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Friday, January 30 2015 @ 07:43 PM EST

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Expo Habitat 2012 Real Estate Fair Starts This Week At ATLAPA

Real Estate The international fair of construction and housing - Capac Expo Habitat 2012 - organized by the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC) will open on Wednesday, 12 September 2012, at the ATLAPA convention center. Gabriel Diez, president of the organizing committee of the fair, said on the channel 13 Telemetro morning news that "there are a range of options", with more than 18 banks represented, and delegations from 11 countries in the largest real estate event of the year. The fair activity runs until this Sunday, September 16. The fair will be open from 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday they open earlier, at 1:00 pm. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: These Expo Habitat real estate fairs are the best place to get a good snapshot of the current condition of the real estate market in Panama. All of the major builders will be represented. You can just walk up and ask pricing for any building or apartment or house that's being offered for sale, and they will have current price lists at their fingertips, so you can get a good reference of the current asking price per meter, which varies depending on location and amenities.

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Panama Equity releases their 2012 Pedasi real estate report

Real EstateSlow and steady has been the sales climate this year in the Pedasi, Panama real estate market. Active real estate agents in Pedasi have reported tangibly more visitors than the years prior, but this has not necessarily translated in to more sales.

Some buyers are coming down expecting great bargains and end up disappointed by the fact that prices have remained relatively unchanged, but retirees and expats looking to escape a changing financial climate in their home countries have been pleased with what they have seen, which led to consistent sales for the region.

What’s New In Pedasi?

In general Pedasi news, our new hospital is over half-finished at the entrance of town and should be open by early next year. Built on five acres of land, the 23 room hospital will feature a 24-hour emergency room which is a huge welcome to those of us who live here year-round. There is also a new commercial center being built on the main street that will house a large supermarket, a hardware store, and eight other retail shops.

The road to Playa El Toro and La Garita beaches is currently being paved with completion scheduled for this November, which makes the developers of both Andromeda Ocean Estates and Costa Pedasi (both of whom happen to be located on this street) very happy. The road to Los Destiladeros, home to several high-end hotels and developments, has also been completely paved and now workers are finishing the replacement of the road’s three bridges. What used to be a 20 minute drive now takes about 5 minutes!

The Development Landscape in Pedasi

The Dekel group, which is developing Andromeda Ocean Estates, among other projects, has signed an agreement with Cocige, a large construction company that has built several high-rises and shopping malls in Panama City. Cocige has committed to moving a considerable amount of manpower and materials to Pedasi in order to take over construction of both infrastructure and homes in Dekel’s various projects. This could be a game-changer for the development, which has struggled to get home construction going to keep up with sales.

Some very interesting news about one our favorite projects along the beach, READ MORE HERE

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House For Sale By Owners in El Valle

Real Estate For Sale by owners! Excellent Location! Beautiful property with 7 bedroom home just 300m from the hill entrance of the valley of El Valle, Ancon. This property is an incredible 6,000m2 in size with 559m2 of construction. El Valle is located in the district of Antón, just an hour and a half drive from Panama City. Its cool weather, lush vegetation, mountain scenery, and fun/unique local attractions are what keeps El Valle a top living choice and tourist location among both expats and tourists. (more)
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Panama Equity's Lifestyle Featured Properties Series

Real EstatePanama Equity S.A., a boutique real estate agency based in Panama City, Panama, announced August 1, 2012 its new Lifestyle Featured Properties Series reflecting the absolute best of what the diverse Central American isthmus has to offer.

The Republic of Panama, an emerging travel and retirement juggernaut, prides its growth on four distinct lifestyle ecosystems – city, beach, mountain, and countryside – which Panama Equity has used to inspire its new portfolio of featured listings. Each of the agency’s handpicked properties echo something special about the isthmus establishing this property collection as one of the most authentically “Panamanian” available to date.

Metropolitan Jetset - Properties that made the list in Panama City -- Central America’s most cosmopolitan capital -- reflect aspects of Panama’s distinct urban appeal such as a prime location, ethnic diversity, and world-class amenities. Taking front row to Panama’s ever-growing tower revolution, Panama Equity’s City Series properties offer unobstructed ocean views, unrivaled neighborhood prestige, and market leading building amenities. The properties in this collection showcase everything Panama City has become famous for over the past decade.

