The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in Panama
Overview - The Panama Real Estate Market
Strategically located at the crossroads of North and South America, Panama is a fascinating land of contrasts.
The country’s coasts are fringed by breathtaking beaches, sleepy fishing villages and beach towns and 1,800 islands and islets, while inland vast rainforests, which are still largely considered off the beaten track, are ripe for exploration.
In stark contrast, the capital, Panama City, is a vibrant, diverse city of over 880,000 people.
This unique mix of city and beach has made the country one of the region’s top tourist destinations. Much like Central American neighbors Costa Rica, Belize and Nicaragua, as tourism has grown, so too has investor interest in Panama.
Thanks to striking natural beauty, a fantastic lifestyle whether you enjoy life in the city or by the beach, as well as a robust US Dollar-based economy which has grown at a rapid rate, a business-friendly environment and a stable political system, Panama has emerged as one of the region’s most exciting real estate investment locations.
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.
Popular areas include Panama City, the idyllic tropical Bocas del Toro, and the quiet beach town Pedasi on the country’s Pacific coast.
“Thanks to striking natural beauty, a fantastic lifestyle whether you enjoy life in the city or by the beach, as well as a robust US Dollar-based economy which has grown at a rapid rate, a business-friendly environment and a stable political system, Panama has emerged as one of the region’s most exciting real estate investment locations”
Striking natural beauty ranging from rainforest-covered mountains to the palm-fringed archipelagos of Bocas del Toro and San Blas.
Stable political system and robust economy which has achieved high levels of economic growth in recent years.
An attractive real estate market offering a mix of opportunities from city pads to coastal retreats.
Fantastic lifestyle whether you enjoy the hum and energy of the city, the tranquility of life by the beach or adventures exploring the great outdoors.
A welcoming retirement program offering duty-free imports and a wide range of discounts on healthcare and utilities.
Strong tourism sector supporting the income-generating potential of investment opportunities in areas popular with overseas visitors.
Efficient air links via Tocumen International Airport.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- 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 process
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.
- Fees & taxes
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.
Latest Real Estate Listings in Panama
Best Places to Buy
Residency & Citizenship
- 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 you become a resident of Panama?
Panama actively encourages financially self-sufficient foreign citizens to move to the country and retire in 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 you become a citizen of Panama?
Individuals who have lawfully resided in Panama for 5 years can apply for citizenship by naturalization.
Mortgages in Panama
Looking for financing to fund the purchase of property in Panama?
Contrary to popular misconception, it is possible for foreign nationals looking to invest in Panama real estate to apply for a mortgage.
Our partner – a very well respected international financial organization – offers mortgages for qualifying non-residents buying, building or improving a second home in Panama.
For more information, see our page on: Caribbean mortgages.
How to Get There
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.
- Miami to Panama 3h 00m
- Atlanta to Panama 4h 00m
- Boston to Panama 5h 40m
- Los Angeles to Panama 6h 45m
- Toronto to Panama 6h 50m
- Madrid to Panama 10h 25m
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