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Monday, October 23 2017 @ 09:36 AM EDT

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Martinelli Vows To Veto Bill 102 On Land Appropriation

Real EstateBill 102, which would give the government the authority to take over lands that are considered to be idle or unproductive farms, and which authorizes the land to be titled in favor of it's occupants, does not have the backing of the president, Ricardo Martinelli.

Through his Twitter account the president wrote, "The Executive does not know whether or not it will sign Bill 102 on expropriations. It is an initiative of one Deputy (in the National Assembly). It's not going to happen," referring to the initiative undertaken by Deputy Hernan Delgado, a member of his CD political party.

Among other things, the bill would establish a broader concept of the social motives that can lead to expropriation of the land for the benefit of individuals and communities, in response to the failure of the owners of large tracts of land in meeting social functions. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Yeah, I concur. It's a bad idea.

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Government Grants Sea Bed

Real EstateThe Cabinet Council last week ordered that two parcels of land - part of the project to build artificial islands for the Punta Pacifica project - should be "disaffected" from their current status as being part of the public domain or publicly owned property (as part of the floor of the ocean), and they will be converted into a capital asset (finca). (more)

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Government Grants Sea Bed

Real EstateThe Cabinet Council last week ordered that two parcels of land - part of the project to build artificial islands for the Punta Pacifica project - should be "disaffected" from their current status as being part of the public domain or publicly owned property (as part of the floor of the ocean), and they will be converted into a capital asset (finca).

The resolutions were adopted on January 15, 2013 and included the signatures of the majority of the Ministers of State.

In the first resolution, number 3, is parcel of land measuring ten hectares plus 3,248.27 square meters was "disaffected," which corresponds to an area of landfill over the seabed.

The government transferred this are to the company Compañía Insular Americana S. A., which is building Island 1 of the Punta Pacifica project, located in the Bay of Panama in the district of San Francisco.

In the second resolution, number 4, the Cabinet ordered that another parcel of land (seabed) measuring 4,318.47 square meters would be "disaffected," also located in the district of San Francisco. Furthermore, in both the Cabinet resolutions, they ordered the registration in the Public Registry of the parcels of land as farms owned by the Nation.

The Cabinet based its decision taking into account Law 5 of April 15, 1998 which regulates the system of public works under administrative concession, however, the lawyer Jorge Luis Lao Cruz called the move 'unconstitutional'.

The lawyer said the final paragraph of Article 2 of Act 5 of 1988 (which was amended by Act 36 of 1995) was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court through a decision handed down by the full body of the court on 30 December 2004.

In this decision the Court determined that public property cannot by "disaffected" with a law or any other legal instrument of a category below the Constitution, to be later susceptible to private appropriation.

And that is precisely the Constitution states in Article 258 that "belong to the State, are for public use, and cannot be subject to private appropriation, the territorial sea, lake and river waters, and beaches (....)."

Another who expressed his warning voice was the lawyer Victor Martinez, who said he could not understand the position of the highest authorities, who are going against the dictates of the Constitution to favor private companies.

La Estrella tried to get the version of the legal team representing the company that is building the mega project of artificial islands, but it was not possible. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Yeah, heads up. If you're thinking about investing in this project, you might want to wait until the dust settles. As it frequently happens in Panama - things get rammed through when one group is in power and everything looks great on the surface. But what happens if the PRD wins the election in 2014? Then all of a sudden these guys who are building this project - who will be seen as being on the "other side" by the PRD - will be frozen. Today they can get anything done, including two resolutions from the Cabinet Council which appear to fly in the face of the Constitution. Tomorrow, after the election, they might not even be able to get a permit to cut their grass. Case in point - all of the stuff on the Causeway. When Mireya Moscoso was the President of Panama Amador and the Causeway was some of the hottest properties in Panama. As soon as the PRD and Martin Torrijos took over, all of that came to a screeching halt - practically overnight.

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Real Estate Expo at the Atlapa Convention Center This Weekend

Real EstateThe Association of Real Estate Brokers (Acobir) will open on Wednesday 23 January their annual Real Estate Expo at the Atlapa Convention Center.

About 150 developers and eleven banks will participate in the exhibition, which is expected to draw about 25,000 people, said Jose Boyd on the morning news.

"We have all properties under one roof," said Boyd, noting that in the Real Estate Expo, there will be promotions, so that visitors can choose from a variety of residential, commercial, beach and mountain offers.

Last year about $250 million worth of real estate was sold at the Expo, but Acobir organizers expect a higher figure this year, based on planned visits from investors from Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia.

The exhibition is open from 23 to 27 January from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm Monday through Friday and from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm on the weekend. (TVN)

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Trump Panama Relaunched

Real EstateTrump Panama was re-launched three weeks ago after a successful bond restructuring that brought new funding and new vitality to the five star mixed use development. New retailers, an entire floor of model apartments and renewed excitement in the Ocean Club has brought the development back into the spotlight for the right reasons.

