Panama real estate investment trends: highlights in 2024


An Introduction to the Real Estate Market of Panama

A vibrant and dynamic sector, Panama's real estate market has evolved significantly since its crucial growth period beginning in 2006. Fueled by foreign investment, the sector has been instrumental in driving Panama's economic rise. Government initiatives have played a crucial role in this growth, with laws put in place to protect and encourage foreign investment, creating a favorable business environment.

The year 2006 marked a turning point with the start of high-profile skyscraper projects, such as the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, which increased international interest. However, the market faced challenges, including oversupply and corruption, which in 2007 was estimated to cost the economy up to $1.2 billion, impacting growth rates. Despite these obstacles, Panama's strategic use of the US dollar, along with its growing economy and tourism sector, continued to attract investors.

By 2010, market dynamics shifted toward a buyer's market due to an oversupply of luxury apartments, with reports suggesting up to 15,000 unsold units. This situation led to corrections in the market and new rules to mitigate developer abuses. Panama's attractiveness as an investment destination continued to strengthen due to its economic stability, growing tourism and favorable cost of living, even as it grappled with internal economic disparities.

As we approach 2024, understanding this historical context is crucial for investors eyeing Panama's real estate market. The combination of foreign investment, government support, market fluctuations and economic challenges paint a comprehensive picture of the market's resilience and potential, setting the stage for informed investment decisions in the current landscape.

Main Drivers of Real Estate Investment in Panama

In Panama, 2024 is shaping up to be a crucial year for real estate investors, driven by a combination of strategic developments and economic trends. Among these, the country's solid infrastructure plan stands out. Panama is investing a significant sum of US$19.5 billion over the next five years, with a focus on roads (15.2% of the budget) and water and sanitation (18.9%). This investment is vital, especially given the important contribution of construction to the economy, which has contributed 1.9% in the last five years and has generated numerous jobs. However, there is still work to be done, especially in improving road infrastructure ranked 44th by the infrastructure quality index.

Panama's appeal as a tourist destination and retirement haven continues unabated. With its stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural diversity, the country attracts a constant flow of global visitors and retirees. The expansion of the Tocumen International Airport and the Pensionado Visa program, which offers attractive incentives, further increase the demand for vacation homes and retirement properties. This long-lasting trend is an important pillar of the real estate market, especially in areas favored by tourists and expats.

Economic stability also plays a crucial role. Panama's impressive score of 47.5 on the Fragile States Index reflects its stable political and economic environment, essential for real estate growth.

Current Market Analysis

Population Growing and Wealth Trends

Panama's real estate market is dynamically influenced by the country's population growth and GDP trends. Over the past five years, Panama has experienced a 3% increase in population and a 3.1% increase in GDP per capita, indicating a growing demand for housing. This growth trajectory is expected to continue, with IMF projections showing 5% growth in 2023 and a projected 4% in 2024, resulting in an increase of 19.2% over the next five years, with an average growth rate of GDP of 3.8%. The implications of these trends are particularly significant in urban areas such as Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Boquete, where a growing population combined with increasing wealth will likely increase demand for both residential and commercial real estate.

While Panama's real estate market has declined since early October due to protests and unrest related to the mine expansion. These current complications, which are leading to less interest in the Panamanian market, are expected to calm down in the month of December. Looking ahead to 2024, therefore, demand is expected to return to normal levels and increase steadily throughout the rest of the year.

Rental Income

Investors in the Panamanian real estate market can anticipate attractive rental yields, a crucial factor in evaluating the profitability of property investments. According to Numbeo, rental properties in Panama offer gross rental yields ranging between 6.8% and 9.5%. This high yield potential is especially attractive in major urban and resort areas, where demand for rental properties is consistently strong. Population growth and GDP per capita further suggest that rental demand will continue to increase, making rental properties an attractive investment option in 2024 and beyond.

Inflation and Real Estate Investment

Inflation is an essential factor in real estate investing as it impacts property values and rental rates. Over the next five years, Panama's inflation rate is projected to be 10.5%, with an average annual increase of 2.1%. This moderate inflation rate is conducive to housing market growth as it generally leads to higher property values and rental rates. However, investors should remain cautious about the broader economic backdrop. Panama's economy, although stable, is vulnerable to global economic fluctuations, such as changes in commodity prices and trade dynamics, which could negatively impact the real estate market.

Regulatory Considerations

The regulatory landscape for foreign real estate investors in Panama is dynamic and multifaceted. Key aspects include the 2020 enactment of Law No. 129, which mandates the registration of beneficial owners to improve financial transparency. Zoning regulations, managed by the Ministry of Housing and Land Use Planning, dictate permitted property uses, varying by region.

The title transfer process is structured, involving a government-imposed 2% title transfer tax and a 3% advance capital gains tax. Foreigners can legally own titled property, either personally or through a Panamanian corporation. Panama's legal framework, designed to protect foreign investments, ensures a safe and adaptable environment for international investors. Like Law No. 129, or the change in the minimum investment requirement for the Qualified Investor Visa proposed for November 2024, regulations affecting the real estate market are common and investors should remain vigilant.

Where to Invest in Panamanian Real Estate

From locations to types of real estate, the real estate trends that investors are interested in are also enlightening for expats or retirees looking to relocate to Panama. This section explores where to find the best properties for a financially sound investment.

