These Folks Are Serious
These folks are serious.
The group with us in Panama City for this week’s Live and Invest in Panama Conference is diverse. We’re enjoying the company these three days together, of retired couples, young singles, and families with small children… investors, entrepreneurs, and adventurers… in search of options for retiring better, getting out, starting over, diversifying, safeguarding, and protecting… hungry for opportunities for living well, making money, and having a good time.
And these aren’t daydreamers. These folks are doers.
One young couple is here with their 5-year-old son. “We’re staying on in the country through July,” they told me. “We’re going to visit with schools and try to determine exactly where we want to settle. Then we’ll go home to pack. We want to make our move and be back in Panama in time for our son to begin school next fall…”
Another couple, older, is likewise counting down to their move. “We’ve sold our house and rented a small place where we’ve been living while we’ve been working out our plan. We didn’t want anything holding us back, though, so we didn’t even install cable. A six-month cable contract seemed like too much of a commitment. We want to get this next phase of our lives started asap…”
One gentleman is here on his own. He’s not ready to make his move to Panama yet, but he’s got some assets he’d like to shift from home to here as quick as he can. “I don’t feel comfortable with everything I’ve got all confined within U.S. borders right now,” he says.
One nice lady is trying to identify the best place to retire as a single woman… another is comparing Panama with Belize… many in the room are contemplating starting a business in Panama… and most all are considering the idea of buying a piece of real estate in this country.
We’re making some big-picture points for these folks, then drilling down.
First, Panama City is not representative of Panama. Outside the city, this country is a different place—sleepier, less developed, and definitely cheaper.
“I’m glad you made the point in your opening remarks, Kathleen,” one attendee told me, “about Panama City not being cheap. I’ve been here a few days, and I’ve stopped in grocery stores and other shops, and it didn’t seem to me that prices were much lower than where I’m living in the United States. In some cases, prices were higher.”
Panama City is no longer a bargain, but real estate in Panama City can still be a good investment, especially when you think about what you’re buying.
Panama City is not the struggling Third World outpost it was when I first laid eyes on it. Panama City today is a city working hard to compete with the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is the biggest free-trade zone in the world. Panama is the second biggest free-trade zone in the world. An apartment in downtown Hong Kong sells for nearly US$20,000 per square meter. A best-address apartment in Panama City sells for one-tenth as much (about US$2,000 per square meter).
How much more valuable will Panama City apartments become? This is a much-debated question. Post-2008, many called for the collapse of the Panama City property market. They were disappointed. The Panama City property market cooled, but it did not collapse. Today, many are saying the market is over-supplied and will cool again over the coming few years.
Maybe we’re amidst another downward blip in the Panama City property values chart.
Buy on the dips, as they say.
Where and what, specifically, makes sense for property investment in Panama City and elsewhere in this country exploding with opportunity? Our real estate resources on the ground are detailing the best current opportunities for those in the room with us this week. I’ll share some details tomorrow…
Reporting live from the scene of this week’s Live and Invest in Panama Conference
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