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Paradise Awaits: Buying Real Estate In Panama Simplified

7 min read

Paradise Awaits: Buying Real Estate In Panama Simplified

The real estate market in my current home of Panama is buzzing with opportunities for both local and foreign buyers, promising a slice of paradise combined with profitable investment prospects.

This Central American gem has much to offer - think lush green landscapes, cosmopolitan cityscapes, beautiful beachfront properties, and so much more. Whether you're an investor eyeing commercial properties or someone seeking a serene coastal retreat – purchasing real estate in Panama will always be a good choice.

Dive into this article where we’ll uncover the key legal considerations when buying property here; understand how owning Panamanian land can pave the way towards residency status under the Friendly Nations Visa program; discover unique rules around investing along its stunning coastlines; explore seller considerations during transactions and learn about benefits of engaging local help while navigating through these waters.


Panama City

Panama City


The real estate market in Panama is as vibrant as its diverse landscape. With properties offering breathtaking ocean views of both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, it's no surprise that this Central American country has become a hotspot for investors seeking opportunities in overseas markets.

Panama offers more than just scenic vistas. It boasts a stable economy, which further bolsters investor confidence. In addition, due to its comparatively low cost of living and the numerous job chances for expats, it is understandable why so many are looking into buying real estate here.



Panama's real estate market mirrors its varied topography - from modern skyscrapers dominating Panama City’s skyline to lush green landscapes gracing areas like San Carlos and Bocas del Toro; there truly is something for everyone. This variety attracts an array of investors each year who bring their own unique vision to contribute to this dynamic marketplace.

This blend creates diversity and balance within the local real estate sector, making it attractive not just locally but internationally, too. If you fancy waking up every morning with the high tide lapping at your doorstep or prefer panoramic cityscape views out your window while sipping coffee, then look no further than Costa Del Este or Punta Pacifica, respectively.

Besides aesthetic appeal, these popular locations have solid infrastructure developments ensuring all basic amenities are readily available, adding another feather to their caps compared to other foreign investment destinations like Costa Rica.

Real estate in Panama is experiencing a period of tremendous growth and prosperity. It’s an exciting time to be part of this vibrant community and invest in some prime Panamanian property.


Colon, Panama, Atlantic Entrance to Panama Canal

Colon, Panama, Atlantic Entrance to Panama Canal


Purchasing real estate in Panama can seem like a daunting task. Obtaining the correct data and support from experienced experts can make buying a property abroad much less daunting, particularly in Panama's tropical paradise.



In terms of property rights, foreigners enjoy nearly the same privileges as Panamanian citizens. This means you're free to own land outright through what's known as "Fee Simple" ownership - an uncomplicated concept that ensures your peace of mind when buying property in Panama.

This simple legal framework extends even further than just residential properties; commercial properties are also available under this arrangement. So whether you fancy a lush green space or want to tap into the bustling city real estate scene, Panama offers options aplenty.

Special regulations do apply, though, if you're considering coastal areas or islands where concession property is more common. It might sound complicated, but think about it like leasing instead of owning – except on steroids. You get exclusive possession rights granted by the government over a certain period (up to 20 years).

If beachfront views are high on your list and concessions don’t faze you one bit, then places such as Bocas Del Toro could well be calling out.



The dreamy coastlines may beckon with their promise of endless ocean views at high tide but navigating these special rules does require careful consideration. Investing in coastal real estate, especially popular locations like San Carlos or Punta Pacifica, requires understanding these unique laws, so let’s delve deeper.

Securing coastline or island concessions involves dealing directly with either local authorities who oversee the areas within 10km of border territories or the Ministry of Economy and Finance for other regions. The caveat here is that these concession properties aren't open to foreign individuals - but don’t worry, you can still get in on it through a Panamanian corporation where foreigners are allowed majority ownership.

Regardless of whether your dream property lies amidst Panama City's skyscrapers or along its picturesque coastlines, having expert legal help by your side will make sure you're navigating all regulations correctly.


Las Americas Bridge, Panama

Las Americas Bridge, Panama


Buying property in Panama can be an exciting adventure, especially with the right guide. Let's delve into this process step-by-step.



To begin your voyage into the Panamanian property market, you'll need to come to a consensus with a seller. This deal will outline critical aspects such as sales price and down payment (typically 10% to 30%). Both parties must agree on these terms for a smooth transaction. A good Panamanian real estate agent can help you navigate through this process effectively.



You've got two options when it comes to buying - cash or finance. Paying outright might give you some bargaining power, but financing is also viable, given the competitive interest rates offered by many Panamanian banks.



The next hurdle is understanding legal fees and registration expenses associated with purchasing property in Panama. Foreign buyers often overlook these costs, so it's essential that they’re factored into your budget planning from day one. Local lawyers can help ensure all necessary documents are filed correctly with the public registry.



A purchase agreement acts as a legally binding contract between buyer and seller, detailing agreed-upon terms including price, down payment amount, financing details if applicable, plus any additional conditions of sale required. A well-drafted purchase agreement can protect your property rights and help avoid future disputes.



