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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 04:56 PM EDT

Purchasing Land in Panama - Some Elements To Consider

Real EstateIf you are an investor, a developer or simply someone looking for a plot of land for sale in Panama, the marketplace is as varied as the topography of this isthmus. In general, land for sale in Panama can be categorized into one of several distinct offerings, specifically use of the land, location of the land, zoning, and for pricing purposes usable area, services available, and views. For general purposes, we will cover three areas for discussion, namely land for sale in Panama City, beachfront land for sale on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and farmland for sale.

Land for sale in Panama City is classified as either residential, commercial, or industrial with a myriad of density, height and use restrictions associated with each category. To receive a full list of the zoning categories on land for sale in Panama, please contact the author at Kent@panamaequity.com. There are several areas near Panama City with no existing zoning and in this case, per the administrative board known locally as MIVI, the zoning for a particular piece of land can be requested according to the intended use. Having land nearby with the desired zoning makes the approval process much easier if there is an existing precedent.

During Panama City’s boom-town period from around 2001-2006, speculators made tremendous profits purchasing older homes, joining adjacent parcels, and applying for rezoning to build newer, high density residential towers. Because the infrastructure improvements have not kept up with the increased population density and horizontal growth of new residential construction, the governing bodies of the MIVI, ANAM and local policy boards have passed moratoriums for new residential construction in certain areas of the city including the districts of San Francisco and some parts of the Bella Vista districts.

Pricing on land for sale within Panama City, Panama varies greatly, depending on population density, nearby development, usable area, as well as zoning restrictions. Prime grade A commercially zoned land in a majorly populated area such as along Calle 50, Via Espana, or Via Brasil generally sells for between $900 - $1,500 per meter, or roughly $4MM per acre. This would be considered the top end of the market on land for sale in any one of Panama City’s major high end population centers, since the streets mentioned above are considered to be main thoroughfares traversing Panama City. Well-located, flat land in Panama City’s urban centric neighborhoods like Marbella, Bella Vista, El Cangrejo, and Obarrio are in short supply and are generally selling for a premium.

Because Panama has two coasts, the Atlantic and Pacific, the market for beachfront land for sale varies depending on the coast. In general, the Pacific side is much further along in terms of infrastructure and residential/commercial development than the Atlantic or “Caribbean” coast.

Prices for beachfront land along Panama’s Pacific coast vary, once again, depending on several factors. Pricing on land within a gated community, for instance, an oceanfront lot for sale in Vista Mar Panama or any other of Panama’s high end developments generally fetches a premium in the market when compared to something that may not have as direct access to the water or be in any already-developed neighborhood. In general, beachfront land in developments such as Buenaventura, Vista Mar, and Coronado tend to be more expensive than beachfront lots for sale in Punta Chame, Gorgona, Playa Corona, and other less developed beachfront communities in Panama.

We have seen a marked rise in real estate prices on land for sale near Rio Hato because of the future international airport, which is already in construction and due for completion in early 2014. This news has brought several major players into the development arena, including the Mariott hotel chain who is completing a massive hotel project in the Panama’s Rio Mar township, a region we've been preaching for years now.

Oceanfront Caribbean Parcels in Panama are generally less expensive than similar land for sale along the Pacific coast, mainly because there is only one main road traversing the Caribbean coast and development is still in its infancy.  In a general sense, and to use beachfront pricing as an example, one could expect to pay anywhere from $150 - $300 per meter for a titled beachfront parcel on the Atlantic Coast. The high side of the Caribbean land market would be within a development such as San Marino or near Isla Grande, and the low side would be for a large piece in an area that’s a bit more off the radar and as far as 3-4 hours drive from Panama City. One factor that has contributed to fairly high pricing on the Caribbean Coast is scarcity of titled land, since most of the land along Panama’s Atlantic region is often untitled, or “Right of Possession. These types of transactions are risky and may take a long time. In the Atlantic side, large lots of titled oceanfront parcels can still be purchased in places like Nombre de Dios, Pelenque, and Coclecito.

Land for sale in Panama’s interior depends on the area, topography, views, proximity to the ocean or mountains, and a number of other factors. For example, prices on land for sale in Altos del Maria Panama differ depending on the elevation, usable area, and proximity to the entrance of this gated community. Farmland for sale in Panama varies with the offering depending on what conveys, including any livestock, equipment and other items related to the business.

In general, land for sale in the interior varies significantly in price point for a number of factors, so it is difficult to generalize on price points. Titled land for sale in Panama with rustic gravel road access and limited services can still be purchased for less than $4,000 per acre, or $1.00 per meter however these offerings generally tend to be larger parcels that may or may not have 100% buildable topography.

Panama Equity real estate agents have brokered a high volume of land deals over the years, and our agents are standing by to help you identify the right parcel for your needs.

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