I remember my first American Airlines flight into Panama.We arrived at night, and I was amazed at the modern cityscape with hundreds of high rises. The lights of those buildings resemble any modern metropolis and after flying over the ocean for three hours it was visually stunning. Our first drive across the country is equally vivid in my mind as we drove from city to city and experienced the dichotomy between the old world and modern cultures. Where else will you find yourself being passed by a Porsche and 15 seconds later you find yourself passing a vaquero galloping his horse?
Visitors and expats who visit Panama quite often fall in love with the country because of this confluence of cultures. You find a vibrant culture, beautiful flora and fauna, delicious traditional food, traditional dress, and a privileged geographical location combined with good infrastructure such as modern roads, electricity grids, and quality public water. Panama tops all of these reasons with one more for the business-savvy investor: its attractiveness for investment opportunities.
Panama is one of the most stable and fastest growing economies. The projected growth for 2016 is 6%, a rate that has been steady since 2013. This is attributed to the expansion of the Panama Canal, the increasing trade at the Colon Free Zone, tourism activities, numerous construction projects, and favorable conditions of real estate in Panama. Besides these, other non-traditional sectors continue to experience growth in the local economy, such as private health care and private education.
Tourism, Construction, and Real Estate in Panama
Tourism is a major sector contributing to Panamanian economic growth, providing locals and foreigners with security and opportunity for property investment. Tourists visit iconic places in Panama, such as Casco Viejo, Panama La Vieja, Miraflores Visitors Center (Panama Canal), Causeway, or Metropolitan Park, and also to popular countryside destinations including Boquete, Bocas del Toro, or David.
The numerous constructions projects also demonstrate the increasing housing needs of individuals and organizations, both in Panama City and the countryside. Chiriqui is in the spotlight: the current government committed significant resources to infrastructure, and private housing developments have significantly increased during the last 5 years. This is complemented with the increasing expat community, who prefer the countryside to raise their family or to retire. In my opinion there is today no better place to acquire real estate in Panama than Chiriqui.
Many foreigners decide not only to invest but also to relocate once they experience Panama’s welcoming culture. Other deciding factors are the low cost of living, low inflation, a stable government and the zero percent exchange-rate risk. Internet connectivity is ubiquitous across the country, while connection speeds continue to grow now reaching first-world levels, making it easy for expats to communicate with loved ones abroad. While Panama offers asset diversification opportunities, it also provides a quiet lifestyle for those who want to exit the rat race.
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