The Tranquilo Beachfront - Enjoying both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts within the same afternoon is nothing new to Panama’s residents. So it’s no wonder Panama Equity’s featured beach properties were selected to highlight the Republic’s healthy beach culture. Chosen with proximity to first-world conveniences in mind, the agency’s Beachfront properties offer industry-best views, prime oceanfront location, and multi-use capabilities.

The Mountain Retreat - Rainforest accounts for nearly 60% of landmass in Panama and the boutique agency’s mountain properties are about as distinct as the nation’s canopied biodiversity itself. Real estate selected for Equity’s Mountain Collection is chosen exclusively for its embracing of the tropics: that means tropical hardwoods, expansive treetop views, and plenty of jungle-dwelling neighbors to entertain.

The Sprawling Countryside - Perhaps Panama’s most authentic ambiance lies in its interior provinces of Los Santos, Veraguas, and Cocle where culture, history, and tradition seem to represent best the values of the country as a whole. Properties selected for Panama Equity’s Countryside Collection stress spaciousness, low-impact development, and a Latin cowboy allure.

About Panama Equity: Panama Equity is a boutique real estate agency helping buyers solve the problem of finding the right property for the right price. Their team of bilingual agents understands client expectations and delivers with expert market knowledge. Since 2007, the team at Panama Equity has cultivated working relationships with attorneys, government agencies, and bank managers to help offer a full service solution to international and local clientele.

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National Assembly Discussing Public Access to Beaches

Real EstateThe Commission on Public Infrastructure of the National Assembly has the discussion of Bill No. 379 on their agenda, which includes the right and the need of people to enjoy and use public beaches, not only on the mainland but also on the islands of Panama. National Assembly Deputy from the Panameñista political party Alcibíades Vásquez Velásquez made ​​it clear they have been working on this initiative for two years, and among the agreements - they intend to establish the conditions required for easements and public access roads to the beaches, which is being challenged by the country's hotel industry. Vasquez said for the moment the Bill "has been left in the committee until the completion of all consultations have occurred will all sectors concerned, but the issue has never been managed in a manner without consultation." (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The representatives from the hotel industry are bitching, because the draft version of the Bill apparently makes them responsible for lighting and maintaining the public easements. There's sort of a dilemma here. Let's say I'm a hotel owner and my property is right up against the beach, and there's an easement running right through the middle of my property. By law, any citizen from the public should be able to wander right through there in order to access the beach. In Panama, no one can "own" the beach, anywhere. Supposedly. But in reality what happens is the hotel owners block or otherwise obscure the easements and access roads. They will plant bushes, place large rocks in front of them, or take other actions to make it hard or impossible for the public to first find and then use the easements. Apparently the National Assembly is going to include language in this law forcing the hotel owners to make sure the easements are not blocked, that they are actually open to the public, and can be used. Want a practical demonstration of the problem? Try to take your family to Kobbe beach for a nice day of sun and fun, without being a guest at the hotel...

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Panama Punta Chame - Problems With Titled Land

Real Estate
Whoever put up the fences in Punta Chame removed this land survey marker installed by the American land owner - and simply tossed it aside.
Whoever put up the fences in Punta Chame removed this land survey marker installed by the American land owner - and simply tossed it aside.
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Yesterday I became aware of a problem with titled land ownership in the area of Punta Chame. An American investor is trying to sell two plots of land he owns in Punta Chame. A potential buyer came forward who was interested in the land. The buyer went to see the land with his real estate agent last week. While they were there, they noticed someone had erected a fence "behind" the land on the ocean (South) side of the property. Naturally, they asked the owner (seller) "what's up with the fence?" That's how all of this started.

Executive Summary: A company was created. They supposedly obtained Rights of Possession (ROP) over a parcel of land between the existing titled lot owned by the American landowner and the ocean. They supposedly obtained these Rights of Possession from people who had supposedly been living on them for five years. They registered these documents in the office of the local "Corregiduria" (Justice of the Peace) in Chame. The company then applied to the National Land Authority (ANATI) for title over these lands, based on the ROP documents. They drew up a plan for the plot of land in June 2011. The National Director of Land Titles at the time, Anabelle Villamonte Murgas - the same person who signed off on all of the documents in the Juan Hombrón scandal - granted title to these lands, for free, on 7 October 2011. At the time ANATI granted title, they listed the tax value of the land as $56,288.88 in the documents. The company now has these lands listed for sale on several Internet websites. They are trying to sell the land for $1.5 million dollars. So in effect, they "inserted" these titled plots in between the titled land which has been held by land owners for decades - and the ocean. No one had realized this had been done, and literally they are just waking up to the reality of the situation.

