Where to Buy Now: Panama Luxury Real Estate Booms




Afraid you missed the boat on the Costa Rican real estate market? It might be time to direct your gaze a little further south. Based on the crop of new resorts and luxury real estate offerings, it looks like Panama is following Costa Rica’s highly successful lead by attracting real estate developers and establishing itself as an eco-tourism destination.

Nearly 20 years since its invasion by the United States and nine years since the U.S. ceded control of the Panama Canal, Panama City may now be reached by direct flights from numerous cities including New York, a five and a half hour trip, and Miami just two and a half hours away.

Panama ranks high on lists of best retirement locations, but there is more to the country than its lush, tropical setting. The Panama Canal is undergoing a ten-year, $8 billion expansion project that will likely boost both the economy and the tourism industry. Additionally, the Panama government offers tax incentives for foreign investments (including 10- to 20-year tax abatements), and the country’s currency is the U.S. dollar. Though real estate prices have jumped in recent years, second home buyers have continued to flock to the country because oceanfront property and new urban luxury developments can still be found at lower price tags than comparable developments stateside.

Here’s look at two high-profile developments now underway in Panama, one urban option and one for buyers seeking beachside living.
Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, Panama City

Trump Ocean Club International Panama City Slated for completion in 2010, the $400 million, 68-story Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City will appeal to those who want to take advantage of the city’s nightlife and shopping. Resembling an enormous sail, the property includes condominiums and condo-hotel units,a yacht club and pier, a wellness spa, an infinity pool and an on-site 45,000 square foot Trump International Casino. There is also a private beach club on Contadora Island.

The residences feature private terraces with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean. Ranging in size from studios to four-bedroom units, the residences are priced from $300,000 to $2 million.
Palacio del Mar, Bocas Del Toro Archipelago

Palacio del Mar Panama Nestled snugly between the Caribbean Sea and Almirante Bay on Isla Colon, the largest island of the Bocas Del Toro archipelago in western Panama (24 miles from Costa Rica), the Palacio del Mar looks to be a bastion of luxury in an island rainforest setting. With coral reefs, world-class fishing, surfing and the adjacent Smithsonian Research Institute, there’s plenty for outdoors enthusiasts to explore.

The development, slated for completion in 2009, will include a spa, gourmet restaurant, a fitness center and yacht and beach clubs. The property features one- to three-bedroom condominiums with sweeping vistas of either the beach or the bay. Residences range from $280,000 to $600,000.