For this week’s In the Know, we’re turning the spotlight on Panama — a dynamic Central American destination attracting investors, entrepreneurs, retirees and full-time residents from around the world. We spoke with Victoria (Vicky) Levitam, a seasoned real estate professional who brings over 18 years of development expertise to her role as a Managing Partner at The Agency Panama.
Well-versed in international relocation and Panama’s visa options, Vicky is also the co-founder of PARS, a real estate consulting service that offers clients guidance for the acquisition of properties in Panama as well as visa and investment advice.
Here, Vicky discusses several key elements of Panama’s current market landscape — from its visa options to its emerging real estate developments and much more.
Who is buying property in Panama right now?
Panama is currently drawing interest from a broad spectrum of property buyers. Retirees are particularly attracted to Panama’s Pensionado visa program, which provides them with enticing benefits including healthcare and entertainment discounts. Entrepreneurs find Panama’s thriving economy and business-friendly atmosphere appealing, making it a prime choice. Families, on the other hand, are drawn to Panama for its high-quality education and the overall safety it provides. Additionally, Panama’s Digital Nomad and Investor Qualified Visas have gained popularity among those who seek remote work opportunities and investment prospects in this vibrant and welcoming nation.
What is attracting them to Panama?
Panama beckons with its one-of-a-kind fusion of natural wonders and cosmopolitan allure. Within a quick, less-than-an-hour drive, you can escape to untouched, exuberant places in the heart of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions. Panama’s accessibility, thanks to its status as an Americanized country using the U.S. dollar, makes it an enticing choice.
The top booming economy in the region and its role as the “Hub of the Americas” are magnets for investors and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in a thriving international community.
Beyond the financial aspects, Panama offers a seamless blend of urban and tropical living. Its vibrant city life in Panama City, with a modern skyline and a bustling cultural scene, is complemented by the tranquil beauty of its rainforests and pristine beaches.
The pleasant tropical climate ensures a comfortable lifestyle throughout the year, while the low cost of living further sweetens the deal. Panama’s appeal is truly a holistic package, providing access to nature, beautiful beaches, favorable weather, a dynamic metropolitan environment, and a harmonious work/life balance.
What is the visa process like for foreigners interested in buying property in Panama?
The visa process in Panama is relatively straightforward, particularly for those interested in purchasing property. The Friendly Nations Visa offers a streamlined path for nationals of 50 countries, enabling them to qualify with an investment of as little as $5,000 in a Panamanian bank account. Additionally, there are options such as the Self-Economic Solvency Visa and the Real Estate Investor Visa, both providing flexibility and opportunities for investors to secure their residency.
For retirees, the Pensionado Visa is an attractive choice, requiring a guaranteed lifetime pension of at least $1,000 per month or a property investment of $100,000. Moreover, Panama recently introduced the Digital Nomad Visa, making it an ideal destination for remote workers who wish to purchase property while enjoying a change of scenery.
It’s worth noting that after obtaining residency in Panama, you can qualify for a Panamanian passport in as little as five years. The visa process is efficient and straightforward, and Panama’s welcoming stance towards expatriates makes it a preferred choice for property buyers seeking the benefits of a Panamanian visa.
Are there any new developments coming into Panama and Panama City?
Amid Panama’s rich real estate tapestry, a compelling narrative of dynamic development is taking shape. From the bustling heart of Panama City to the serene shores of coastal towns, Panama extends a diverse array of investment prospects, drawing the keen interest of international investors. The city’s expanding Metro system promises greater urban accessibility, while the Amador Causeway, which links idyllic islands in the Pacific, hums with exciting new real estate ventures.
Coastal gems like Bocas del Toro and Pedasí are rapidly emerging as tourism hotspots, luring investors who recognize the untapped potential within these flourishing locales. The pristine Pearl Islands, renowned for their black marlin fishing and breathtaking scenery, have transformed into coveted retreats for those seeking exclusive luxury. In the mountain haven of Boquete, celebrated for its world-class Geisha coffee, distinctive investment opportunities arise within the realms of agriculture and hospitality.
