Panama’s Pacific beaches areas are changing every day. New businesses are moving into the area and current businesses are merging or changing strategy to better address the needs of a growing market.
One such merger comes as a surprise to many at the beaches. Kaye Ashbridge and Jody Hessler of Concept Panama Real Estate, have just announced the merger of their company with Panama Realtor.
Run by Lucy Haines and Allen Blaney, Panama Realtor has been selling real estate across Panama for over 10 years. Lucy and Allen have watched the potential of Panama’s Pacific beach areas grow. “We promoted and believed in this area for over a decade”, said Lucy, “we have always had a presence here, and now we have a base”. Over the years Concept Panama and Panama Realtor have closed several sales together and enjoyed a synergy, which they attribute to their mutual principles of professionalism, and transparency. “It’s nice when you have a partner you can count on, specially in strenuous transactions. It’s nice to have an alliance versus a load”.
As for Concept Panama, the merger helps the company reach further into the Panamanian market. Allen is a Panamanian and Lucy is a Zonian “They speak fluent Spanish and are able to deal with bureaucracy better than us gringas”, says Kaye Ashbridge of Concept Panama. “There is a huge trust factor between us, in this business”, added Jody Hessler.
As for the real estate potential in the beach areas, the team sees the need for a stronger, more focused agency to deal with a fast growing population. “Lots of people are coming into this area”, says Kaye. “It is a growing beach and resort town. It is a destination”.
Over the years, Panama Realtor has seen both the real estate industry and the beach evolve, “We are seeing more transparency in real estate sales,” says Lucy. “We still have a long way to go, but we have improved a lot since 15 years ago. Now we even have access to the public registry online. It is things like that make a huge difference in this business”.
“Back in 2001 – 2002, when the El Rey was inaugurated, Coronado was generally a weekend town. The Cosita (mini super) was the place to hang out. On Fridays you had all the cars parked there and you hung out in front of the condominiums”.
“Back then people would build their weekend homes in stages, when they had money. Now this area is completely changed. You have internet, cable tv, several vets, supermarkets, schools, department stores, private health care. There is a high quality of life here [at the beaches] and the cost of living is still less than you will find in the city.”
The Concept Panama team agrees things are moving and shaking at the beaches, “I see more younger, working class people here now”, says Kaye Ashbridge, “another thing we are noticing in the expat community, is people moving within the country from one area to another. For example, we have people who might have initially bought a condo, and then sold it for a house, and then sold the house to move into something bigger or closer to the beach”.
As of March 31, the team at Concept Panama will become Panama Realtor. Business will go on as usual at the old Concept Panama office in the Rincon del Chef plaza. The smiling face of Adriana will, still greet clients walking into the door, and people will still be able to connect with Kaye and Jody, who will now have a more comprehensive team supporting them.
Office doors are always open and drop-by visits are welcomed. Hours will remain the same: 9 a.m.-1 p.m / 2 p.m.-6 p.m Monday through Friday, and weekends by appointment.
Photo: From left to right, Kaye Ashbridge, Lucy Haines, Allen Blaney, Jody Hessler.