The numbers forecast a bright future for both Trump and Panama: visitors are expected to surpass 2 million this year, nearly one million more than just four years ago. GDP in Panama just hit 10% this year and has been running in the 7+ range consistently, and the promoters at Trump confirmed 26 new sales in the 10 days following the re-launch.

The financial consultants for hotel chains like JW Marriott, Starwood, and Trump have invested hundreds of millions of dollars building up high end hotel capacity in Panama City because they aren’t looking at the next 12 months, they’re looking at the next ten years. Their investments are based on a demographic shift that those of us in supporting industries are just starting to see.

The Trump name is bringing people to Panama, and the Trump Ocean Club is already winning awards. Conde Nast, one of the world’s most recognized travel magazines, just presented its 2013 readers choice award to the 369 room hotel located within the Trump development. For a building that’s winning awards after being open for less than a year and will be delivering a new casino and private island beach club, a clear winner is emerging in Panama’s luxury real estate sector.

We believe that Trump, as both a residence and as an investment property, is one of the most well positioned properties in Panama City. The Punta Pacifica district where the tower is located is proving to be THE neighborhood for Panama’s affluent families, and we see that demand strengthening as the demographic continues to reaffirm the cosmopolitan city that Panama is becoming.

Income producing properties, executive rentals and the luxury sector - Executives, families, and entrepreneurs are driving the Panama real estate market and we're seeing strong rental demand for residences in buildings like the Trump Ocean Club, Dupont, Allure, and a select few other buildings in Panama.

International clients recognize that Trump’s development in Panama is on par with his other branded properties in places like Las Vegas and Miami, and Panamanians appreciate the fact that no other building has four swimming pools, eight restaurants, a conference center and a hotel as a part of it’s list of amenities. Those amenities sell (and rent) condos, because at the end of the day, there's nothing like living in a building that's designed to feel more like a 5 star resort.

We like Trump for a lot of reasons and encourage anyone in Panama to take a tour of the development to see for themselves why the Trump name rents apartments, and the Trump resident has a lifestyle that you can't find anywhere else in Latin America.

Prices have never been lower in Trump, and with the project re-launch, the new pricing actually makes sense for investors seeking appreciation and cash flow.

The 12 month projections for Panama are stronger than they've ever been, and there is strong evidence pointing to the fact that the high end market is a safe place to be in the new Panama.

All the best, Kent Davis, Skype: kentpd22, Panama Office: 392-2971, Direct Dial Panama: 011-507 6030-6782, USA: 404-865-1629, www.panamaequity.com

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Lands Of The Colon Free Trade Zone - Cheaper?

Real EstateThe manager of the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), Leopoldo Benedetti, said yesterday that the sale price of land in the free zone to businessmen would be $350 per square meter in the old town, $125 a square meter in France Field, and $100 per square meter in Coco Solo and Coco Solito. These figures are substantially lower than those that resulted in an appraisal commissioned by the Ministry of Economy and submitted to the businessmen of the Colon Free Trade Zone at midyear. According to that document, the prices would range from $400 to $1,925 per square meter.

At that time, the businessmen expressed their opposition to the sale of land, but opposition has faded with the project being discussed today. The National Assembly Deputy from the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) Crispiano Adames called for an investigation to determine the source of the differences in price for the land. Yesterday the consultation period for the Bill began, a day after it was introduced in the Assembly. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: The government wants to charge more money for the land, so their appraisals reflect those intentions. The businessmen want to pay less for the land, so their evaluations of its value are lower. Martinelli is slick. Right now the lands of the Colon Free Trade Zone bring in about $27 million dollars per year in rent to the central Panamanian government. If Martinelli can sell those lands for the $400 million he expects to be able to get, then his government will be able to spent an amount equivalent to almost 15 years of rent income - right now. Martinelli knows the chances of his Cambio Democratico party winning the 2014 elections hinge on how much money he can spend on projects to help the Panamanian people. (Sure, ignore for a minute that they will skip a percentage of that money via corruption. I know...) Martinelli also doesn't like the businessmen of the Colon Free Trade Zone, so if he can stick it to them now while he's in office, then all the better. Then once they suck all the money they can out of the guys in Colon, they will create a new Free Zone on the Pacific side. Yup, slick...

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Government of Panama Will Sell The Lands of the Colon Free Trade Zone

Real Estate The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ricardo Quijano, presented yesterday at the National Assembly an amendment to the Law of the Colon Free Zone, in which the government will be able to sell the land currently being rented by entrepreneurs. With this proposal the government is once again trying to sell the land that currently generates about $27 million per year in rent. In the budget this year, the Ministry of Finance had included a capital inflow of $400 million, envisaged from the sale of the lands of the Free Trade Zone.