The Best Locations

Coronado, Panama

Coronado is a gem for real estate investors in 2024. It is close to Panama City and has the least rainy climate in Panama. This beach community has grown from a quiet area to a bustling city with shopping centers, diverse dining options, top-notch healthcare, and schools. Its outdoor life is varied, offering activities such as golf and surfing. Coronado combines modern amenities with local charm, providing everything from supermarkets to banks and even well-known fast food chains. All of these features make Coronado a top choice for investors looking for a combination of convenience and growth potential.

Panama City, Panama

Panama City is at the heart of real estate development, driven by a stable economy and attractive tax benefits. The city is a mix of modern skyscrapers, luxurious apartments and high-end shopping areas. Ongoing infrastructure investments, including the expansion of the Panama Canal and new metro lines, are increasing the city's attractiveness. Panama City's appeal as a retirement haven and tourist destination, rich in culture and natural beauty, continues to grow. These factors, combined with its strategic geographical position, make it an attractive location for real estate investors in 2024.

Bocas del Toro, Panama

In Bocas del Toro, several areas stand out for real estate investment. The coastline from Big Creek to Paunch offers waterfront property, easy access to public amenities, and is close to social life in Bocas Town. Isla Solarte, especially the northern end, is ideal for relaxed island living with easy access to the city and water activities. The northern tip of Isla Carenero balances seclusion with proximity to Bocas Town, perfect for those who love the beach and the jungle. Other areas such as Punta Rica, Isla San Cristóbal and Bahía Honda offer a combination of privacy, natural beauty and cultural richness. These diverse options make Bocas del Toro an excellent option for real estate investment in 2024.

The Best Property Types

Farms Near Popular Destinations like Pedasí or Bocas

In places like Pedasí and Bocas Del Toro, investing in farms, or rural properties, seems increasingly smart. Panama's status as a hotspot for both tourists and retirees plays a big role here. Its combination of beautiful landscapes and rich culture, along with retiree benefits such as the Pensioner Visa, is attracting more and more people. This trend means a growing need for places to stay, from vacation homes to rentals. Farms in these areas have great potential. They could become tourist accommodation or private getaways, taking advantage of the growing number of visitors and retirees.

Apartments in the New Skyscrapers of Panama City

The scene in Panama City is lively, thanks to its booming economy and its role as a regional base for large international companies. This economic boom is increasing demand for all types of properties: office spaces, homes and commercial areas. The city's privileged location, enhanced by the famous Panama Canal and Tocumen International Airport, makes it a key global business center. For investors, this means that apartments in the city's latest skyscrapers are a great bet. These properties are set to increase in value and rental income, especially with Panama rental yields being so attractive right now.

Townhouses Near Golf Clubs

With Panama's focus on improving its infrastructure and charm as a place to retire, properties close to amenities such as golf clubs are in demand. Townhouses in these locations are ideal for those attracted by the lifestyle offered by golf clubs and related facilities. Panama's stable economy, positive growth outlook and increasing wealth of its population add appeal to these properties. For investors, this suggests strong potential for both capital gains and rental income.

Challenges and Considerations for Investors

Resilience to Global Economic Fluctuations

Despite global economic uncertainty, such as the impact of geopolitical events such as wars or inflation, Panama's real estate market has shown remarkable resilience. Panama's Ministry of Economy and Finance projects solid 6% economic growth in 2023, an increase from the previous 5% forecast. This growth, driven by trade, construction, tourism and transportation, highlights the strength of Panama's economy and the ability of the Panamanian real estate market to withstand global economic shocks.

Oversupply in the Commercial Real Estate Market

Historical data indicates a significant risk of oversupply, especially in the commercial real estate sector. Between 2018 and 2023, Panama experienced an oversupply in the range of 500,000 to 600,000 square meters in its real estate market. This oversupply led to a competitive market environment, benefiting tenants but causing a drop in rental prices for commercial and office buildings from 15% to 20%. Investors should exercise caution when entering oversupplied market segments and consider diversifying their portfolios to mitigate this risk. That said, it definitely depends on the area you're looking at. Costa del Este, Punta Pacifica and Santa María, for example, the most prosperous and therefore most sought after areas, do not have this problem.

Impact of the Rental Price Decrease

The situation of oversupply, especially in commercial spaces and offices, has led to a decrease in rental prices, impacting the general profitability of real estate investments. This trend could impact investors seeking rental income as a primary investment return. However, it also presents an opportunity for investors to purchase properties at lower prices, potentially benefiting from future market corrections.


Reflecting on Panama's real estate investment landscape for 2024, it is evident that this vibrant market offers a variety of opportunities balanced with thoughtful considerations. Steady economic growth, supported by substantial investments in infrastructure, and Panama's attractiveness as a retirement and tourism destination, create fertile ground for real estate investments. These positives, combined with attractive rental yields and a strong response to global economic fluctuations, paint a promising picture.

However, astute investors should pay attention to the challenges of regulatory changes, oversupply in certain market segments, and the implications of rental price dynamics. Despite these considerations, Panama's real estate market, with its strategic location and diverse economic activities, remains a tempting proposition. The key lies in strategic planning and staying informed, ensuring that investments made today are sustainable and lucrative. In essence, Panama, with its combination of challenges and vast opportunities, stands as a beacon for astute real estate investors in 2024.

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