Finally, the title deed is transferred to you once all terms in the purchase agreement are met. This crucial document affirms your legal ownership of the property and should be registered at Panama's Public Registry for legitimacy.

The process may seem complex, but with a little help from local real estate agents or lawyers, buying property in Panama could be a rewarding experience. 

Buying property in Panama involves a step-by-step process: striking an agreement with the seller, deciding between cash or finance, understanding legal fees and registration expenses, finalizing a legally binding purchase agreement, and transferring the title deed. Local real estate agents or lawyers can help simplify this journey for foreign buyers.


Panama has a thriving, dollarized economy, with a promising environment for retirees looking for financial security

Panama has a thriving, dollarized economy, with a promising environment for retirees looking for financial security


If you've ever dreamt of owning a property with breathtaking ocean views, then investing in Panama's coastal real estate might be your golden ticket. From high tide to lush green landscapes, this country is a treasure trove for investors.



  • A significant aspect affecting price points includes whether a property is held as Fee Simple (freehold) or as Concession Property (leasehold). It directly impacts costs associated with purchase agreements, notary fees and transfer tax involved during title deed issuance;

  • Another important consideration is the fact that property prices can be quite high, especially in sought-after areas like Punta Pacifica and Costa Del Este. However, these are also regions where real estate investment has historically yielded robust returns over time;

  • A unique facet of Panama’s property market lies in its coastal properties. It's essential to note here that land ownership rules differ for beachfront properties due to concession laws, which grant 'rights of possession' rather than outright ownership along the country’s beautiful coastlines.


Casco Viejo, Panama

Casco Viejo, Panama


The allure of Panama extends beyond its stunning ocean views and vibrant cityscapes. For many, the attraction lies in a unique opportunity: obtaining residency status through real estate investment.



Panama offers an enticing prospect for freedom-loving individuals seeking internationalization - the Panama Friendly Nations Visa program. This pathway to residency is more than just a legal formality; it's an invitation to become part of a diverse community that appreciates value, privacy, and protection.

The process begins with buying property. But we're not talking about any random piece of land or building. It's important to select a property that suits your lifestyle and objectives.

"Is it a good time to buy property in Panama?", you might ask. Well, like all markets, timing can be crucial, but when considering long-term gains such as residency benefits alongside potential capital appreciation from investing in the real estate market here, then 'yes' could well be the answer.

You may choose urban sophistication by opting for Panamanian condos or tranquil coastal areas offering beachfront properties - whatever tickles your fancy.

Your choice matters because each purchase agreement has specific implications under this visa program which allows foreigners who invest significantly into the local economy (including real estate) to get on the fast track towards becoming permanent residents.

This isn't just another immigration scheme either; the Friendly Nations visa goes above and beyond by letting expats enjoy rights akin to locals while also facilitating their integration into Panamanian society – making the whole experience less daunting and far more welcoming.

Whether you're drawn by economic stability or simply charmed by natural beauty - moving overseas doesn't need to feel like a daunting leap into the unknown anymore, not with Panama's Friendly Nations Visa program. By leveraging your real estate investment for residency status, you're opening the door to a world of possibilities in this vibrant Central American country.


Panama is a place where you can live, work and enjoy

Panama is a place where you can live, work and enjoy


Engaging a local lawyer when purchasing property in Panama is not just a suggestion, it's vital. You see, navigating the legal aspects can be tricky and ensuring you make all the right moves to seal a successful transaction requires expert help.

Panama's real estate laws are unique. There’s something called “Fee Simple” ownership that lets foreigners own land outright – yes, just like Panamanian citizens. This freedom has attracted many foreign buyers looking for both residential and commercial properties.

A competent local real estate agent will guide you through your options, but engaging an experienced Panama lawyer ensures there won't be any nasty surprises down the line. They’ll scrutinize every legally binding contract before it gets near your signature.



In coastal areas or places such as Bocas del Toro and San Carlos, where beachfront properties boast lush green surroundings with ocean views, things get more complicated due to special regulations. Here, concessions or rights of possession may be granted instead of direct ownership - hence, even more reason why having knowledgeable legal assistance is crucial.

Your chosen lawyer will also advise on how to handle transfer title procedures correctly so that you avoid falling foul of any red tape at Panama's public registry during the property transfer process - another complex aspect which demands professional expertise.


Panama has several free trade agreements with other countries, including the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom

Panama has several free trade agreements with other countries


Purchasing real estate in Panama is more than just an investment; it's a gateway to breathtaking landscapes and potential residency. Understanding this vibrant market holds the key.

Remember, you're not alone when navigating through legal aspects. Local help can guide you efficiently through regulations unique to coastal areas or cityscapes.

Bear in mind that buying property here isn't restricted to locals only. Foreigners, too, have ample opportunities with the same rights as Panamanian citizens - be it beachfront properties or bustling city centres.

Above all, whether your goal is to profit from commercial properties or build a serene retreat along lush green coastlines – owning land here could pave the way towards becoming a resident under the Friendly Nations Visa program.

In essence, understanding and investing wisely within this promising market can turn dreams into reality!



I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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