My Investigation Is Just Getting Started: So far the land owners on Punta Chame have not had time to file any kind of a criminal complaint or action - because they just found out about this yesterday. They met with lawyers today and are devising their plan on how to proceed. I am also starting my own investigation and will be reporting on this situation as it develops. It's also important to say that I know what I know right now, and of course there are still many holes to be filled in, and details to be developed. I suspect this will be another relatively large scandal in the Panamanian media once the details are known, mostly because it's another beachfront land scandal that seems to be very similar to the Juan Hombrón scandal, with many of the exactly same players. And the documents were apparently executed at about the same time as the documents in the Juan Hombrón scandal. So, there's a lot of overlap. No matter what, I couldn't just ignore it... (more)

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Juan Hombrón Lands Will Be Sold At Public Auction

Real Estate Las Tablas - Los Santos: The President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, revealed on Tuesday, July 17 in Las Tablas, "Now that Juan Hombrón will be delivered (back to State ownership), they are going to auction it off, so that these funds can enter to the Panamanian state." Martinelli said it would be a public tender and he invited all those who said this land was worth millions of dollars to participate. He added with the goal of preventing people from taking advantage of these coastal lands, they have to change the way Rights of Possession are granted for beachfront properties. "We're going to have to do it (sell the land in Juan Hombron), so there is no doubt, or belief we are trying to benefit or help someone else," he said. He added - without elaborating - that they will have to modify this law "respecting the rights of possession, but before doing so, to give a title, there should be a pristine process." He did not specify whether he was referring to the law of the National Authority of Land Management (Anati).

Editor's Comment: Hoo Boy. Martinelli went up to Las Tablas to inaugurate a new road. While there he announced that these lands in Juan Hombron would be sold via public auction. Now ask yourself - who in their right mind would invest a few million dollars to buy this land, knowing there's a 100% chance that someone is immediately going to file some sort of a legal action, suit, or claim against it? You would have to be start raving MAD to buy that land, under practically any circumstances. Nuts. Loco. Smoking bat guano for lunch. With that having been said, I love this plan. More shoot from the hip crazy shit from the CD guys. It's always entertaining. Oh, and while we're at it, just toss in a couple of references to making some more changes to the way beachfront land is bought and sold. Because, you know, there's nothing international investors like more than Executive improvisation. Just make it up as you go along, that's the spirit...

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Differences Over Bill To Regulate Real Estate Sector

Real EstateElisa Suarez and M. Gabriel Diez, representing real estate developers, explained their position on the creation of a bill being promoted by the Consumer Authority. The developers say the measures should not be applied to everyone, when there are only certain companies who fail to comply with their customers. Suarez, who is the Executive Director of the National Housing Promoters (Convivienda), said the Bill as currently written goes against free enterprise. Both Suarez and Diez support the position of protecting customers, and they are willing to sit down with the representatives of the Consumer Authority to reach an agreement that benefits all parties, and to implement regulations against those developers who do not measure up. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The developers have been getting away with murder for more than a decade. If they were going to police themselves, they would have done it by now. Most of these new proposed regulations would enhance protection for consumers, which would be a good (great) thing for Panama over the long haul. Foreigners are mostly concerned with the possibilities of getting screwed over in Panama, and any effort to shut that crap down would be welcomed. And of course the larger developers don't want to be reeled in. They'll get over it.

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Things To Consider Before Renting An Apartment in Panama City

Real EstateBy Kent Davis - The owner of Panama Equity, a Panama real estate agency that specializes in Panama City rentals. Check out my candid warning about the market before you get in too deep!

If you are moving to Panama (or perhaps already live here), than you realize that there are certain cultural nuances that you have had to or will have to get used to. In short, moving to Panama requires some adaptation because, in the end, it is a Central American country and if you have never lived in Central America (or Latin America), then you may have some new things to get used to! The same is true when you are picking out an apartment to rent in Panama: The process will be different than what you are used to, the properties/amenities will be different, and there are certain things that you need to be aware of (and in some cases downright AVOID) when choosing what type of property you want to rent.

First and foremost, it is important to have some idea about what you are looking for before you start your search. Obviously, you’ll want to do some homework on what different types of rental properties cost based on size and location. A simple Google search of “Panama apartments for rent” will bring up a long list of real estate agencies and classified websites offering apartment rentals in Panama.

