One of the newest and hottest international property markets is that of Panama. There are many reasons why real estate in Panama is in such high demand, but among the most important reasons is its booming economy. Panama's economy is the fastest growing in Central America and boasts a fully US dollarized, free market economy with a history of low inflation. It is mainly service based, with focus towards banking, commerce, and tourism. With the growth the economy, amount of infrastructure projects underway, and still relatively low cost of land and building, Panama has become an investors dream. Below are some additional driving factors to Panama's robust real estate market.
The Panama Canal
One of the world’s most vital waterways is the Panama Canal which is now getting a facelift and a huge 5.2 Billion dollar expansion. This canal expansion means that post Panamax ships, which are 3 times the size of Panamax ships, will be able utilize the famous water way. Currently the Panama Canal handles about 3% of the Worlds shipping commerce, and once the canal expansion is completed in 2015, it's capacity is expected to double. The Panama Canal expansion has created thousands of new jobs, and with it a demand for more housing and commercial locals.
For those who spend the majority of their time outside of Panama, there is a zero percent tax for any income that is derived outside of the country. This is drawing in investors who just want to have a place to go to get away from their own country for a few months out of the year. There are also some very enticing new construction incentives that grant anywhere from 5 to 15 years of property tax exoneration on new homes, apartments and commercial properties. It’s no wonder that investors and even those who want vacation homes and investment are flocking to Panama.
Cost of Living
Panama boasts the best retirement program of any other country in the World and has other benefits for those who retire in this country. Some of these benefits for people who opt for the pensioners visa (pensionado Visa) include discounts on:
- restaurants (25% and 15% on fast food)
- Hospital ( 15% including private clinic)
- medication (20% including prosthesis, wheelchairs and canes)
- utilities (25% on telephone, water, and electricity)
- recreation (50% this includes movies, sporting events, concerts and Museums)
These bonuses alone are reason enough to encourage retirees to consider Panama.
With all of the above it is no wonder that Panama is one of the most sought after places in the world for investing and or retiring today.