Luxury Real Estate Revolution in Central America
Posted by Yalile Alpízar — June 3, 2007
My visit to Panama started on an early morning with a one-hour flight from San José, Costa Rica. I had been in Panama some years ago on a quick visit, but this time, just about to land in Panama City, my eyes were caught by the incredible number of ultra-modern high-rise buildings all over the coastline of the Panama Bay. Cranes and more cranes one after the other were a clear sign that something singular was happening down there.This revolution is not happening by chance. First of all, the Panama Canal is now in the hands of the Panamanians, thus injecting healthy capital into the country’s economy. Around 13,000 ships traverse the canal each year, hauling an estimated 4 percent of the world’s goods around the globe. Secondly, Panama is characterized by its banking conveniences and strong financial services sector, and it has become a favorite destination for investment and living. Panama is among the top countries in the world in terms of access to capital, ranking behind only Chile and Brazil in Latin America. Panama had also previously been ranked amongst the world’s freest economies. Last year marked the beginning of exponential growth for this country in the Central American market thanks to direct foreign investments in the financial and tourism industries.Panama is convenient to the United States in several ways. The flight from Miami to Panama takes only two hours, and the U.S. dollar has been this country’s currency for decades, providing a low devaluation rate of only -2 percent in 40 years. Foreign investors have the same rights as Panamanians. There are no restrictions on ownership of private property, and Panama offers many other benefits to foreign investors. More details about this can be found here: http://www.panamabusinessservices.com/visas/immigrant_visas.htm.As I noted earlier, I was particularly impressed with the many high-rise buildings presently under construction along the Panama Bay. Luxury ocean-front condos, with first-class amenities and extraordinary architectural design, provide not only a high standard of living that combines elegance with comfort, but also offers the blend of rich cultures from all over the world. This provides great social opportunities, since most of those condos are sold to foreigners. Excellent infrastructure, well-designed freeways, new housing projects, restaurants and modern shopping centers with the world’s best brands at great prices are some of the reasons why many foreigners are choosing Panama as their second home.As the Regional Director of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, I visited Panama to interview representatives of some of the most important real estate firms in the country to be considered for membership in our international network. Membership in Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate is by invitation only and our members represent the best of the best in the luxury real estate industry around the world.With Costa Rica leading the way with eco-luxury developments and Panama growing rapidly with ultra-modern high-rise living and the highest standards in financial services, I left confident that the Central American region is at the doors of a revolution in the luxury real estate industry.