Buying in Panama

Discussion in 'Panama Property' started by gsinker, May 3, 2008.

  1. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    I live and work full time in Panama, I have access to all the major developments in Panama and know most of the developers personally.

    Panama is an incredible place that is going from an economic and Real Estate boom that is set to continue for a good many years to come.

    The boom is not just related to Real Estate and Tourism but to the Panama Canal and the Free Trade area.

    Its a comfort to know that there is something more substantial that just tourism to ensure growth to the country.

    Before you make any rash decision email me and I will let you know my advice . Its up to you what you do with that advice.

    Hopefully you will find it useful.

    So please come and join me down here. I need more Brits around to watch the soccer matches with.:)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2008
  2. petev

    petev New Member

    Yeah ,Panama is good investment

    I have already bought Trumptower in Panama and can resale one hotel condo,
  3. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    I'm not so sure Panama is a good investment right now. A number of Panama City projects have recently been cancelled and there's a glut vacant apartments. Even the Trump brand is no guarantee of completion - e.g. a recently cancelled Baja, Mexico "Trump" project. Panama itself seems to be going through a surge in crime.
  4. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    interesting comment but living here in Panama i am not sure i would agree.

    If I could find some vacant apartments in panama city right now I would have them rented by the next day. I would not confuse empty apartments with apartments that are not completed and handed over.

    To compare Trump Baja with Trump Panama makes no sense. Two different countries and two different set of circumstances. The Trump name was a license on Baja. I know there discussion on the exact involvement from the Trump company but that is not the issue in this situation. To compare look at just one country in Central America and say they must all be the same doesnt seem to stand up as a good reason to put people of Panama.

    Panama is a great place for investment at the present and the continued construction and sales shows this.

    I would be intrigued were you though is a better place to invest and the reasons why.
  5. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    Well, first, I don't live in Panama - so your location should give you better information.

    But, isn't it true that a number of highly advertised and promoted projects in Panama City have been cancelled in recent months and left some buyers/investors out of pocket? If you know developers then you must be aware of that.

    In mentioning Trump, my purpose wasn't to compare Panama and Mexico or even hint that Trump Panama has problems - simply to point out that even the most heavily promoted and branded projects can unexpectedly go sour - particularly in the current economy.

    Do you think that all projects that are actually being sold in Panama right now will actually be completed as scheduled? Even if that does happen, which I doubt, would you still be able to rent all available apartments within a day - and to whom?

    Again, I have nothing against Panama in particular. But I disagree that there is "an economic and Real Estate boom that is set to continue for a good many years to come." Overseas buyers, not familiar with Latin America and probably not fluent in Spanish and probably without solid reliable and regulated professional advice should probably stick to more mature markets - although of course that's no guarantee of safety either.

    Always it's buyer beware but Panama (a wonderful place to visit), it seems to me, has more hazards for an investor than a lot of other places.
  6. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    A more detailed overview of the state of Panama today

    Hi I appreciate your response and in most comments you are correct.

    You are correct there have been a number of over hyped projects been cancelled and yes they have left some investors out of pocket. What I have to say is also in agreement with your last statement Buyers should beware. This is an issue that investor face in places like Bulgaria and just recently Egypt, it is a global problem.

    People have happy ears and get taken in by the "glits and glamour" of a project and fail to carry out there own due diligence. Just having a nice office in panama doesnt mean that you understand real estate it just means you know how to decorate and office.

    Buying property in Panama isnt risk free, i cant think of anywhere in the world that it is. I strogly advise you always use an independent lawyer, never use one recommended by the seller.

    As for completed on time the answer is no but that is not unusual anywhere else in the world. A Three to Six month delay is not good but it is far better than a 2 year delay or a non starter.

    As for the comment on rental, I have to tell you it is not far from the truth.

    Panama is running at over 85% occupancy. If the unit was at a decent rent level as you would find in a normal buy to let market and not asking for silly numbers i could get it rented.

    I need properties right now for people looking for accomodation.

    Panama is not like certain countries that have occupancy figures based on hope. The numbers are here right now. This is not "build it an they will come" They are already here!

    As for sticking to mature markets i disagree there, you should stick to markets that have stability and demand and location. The mature markets are teriblle at the moment and look set to continue. What is the point buying a cheap property in Orlando if it is going to stay cheap. What ROI is to be gained by that? Also please note that the property market in Panama has been around for some time it was just kept quite. I think possibly it might have been something to do with developers only paying a small sales commission to brokers.

