor laws.

Major companies doing business in Panama include Federal Express, DHL, PriceSmart/Costco, Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inn, Sheraton Hotels, Kansas City Southern Railways, Continental, Delta and American Airlines, Warranty Company of the Americas and Hutchison Whampoa, to name but a few. You will find just about every US franchise on the streets of the larger cities—McDonalds, Dominos, KFC, Pizza Hut, TGIF, Dunkin Donuts etc; Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, Liz Claiborne and other luxury clothing stores are in Panama City . You will feel right at home.

Over 80 banks have full service branches here including HSBC, Scotiabank, Dresdner, BNP/Paribas. There are no “brass plate” banks here. Panama is a growing international financial center with good communications and first world amenities—second only to Hong Kong for the number of banks. And, banking privacy is the law.

In the beach garden at the Yellow House in Panama

Did we mention how beautiful Panama is? Cloud forest mountains, deserted miles of beach, wide expanses of open range land edged by volcanic mountains, fabulous modern apartments with cityscape views, affordable Boquete Real Estate properties…Panama has it all. From the mountain villages of Boquete and Volcan in the Chiriqui Highlands, to affordable Pacific beachfront property, to a cosmopolitan condo overlooking a stunning harbor, the choice is yours.

With Panama and Boquete real estate prices beginning to rise, you also have an opportunity to make a considerable return on your investment if you buy now. Rental property is in high demand, so even if you are not looking to retire immediately, this is an opportunity to get into the market and earn a return on your investment.

Panama currently has an undervalued real estate market. However, as has happened in countries like Costa Rica, Mexico and Ireland, prices are beginning to rise as more people discover the advantages Panama has to offer. As a potential real estate investor there are several areas to consider where you will find maximum growth opportunities.

Boquete has a perfect spring-like climate at an elevation of a little over 3000 ft., with clean air, clear water, and a welcoming and diverse community. On the lush green hillsides internationally acclaimed gourmet coffee is grown and the aroma of roasting coffee often wafts deliciously through the town. If you love Colorado, Oregon or British Colombia, you will love Boquete! The cost of property here can vary enormously depending on the location and availability of access and utility supplies.

Land can still be found in rural outlying areas for a dollar a square meter but would probably require the installation of roads and power and water lines. Property closer to Boquete, with infrastructure nearby or in place can be priced from $10 to $100 per square meter depending on location and views.

The town of Dolega, just 15 minutes from David (the second largest city in Panama) offers small town charm, with land and houses at prices not seen in the US since the 1960s. The up and coming area of Potrerillos, land of cattle and oranges, offers great roads, and excellent access to both David and Boquete. A new connector highway between Boquete and Potrerillos is almost completed, which will guarantee growth all along the way.

A map of Panama

Puerto Armuelles and Punta Burica on the Pacific side just below Costa Rica is the next beach front paradise, just waiting to be discovered. Here magnificent beachfront and hillside land with views to the ocean are very reasonably priced and it is still possible to purchase smaller homes for $100,000 or less.

Building costs vary according to desires. A home with high end US style finishes and fittings can vary from $60 to $85 per square foot; costs for simpler construction using cheaper materials can be much lower. There are completed homes for sale that range in price from $130,000 to $895,000. The rental market is one of demand rather than supply. Rental property is a good investment here. Check our  listings for an overview of available properties in this area or contact our Boquete office.

Panama’s Public Registry of real estate transactions is well respected and shows proof of ownership and clear title to property. However it is strongly recommended that you carry out due diligence on any property you wish to purchase, even in a development. Searches should be carried out in the Public Registry.

The smart money is moving to Panama…so come on down: the water is fine, the natives are friendly, the vistas are breathtaking and the lifestyle that awaits you is incomparable anywhere else.

OwnBoquete Real Estate can assist you at every step of the way as you explore Panama as your retirement and investment destination. Contact us today!

If not here…where? If not now…when?