The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in Panama
Welcome to the 7th Heaven Properties guide to buying property in Panama, your essential companion for navigating the enchanting appeal of this Central American land of contrasts.
From the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro to the towering skyscrapers of Panama City, Panama offers both idyllic islands and cosmopolitan cityscapes, where tradition collides with modernity, and where the Atlantic is connected to the Pacific.
Discover the charm of this fascinating country, find out why property buyers are investing in real estate in Panama and delve into the real estate market with a showcase of property listings and blog posts highlighting its unique attractions and advantages.
From the ins and outs of buying property in Panama to an essential overview of relevant taxes, this is your ultimate go-to resource.
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 and find your perfect property
- Search and find lawyer
- Make offer
- Offer accepted
- Refundable reservation to secure unit for period of time (typically 14 days)
- Lawyers review and iron out Promissory Purchase Contract
- Both parties sign contract
- Typically 10% is transferred to seller as a firm deposit
- Remaining 90% is paid upon deed transfer with notary (typical closing period 45 to 60 days)
- Buyer is responsible for registration fees and notary fees and their own legal expenses
- Seller is responsible for broker commission / transfer taxes and their own legal expenses
- 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).
As of January 2019, property tax on a property declared as a primary residence is payable according to the property’s declared value in the Panama Public Registry, as follows:
- $0 to $120,000: Exempt,
- $120,001 to $700,000: 0.5% of the value,
- Over $700,000: 0.7% of the value.
Tax on Secondary Residences, commercial property or industrial property is payable as follows:
- $0 to $30,000: Exempt,
- $30,001 to $250,000: 0.6% of the value,
- $250,001 to $500,000: 0.8% of the value,
- Over $500,000: 1.0% of the value.
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
More from the Blog
Panama Investment Property for Savvy Investors
Searching for Panama Investment Property offering potential for a high Return on Investment? Here’s our pick of the best.
Invest in Panama
Why invest in Panama in 2021? Discover the advantages of investing in Panama in our guide for investors.
Invest in the Caribbean
Why invest in the Caribbean in 2020? Discover the advantages of investing in the Caribbean in our guide for investors.
How to Retire in Panama
Would you like to retire in Panama? Find out about how to move to this land of misty mountains, tropical islands and vibrant cities.
Best Places to Retire in the Caribbean
Discover the best places to retire in the Caribbean in the ultimate guide from 7th Heaven Properties.
Best Places to Buy Property in Panama
Where are the best places to buy property in Panama? Discover the hottest spots in our guide.