    Surely buying a bargain is when you buy a property much lower in price than all the other units around it. How can it be a bargain if every other property is the same low price??

    The boom has gone from all markets, i would be a fool to say other wise what i did say was that work continues in Panama. Only projects that were on a the drawing boards have been cancelled we dont have half built tower here. You also note that developers who collected depsoits before permits were issued have been fined by the goverment.

    As for the Spanish language, please remember there is a huge American influence down here in Panama so buyers who only speak English do not have a problem when it comes to buying Real Estate.

    I find it easier to converse with people here in Panama than I did when i recently went to Barcelona.

    The problem down here is Panama is that we dont hype ourselves like other countries do. Just look around the world now and look at these Hot Spots.

    I wont name them as I am sure anyone who reads the forums are very aware of these places.

    In Panama you should just follow the rules, lose the happy ears, and practice common sense.

    Due diligence is your responsability, never forget that.
  7. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    Panama - a great place to VISIT

    gsinker - I think we agree more than we disagree - esp about due diligence etc. but just to underline my point about looking at preferring more mature markets................concerning the cancelled projects.

    It's all very well that the government apparently fined the developers. But what happened to the investor deposits? (apart from paying the fines!) I don't imagine they have simply been returned. What chance, what expense and what difficulty would an overseas investor have trying to sue a Panamanian company?

    For me, that alone would not justify the risk/reward. And don't worry, I know the same applies to many other areas.
  8. torchy

    torchy New Member


    Diligent, I am British Panamanian resident actively engaged in property investment. I do not speak Spanish and over the five years I have been here my portfolio has increased exponentially. There are pitfalls to avoid but the rewards are impressive. I have several projects for which I am seeking investors, I will guarantee a 50% roi over a maximum of 3 years. I believe that Panama has no equal in the world today as regards property investments.

    You can contact me on [email protected]

  9. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    Torchy - since you've lived in Panama for 5 years - I'd be interested in your view on recourse for ripped-off investors throught the panamanian legal system. Do you agree or disagree with my gloomy forecast for success by an overseas investor. What real protections are there in place - if any?
  10. torchy

    torchy New Member

    Reply to diligent

    Please could give more details of these ripped off investors as I do not know any personally. I have heard of projects being cancelled and deposits being returned. I know of two grandios projects that were cancelled because they were not viable but alternative projects were put in their place.

    I have had problems with dishonest sellers, lawyers and agents, recourse to the Panamanian litigation system is not recommended as it can be lengthy and expensive.

    I think you are listening to too many rumours, Geoff Sinker and I are here on the ground working, if you don't believe us then come and see for yourself.

    Can you tell me a better place to invest in the world today? If so where, and why.

  11. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    for some reason my last post never went through which is a shame as i had spent some time on it.

    so lets try again,

    I do know of a project in Panama that was cancelled and buyers have losts there deposits and i am very un happy when i heard this . I had seen the project being markted and I read the contract and i would not market it. I told other agents in Panama that it looked bad but i am no lawyer so it is hard for one person to stop people from buyer.

    I hope the company get run out of Panama. The sad thing being that this company are not from Panama.

    But we are still back to doing your own due diligence. Never let a developer do it for you. I get accused by other agents in Panama of being to critical I take that as a compliment.

    As for the mature markets, arnt they the reason we are in such a mess in the Real Estate market. Banks should never have given out 100% loans unless they could see a proper appraisal are clearly seen a equity gain on the unit.

    Bad lending practice and a over hyped market. I would have thought that the US and Spain were mature markets but look at the mess they are in and look at not just cancelled projects on drawing boards but cancelled projects half built.

    Fancy brochures might look good but who do you think pays for all that marketing in the end.

    High Gains mean High Risk. Pople should not complain when they lose if the risk high.

    There are lots of great low to mid risk projects in Panama. If people are unsure then stick with these.

    Who on earth would walk in a stock brokers office and invest all there money whithout any finance knowledge on a high risk investment?

    You start of slow and work up. Sometimes when i watch the UK/US TV shows on Tv i have to laugh. When i was young if you changed a tap or added a new light fixture you was a handy man, now your a "Real Estate Developer".

    If you stick to the standard principles of Real Estate, investor will do well in Panama.

    The mature markets have had it for now and there is no gains to be had so why invest. Everyone talks about the markets bottoming out but how can they tell no one really knows what the bottom is anymore.

    I would be more than happy to sit down with people thinking of buying real estate and I will show them exactly what Panama can offer. People might be suprised.