For golf enthusiasts, Panama offers the Santa Maria Golf and Country Club, featuring lush courses designed by the renowned Jack Nicklaus Design, blending leisure with luxury. Meanwhile, within the charming and historic cobblestone streets of Casco Viejo, Panama’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, a vibrant artistic and cultural renaissance is unfolding, creating a captivating fusion of history and modernity.
At the pinnacle of luxury, Ocean Reef Islands, two private islands with a 5-star private residential marina located in the heart of Panama’s bay, beckon those who covet privacy and opulence. Panama’s ever-evolving landscape reflects its steadfast commitment to growth, modernization, and diversification, extending a warm invitation to a global audience to partake in its unfolding saga. Whether you are a city dweller, a nature enthusiast, a golf aficionado, or a maritime connoisseur, Panama’s diverse investment offerings serve as your passport to a captivating story of opportunity and vibrant culture.
What are some other perks a person from another country could enjoy if they owned property in Panama?
When you own property in Panama, a world of opportunities unfolds, enriching your life in multifaceted ways. Within a well-connected expat community, you’ll discover a supportive network, forging friendships and camaraderie as you embrace your new lifestyle.
Panama’s dollar-based economy underpins your financial well-being, instilling a sense of security in your investment.
The country’s healthcare system stands as a shining example of excellence, renowned globally for its world-class services offered at remarkably affordable rates. Medical tourists from across the globe are drawn to Panama’s healthcare facilities, ensuring you receive top-notch medical care.
Panama’s diverse culture, a harmonious blend of indigenous traditions, Spanish heritage, and Afro-Caribbean influences, weaves a rich tapestry of experiences. Delve into local culinary delights, engage in traditional festivities, and immerse yourself in the captivating history that surrounds you.
But the allure of Panama extends beyond these comforts. Panama offers advanced medical treatments, including cutting-edge stem cell procedures, ensuring your well-being. For adventure enthusiasts, surfing and hiking are just a 15-minute drive from the city, allowing you to explore the thriving exuberance of biodiversity in Panama’s natural landscapes.
In Panama, owning property is not just an investment; it’s an entry into a life brimming with enriching experiences and a secure, prosperous future. Your days will be filled with the excitement of discovery, the thrill of adventure, and the embrace of diverse cultures — all while being underpinned by a strong and stable economy. Panama truly offers the best of all worlds.
What do you hear from your clients as to why they want to either relocate or purchase property in Panama?
In the heart of Panama, our clients embark on a personal journey seeking an extraordinary lifestyle that transcends the ordinary, one that harmoniously combines an American way of life with a Latin twist. This diverse group of individuals, including digital nomads, investors, and adventurers, all share a common yearning — the desire to break free from the daily grind and embrace a life filled with promise. Panama, with its tropical splendor, from lush landscapes to pristine beaches, invites them to explore boundless adventures.
Much like the allure of Los Cabos a decade ago, Panama’s thriving real estate market has now seized the attention of top entrepreneurs hailing from the USA and Canada. They see the enormous potential for a significant return on investment and view Panama as a new world-class destination that promises substantial opportunities over the next decade.
Panama bestows upon its residents the freedom to embrace every facet of life, unbound and unrestricted. It’s a place where dreams find their wings and work and leisure coexist harmoniously in this magnetic land where tranquility converges with vibrancy. Panama stands as an epitome of dreams realized, lives enriched, and opportunities unbound. It’s not only a testament to a tax-efficient lifestyle but also an attractive “Plan B” for top Latin American entrepreneurs.
With a thriving economy, strategic accessibility, and the iconic Bank Center symbolizing economic vitality, Panama has rightfully claimed its title as the “Hub of the Americas.” The fusion of modernity, boundless business opportunities, and the warm embrace of Panama’s diverse culture creates an irresistible magnet for those who see the limitless potential Panama offers.
Written by Carolyn Meers.