I like to recommend newcomers spend some time adjusting the size and neighborhood within the search functionality of the website to get a feel for what rental prices really go for, keeping in mind that neighborhood, floor height (high floor vs low floor), furnished vs unfurnished, and the type of amenities offered all play a significant factor in the monthly rental price point.

Once you are ready to hit the road and start looking at available rental apartments, there are a few things you need to keep an eye out for and in some cases AVOID entirely: Street noise, blaring horns, blasting home and car stereos at all hours of the day and night, and the constant humming of construction noise are all a part of Panama city life. You can, however, choose to control the noise level you are exposed to by choosing to live on a higher floor if downtown (or in the suburbs). It is advisable to visit the apartment during rush hour (5:15-6:30) if you think that traffic noise is going to be an issue. If you live next to a public space such as a park, public square, or public beach access, consider the increased flow of traffic and noise levels when an event is going on.

Major thoroughfares in Panama City (aka potential noise generators) are Via Argentina, Transistmica, Avenida Balboa, Via Porras, and Calle 50. All of these streets offer very nice apartments for rent, however you’ll want to be high above the traffic or choose an apartment that is facing the other direction of the street. Another obvious solution would be to pick one street parallel to these main arteries to live on.

Another noise related issue is neighbors. Since common courtesy is sometimes less in Panama, neighbors can be a real issue. Don’t be afraid to have your real estate agent do some digging on the neighbors both next to you and above you. Without asking, you won’t know if your future neighbors are rock stars or retirees, and this can make all the difference when trying to get a good night’s sleep in your apartment.

Another important factor when determining the right Panama apartment for rent is the specific building you choose to look in. Some buildings are built better than others, which is where it is important to use a Panama real estate agent who is an expert about water issues, parking issues (like a 7th floor parking stall), building restrictions (like not being able to use the pool after 7pm), future or ongoing construction projects, and any other issues that come to mind when visiting.

If the lobby of a building that is supposedly only 2-3 years old is already deteriorating faster than the norm (which in Panama is pretty fast), then pay extra attention to things like windows, under sinks, and plumbing connections when deciding if a particular apartment is the one you’ll be living in for the next 12 months. Again, the use of an expert can be beneficial here since newcomers can get caught up in the honeymoon phase and overlook these kinds of disasters-waiting-to-happen.

Something else to make sure your real estate agent tracks down for you is the details on the owner, or more importantly the property administrator. Oftentimes, owners of apartments do not live in Panama and they hire third party property managers to handle tenant issues including routine and emergency maintenance.

NEVER try to rent a property from an owner who does not have a local Panama-based property manager or you’ll find yourself having to do many things yourself. Be sure to ask specifically “who will be the person I need to call when there is a problem with the apartment.” If your agent gives you an owners email or a long distance number, think twice.

Some other issues to avoid, or at least considerations to think about:

  • Loft style apartments with large windows often have tremendous cooling bills
  • Pay special attention to renting a penthouse unit, as this is the most exposed to the elements since your ceiling is directly below the roof, which is where many building leaks originate
  • Be conscious of Western facing apartments, as the Panama afternoon sun can be a scorcher
  • Make sure your property manager is servicing your air conditioning units at least every six months or else your cooling bills will be higher than they have to be
  • Some buildings include free internet and cable, a potential money saver
  • Take a look at your water heater: if it’s gas, then it’s free. If it’s electric, then you pay every time you use it.

Generally real estate agents in Panama tend to focus on properties above the $1,000/month mark since they are paid based on the monthly rental amount. In most cases, an agent will make the first month’s rent as commission and most owners under the $1,000/month price point tend to use platforms such as La Prensa and Craigslist (so know what you are getting into when you browse for rentals there).

My firm, Panama Equity Real Estate works with owners, property administrators and fellow real estate agents to help our clients source the right fit for their rental needs and we have literally hundreds of rental options to choose from.

All the Best, Kent Davis

Copyright 2012 by Kent Davis for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Cpanama Real Estate Corp - Panama Real Estate for Investors, Retirees, and Second Homes

Real Estate CPanama Real Estate Corporation: North American company, North American work ethic. Come by our offices on Balboa avenue in the heart of Panama; we know the level of service you expect, and we deliver. We have been selling real estate in Panama for more than five years, and our agents Know Panama. Pre construction projects, existing condos and homes, raw land. City, beach, and mountain property. Turnkey investment consulting, including in house legal and banking services, personalized real estate tours, and some of the most diverse inventory in the market. (more)
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