    Panama seems to suffer from the middle truth factor. People have happy ears and are more inclined to believe in the fairy story rather than the boring facts. Panama is just boring facts but it is these facts that make Panama strong.

    As a friend of mine would say "you can only put so much lipstick on a pig" Look at all those Hot Spots in the world now. We dont use lipstick in Panama.
  12. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    Torchy - I don't know any investors personally that have been ripped off (what does that prove?) and I haven't been listening to any rumours (from where?).

    BUT, I suspect it would take minimal time and effort to locate some - if you're honest, a professional in the real estate business, located in Panama and can be objective I would imagine that you would be able to identify dubious projects and lost money much faster than me. Surely you wouldn't suggest there's no such thing as a failed project or even a scam in Panama?

    In any event you make make the same point I do. Quote "I have had problems with dishonest sellers, lawyers and agents, recourse to the Panamanian litigation system is not recommended as it can be lengthy and expensive." Unquote. Exactly. Why invest where there's no practical legal protection?

    Why wouldn't I believe that you and Geoff Sinker are not working in Panama? Even if you aren't who cares? This thread is for opinions surely. You think Panama is a great place to invest and I don't. Simple.
  13. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    Hi Diligent,

    I agree this is a place for opinions, and thank God everyone has them or forums would be a boring place to be.

    But from your opinions and your comments then nearly 90% of the worlds property markets are a bad place to invest in.

    to which i would not disagree either.

    But i would be interested to know where would be a good place that you would invest in.

    I Like Panama but if i knew of a better place to work and earn money i would be of like a shot. :)
  14. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    gsinker - I don't know how you infer from my comments that "nearly 90% of the worlds property markets are a bad place to invest in" but as far as Panama is concerned we'll have to simply disagree.
  15. torchy

    torchy New Member


    You talk about scams in Panama but you cannot back it up, just generalisations and no facts at all. You can't or won't say where is better, you are entitled to your opinions however uneducated they may be. When you have some facts we can have a debate.

  16. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    My comments where based on your reason not to invest in a country.

    You mentioned high risk investment
    Buyers losing deposits
    Language barriers
    inadequate legal system

    Looking at this list, it could be anywhere in the world.

    You mention mature markets, please can someone tell me which mature market is not now in tatters?

    So far all we have done is convince me and hopefully others to buy in Panama. Cheers..
  17. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    Torchy - if you need facts I suggest you talk to your pal gsinker. At least he admits that there have been problems in Panama. I'm surprised you can't bring yourself to admit that. Of course I understand you're trying to promote an investment of some sort but listening to you makes it seem riskier than ever! You seem to be in denial and a fine one to talk about being uneducated.
  18. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    But in the scale of things Panama actually comes out looking rather good.

    The USA is in tattaers
    Dubia enough said
    The UK in tatters
    Spain in tatters
    Egypt seem to be having some problems
    Bulgaria is having some problems

    i migh be wrong but i know of only 1 project that had problems. Not bad for the number of succesful projects already completed and many more well under way.
  19. Diligent

    Diligent New Member

    gsinker - you may be aware of only one project that has had problems but the following articles suggest otherwise - all available online in under 15 minutes "research".

    panamabizinfo - Avoid the Pitfalls of Buying Real Estate in Panama by Reading Consumer Reports

    The pitfalls of buying property :: La Estrella Panamá :: :: 2009

    Global downturn affecting property market in Panama | South America | News

    Look, I'm not doing this to bash Panama. But you cannot escape the fact that foreign investors are targeted by unscrupulous brokers and developers. And if you add in the weakness of the legal system and a rising crime rate then, at least for the moment, a conservative investor should go elsewhere (in my opinion).
  20. gsinker

    gsinker New Member

    but where is the elsewhere????

    that they should go to, sounds simple question but you do seem to keep avoiding the answer.

    I have read all these articles the Propertywire articles dont say nothing that anyone with any sense of the global markets could not figure out.

    The 1st one is the one i knew about, but it is only one building that deposit where lost on.

    You tell me where this elsewhere is and i bet i can dig up some news articles as well.

    But you cannot escape the fact that foreign investors are targeted by unscrupulous brokers and developers. And if you add in the weakness of the legal system and a rising crime rate then, at least for the moment, a conservative investor should go elsewhere (in my opinion).

    Your comments hear again could mean anywhere in the world I am wondering why you would focus on Panama. You dont work for a Real estate company do you?

    I do think this discussion might have run its course because you do seem reluctant to answer my questions on where this utopia you elude to actually is.

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