A Guide to Buying Property in Panama for Foreign Buyers
From the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro to the towering skyscrapers of Panama City, Panama is both idyllic islands and cosmopolitan cityscapes, where tradition collides with modernity, where the Atlantic is connected to the Pacific.
If you are currently considering investing in real estate in Panama but you are wondering “where are the best places to buy property in Panama?” or “how do I go about owning property in Panama as a foreign buyer” then this guide is for you.
Our guide takes you through the process of buying property in Panama from beginning to end, including an introduction to the real estate market, the buying process and the taxes you will need to be aware of.
Overview – The Panama Real Estate Market
Thanks to a business-friendly environment, a strategic location at the crossroads of North and South America, a US Dollar-based economy and the recently expanded canal, Panama has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world over the last decade. Annual growth averaged 7.2% between 2001 and 2013, 6.1% in 2014, 5.8% and 5.4% in 2015 and 2016, rising to 5.5% in 2017.
While growth has slowed somewhat since 2013, the economy is still forecast to grow by 3.8% in 2019 and remains one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies. Economic growth has made Panama a very happy place. The country’s citizens were recently ranked first in a global survey of well-being and contentedness.
While the country’s breathtaking beaches, 1,800 islands and islets, and vast rainforest are still considered off the beaten track and ripe for exploration, the capital, Panama City, is a vibrant, diverse city of over 880,000 people. With a low cost of living, low crime rate and good quality healthcare, it offers a very high standard of living. This mix of urban energy and laid back beach life has made Panama a popular tourist destination which attracts over 2 million visitors per year.
Contemporary developments of apartments and condos have sprung up in and around Panama City, in beachfront communities and on private island resorts, offering a wide range of investment opportunities from the finest luxury homes to affordable beachfront condos under $100,000.
Popular areas include Altos del Maria, Bocas del Toro, Contadora, El Valle de Anton, Isla Palenque, Rio Mar and Panama City.
Buying Property in Panama
Can foreigners buy property in Panama?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in Panama and the Government of Panama welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in Panama and foreign buyers enjoy the same rights as Panamanian citizens.
Buying property in Panama is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- Once you have made an offer on a property and that offer has been accepted, we would recommend that you engage the services of a qualified local lawyer to assist with the purchasing process.
- To secure the property, the buyer will generally need to pay a deposit which tends to be 10% of the purchase price.
- You should ensure that thorough due diligence is conducted.
- Both you and the seller will then need to review and sign a Purchase and Sale Agreement.
- Upon signing, title will be transferred and the balance of the payment should be paid together with all required taxes and fees.
The seller is responsible for paying a transfer tax of 2% of the updated registered value (registered value + 5% per year of ownership) of the property or the purchase price (whichever is higher).
There is an annual property tax which varies according to the assessed value of the property, as follows:
- Up to $30,000: 0%,
- $30,000 to 50,000: 1.75%,
- $50,000 to 75,000: 1.95%,
- Over $75,000: 2.1%.
Some properties are exempt from property taxes.
Search Panama Real Estate Listings
As specialists in luxury Caribbean property, we can introduce you to a wide selection of the finest residential property in Panama.
Homes for Sale & Condos for Sale
Land for Sale
You can also browse undeveloped land. Purchasing a lot of land provides you with a blank canvas and the opportunity to build your dream home in Panama.
Whether you are looking for beachfront land or a centrally located lot, we’re here to help you find the perfect lot of land for sale in Panama.
For larger parcels of land for commercial development, please see our commercial real estate listings.
Hotels for Sale
Searching for hotels for sale in Panama? Browse hotels, B&Bs and guests houses right here.
Finding the Perfect Property for Sale in Panama
Discover the most sought after real estate investment opportunities and benefit from unrivaled insight into the market.
To find your perfect property in Panama, search our Panama real estate listings.
Best Places to Buy Property in Panama
Discover Panama City – Read our guide to buying property in Panama City.
Discover Punta Pacifica – Read our guide to buying property in Punta Pacifica.
Discover Punta Paitilla – Read our guide to buying property in Punta Paitilla.
Discover Santa María – Read our guide to buying property in Santa María.
Areas – Pearl Islands
Discover Pearl Islands – Read our guide to buying property in Pearl Islands.
Discover Contadora – Read our guide to buying property in Contadora.
Areas – Other
Altos del Maria
Discover Altos del Maria – Read our guide to buying property in Altos del Maria.
Bocas del Toro
Discover Bocas del Toro – Read our guide to buying property in Bocas del Toro.
Discover Buenaventura – Read our guide to buying property in Buenaventura.
Discover Chiriquí – Read our guide to buying property in Chiriqui.
Discover Cocle – Read our guide to buying property in Cocle.
Discover Colon – Read our guide to buying property in Colon.
Discover Coronado – Read our guide to buying property in Coronado.
Discover El Valle – Read our guide to buying property in El Valle.
Discover Farallón – Read our guide to buying property in Farallón.
Discover Los Santos – Read our guide to buying property in Los Santos.
Discover Panama Oeste – Read our guide to buying property in Panama Oeste.
Discover Pedasi – Read our guide to buying property in Pedasi.
Discover Playa Blanca – Read our guide to buying property in Playa Blanca.
Discover Rio Hato – Read our guide to buying property in Rio Hato.
How long can a foreign citizen stay in Panama?
Citizens of the USA, Canada, UK, EU and many countries in the Caribbean and Latin America are permitted to visit Panama without a visa for up to 180 days.
How do I become a resident of Panama?
Panama encourages retirees and financially self-sufficient foreign citizens to move to Panama and offers a range of routes to residency, including:
- Friendly Nations Visa: Citizens of over 50 friendly nations (including the USA, Canada, UK and EU) who would like to relocate to Panama and can demonstrate economic activity in Panama (such as establishing or purchasing a corporation and making a relatively small deposit in a bank account of at least $5,000) may qualify for the Friendly Nations Visa fast track permanent residency program. This program allows successful applicants to become resident in Panama but does not include a requirement to live in Panama.
- Retirement Visa (Panama Pensionado Visa): Retired individuals who can demonstrate a pension income guaranteed for life of at least $1,000 per month from a governmental or private source ($750 per month in the case of those who have purchased a property in Panama with a minimum value of $100,000) are eligible to apply for the Pensionado visa program. This program offers a range of benefits including discounts on entertainment, restaurants, medical care, airfares and utility bills.
How do I become a citizen of Panama?
Individuals who have lawfully resided in Panama for 5 years can apply for citizenship by naturalization.
Sending Money to Panama
You could save money when investing in Panama real estate by using a foreign exchange expert to get the best rate for your property purchase. We have partnered with Halo Financial, a specialist in foreign exchange, to help you get the best exchange rates when making one-off or regular international payments for a property purchase in Panama. To see how you could save money, read more: Foreign Exchange.
How to Get to Panama
There are direct flights to Panama’s Tocumen International Airport from various cities in North, Central and South America.
From North America, you can fly direct to Panama City from cities including Miami (American Airlines), Atlanta (Delta), New York, Boston, Toronto and Los Angeles (Copa).
From Europe, fly with Air France, Iberia or KLM.
Tocumen International Airport, which was recently expanded and renovated, is centrally located just 24km outside of Panama City.
Atlanta to Panama: 4 hours 05 mins
Boston to Panama: 5 hours 40 mins
Los Angeles to Panama: 6 hours 45 mins
Madrid to Panama: 10 hours 25 mins
Miami to Panama: 3 hours 00 mins
Toronto to Panama: 6 hours 50 mins