With the new Bill entrepreneurs will have the following options: they can buy the land outright in cash, they can enter into a buy sell agreement, or they can continue in their current status as renters, but with a 10% increase in the annual rent. What still remains a mystery among entrepreneurs is the price the government will be asking for the land. According to the proposed law, the sale price of the property "shall not be less than the average of the valuations set by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Comptroller." From that price the value of any infrastructure improvements made by the current tenant would be deducted. An appraisal commissioned by the MEF, published last July, valued the land between $400 and $1,925 per square meter, figures that were rejected by the businessmen, who commissioned their own studies. (Prensa)

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Timing is everything in Panama’s Trump Ocean Club

Real Estate Plagued by the global economic slowdown, Panama’s Trump Ocean Club Hotel and Residences opened under a cloud of uncertainty. How can a building that took five years to complete, during the worst economic period in the last 100 years, survive? And what would happen to investors who had purchased units in the development?

It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump chose Panama to build his first Trump Tower in Latin America. Whether you love the guy or you hate him, one cannot deny that the building now enjoys iconic status among Panama City’s best. It’s where celebrities stay when they visit. It’s where Panama’s socialites throw their birthday parties. And its earned landmark-sightseeing status among tourists.

In 2007, preconstruction condos dotted the Panama City skyline and the Trump Ocean Club was just another hole in the ground. In 2012, the 967-ft, 70-story structure is the talk of the town, and the doubts have been replaced with satisfied owners and a steady stream of hotel guests like Lance Armstrong who famously stayed there before his iconic Ironman 70.3 Panama.

The high dollar digital renderings and glitzy sales brochures promising “A first of it’s kind in Panama” have been replaced by a building that is worthy of the address: Trump Panama. The moniker that is Trump, with all of the restaurants, swimming pools, shoppes, and high-end living spaces have made the Trump brand in Panama what it is today.

According to an article in the Financial Times, “Panama is home to the fastest growing economy in the Americas, akin to the Brazilian miracle of the 1970s,” and talk among industry experts is that those investors who have chosen to buy now instead of five years ago are in the best position of all.

The inherent risk and reward involved with buying pre construction paid off for the people who got in at pre-boom prices in 2006, before the world really caught a hold of the Panama’s rise. However most of the Trump development was sold during the peak of Panama’s real estate boom around mid-2008, which coincided with the bottoming out of global real estate prices in places like Miami, Las Vegas and New York. Investors elsewhere around the world looking for easy money and quick financing were met with grim news and disappointment.

Today, the clouds have lifted as the Trump Ocean Club returns to financial solvency and sales are set to resume with a splash in October. The building is now a part of the Trump Hotel Collection, and the festivities surrounding the completion will begin in less than one month’s time.

Maybe you thought that Trump was out of your price range, or just didn’t see the value behind the name. Well, it is time to look again.

To see photos, listings, and a full list of the resort amenities that have made the Trump Ocean Club a Panama success story, visit Panama Equity.com

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No Bubble on Balboa Avenue: Demand and investment keeping Panama real estate prices in check

Real EstateA further drop in Panama real estate prices along Balboa Avenue has not materialized in 2012 and there are strong indications that a major correction in residential real estate prices in Panama will not arrive anytime soon. Over 90% of the new residential towers along Balboa Avenue are now complete, with almost 30% of that new inventory coming on line in the last 12 months, yet prices have come down by less than 2%.

The Panama real estate market has dodged another bullet, with any perceived excess supply having very little impact on pricing. Demand is being supported by a strong local economy, banks flush with cash, government sponsored infrastructure improvements, and foreigners and multinational corporations continuing to relocate and invest.

Prices are at their lowest levels in over four years and now may be the time to get back into the market.

In January 2012, there were a total of 3,522 completed condo units along Balboa Avenue. As of September 15th, there are 4,534 condo units that are either occupied or ready to be occupied/habitable, representing an increase of 1,012 units, or roughly 30%.

Panama Equity’s semi-annual Balboa Avenue real estate pricing benchmark survey found that (click here to read the full article)

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$270 Million In Contracts Signed During Expo Habitat

Real EstateThe International Fair of Construction and Housing "CAPAC Expo Habitat", which was held for five days in Panama City, closed with transactions for $270 million, said sources of the organizing group. The organizing committee chairman, Gabriel Diez, said the transactions made during these five days for $270 million, will materialize during the year through the contacts signed in business conferences, attended by entrepreneurs from twelve countries. Diez said in a statement that the fair, which took place between 12 and 16 September, was visited by over 40,000 people. Around 400 companies from Colombia, Canada, Spain, United States, Uruguay, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea and Panama participated as exhibitors. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Fun with numbers. If they did a total of $270 million dollars in sales contracts at this fair, and it was attended by 40,000 people, that's an average of $6,750 spent by every person who went through the door. Or, if you divide the $270 million among the 400 participating companies, that's $675,000 each. Not bad. Worth the price of the booth, anyway...

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