Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Panama real estate investment tops 2.7 Billion

Panama real estate investment toped 2.7 Billion in 2006 according to Acobir (Asociación Panameña de Corredores y Promotores de Bienes Raíces).

It skyrocketed and improved by 25% compared to 2005. It represents the 17% of the PIB (Gross National Product) of the country.

The panamanian economy growth projection for 2007 is for 8%. 2005's was for 7%.

Ivan Carlucci Sucre, Acobir's president, said that this is not a "bubble", but a steady development flow. Construction Permissions for more that 1 Billion were tramited for this year.

London & Regional (L&R) is one of the largest private property companies in Europe with investments, developments and business interests exceeding €5.5 Billion in over 8 countries, including the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, South Africa and Russia.

According to La Prensa newspaper website, L&R 405M offer was the highest in the licitation process, and toped its closest competitor, the american "The Easton Group", to win the rights to develop Howard, a former US Air Force Base that reverted to Panama thanks to the Torrijos-Carter treaty signed in 1977.

Howard is also known as the Área Económica Especial Panamá-Pacífico (AEEPP). (Panama-Pacific Special Economic Area). The plan of development that spans a period of 40 years includes real estate, call centers and industrial projects.

Jason Mills, projects development director for J&R, said that they want to build iconic buildings in Howard's hills, so everyone who travel trough the Panama Canal will clearly spot the exact place where Howard is located.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cheap Health Care. All expenses including maid and golf course, living in a beach front property at Coronado Beach club for less than $1,200.00.
Please watch this video.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What can you do with $1 in Panama City

The Panamanian currency is the balboa, fixed at parity with the United States dollar. That is one of the main reasons why the inflation rate per year is one the lowest in the region (2.9%). Think about it. It is really cheap to live here. If you are still thinking about it, give it a try. Investing in panama, and living in Panama can make a really favorable impact in your quality of life. Come on! You can live like a king with a $1500.00 monthly income. I make that ammount of money as a software programmer and I really can´t complain. I bought a nice apartment last year. Panama Real Estate investments is the way to go for locals and foreigners. Here you have a list of great things you can do and buy with one dollar bill.

1- Taxi cab ride in Panama City downtown.
2- Tipical food at a popular restaurant.
3- DVD and VHS rental .
4- Get a Haircut .
5- Street Car Wash by the popular "bien cuidao".
6- Shopping Spree at "Todo a dollar" (all for 1 dollar) stores.
7- A "no me olvides" ice cream at the iconic and historic Ice Cream Parlor "La Inmaculada".
8- 3 cold beers in the classics "3 by 1" all the weekends at local bar and discos.
9 - A capuccino at Cafe Cafe in Balboa Avenue.
10- A cold "agua de pipa" in a hot summer day.

Buying properties in Panama from Abroad

Though it is always recommendable to view a property in person before deciding on purchase, it is not necessary to be in Panama in person to complete property sale transaction.

There are two options to choose from when purchasing real estate from abroad.

The first option is to purchase the property in the name of a corporation, and have your local attorney appoint your nominee directors whom sign on your behalf. This option does have a slightly higher out of pocket expense, in most cases 1000-1200 USD per corporation. There are also yearly renewal fees which generally vary from 600-800 USD per year.

The two principal advantages of purchasing property in the name of a corporation are:

Property owners receive a certain level of asset protection from frivolous law suits and nasty divorce settlements by having the property in a name of a corporation rather than in there own name.
Should you decide to sell the property at a later date, you will be exempt from having to pay a 2% transfer tax on the property. This is so because upon sale, shares of the corporation which owns the property would be transferred, rather than the property itself.
The second option to purchase a property from abroad would be to have a power of attorney issued to a local representative, Apostilled or Authenticated by your local Authentication Authorities.

Documents issued in one country, which need to be used in another country must be legalized before they will be recognized as valid in the foreign country. If your document is intended for use in a country which is party to the Hague convention, which Panama is, then a special authentication by the name of an Apostille will be needed.

If you live in the US, you can contact the United States Office of Authentications for more information.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Banco Continental and Banco General Merge

Why Banks feel urge to merge?
One reason banks feel the urge to merge is to compete with a growing array of other financial service companies such as money market and other mutual funds, mortgage companies, credit unions and even the giant credit arms of industrial firms .
In less than a year, the panamanian bank center has been transformed like never before with four big moves (HSBC, Citibank, Banistmo). Being the latest one, the integration of Banco General and Banco Continental into BG Financial Group, Inc. with actives that surpases 1.7 Billion. The transition into "Banco General" trademark will be progressive.
Merges, sells, and the creation of new banking corporations with biggest assets and actives, have been gested to match the "expansionist momentum" in the area.
Behind all of this, obviously the Panama Canal Expansion and the financing of all the works related to this megaproject is a reason to go for it.
Besides that, the "panama real estate" booming, (one of the main reasons of the 8% economic growth in 2006) and electricity generation projects also come into play. spanish link here

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Panama Tourism Video

This is a promotional video that gives you a clear idea of what is Panama all about. enjoy...

Trump Ocean Club

Donald Trump did not want to miss the "real estate boom" in Panama.
A multimillionaire must know what is hot and what is not. You can check the impressive project that is actually being built in Panama City, Panama, here

"Flanking the luxury projects like the recent PalmTrump International Hotel and Tower in Dubai, Trump Ocean Club, Panama, is also expected to reach the success and renowned status. The Trump Organization and K Group, a high-end resort developer in Panama, have entered into a partnership to develop Trump Ocean Club, International Hotel & Tower, in Panama City, Panama. The 1.8 million square foot, $220 million project, will boast a 65-story condominium tower with approximately 300 hotel condominium units and an additional 500 condominium units, an international casino, and private beach club on Contadora Island. The Trump Ocean Club will also feature other amenities including a yacht club and pier, spa, fitness center, pool deck, meeting and event spaces, and a business center." source

Panama Maids Legal Information

This article I found here provides panama maid legal facts you can not miss . also provides other legal services and panamanian laws info you need to know. Please read this before you hire a panamanian maid

Panama Labor Laws – A Crash Course for New Employers
Introduction- This is an overview of some of the unique features in Panama Labor Law designed to help the new employer. This could be one employing a maid, a driver or a new business operating in Panama. This is not a comprehensive guide and should not be construed as legal advice.
Panamas Thirteen Month – This one is a winner for most North Americans and people from the EU. In Panama the workers get paid 13 months for every twelve, really. The pay is given to them every three months, one week at a time. When calculating wages take this into account. The thirteenth month pay is given on a certain schedule and if the person ahs not worked the full ninety days they still will get a pro-rated portion of their thirteenth month pay.
Panama Vacation Pay – After 11 continuous months of employment the Panama employee is entitled to one months paid vacation. If you are doing your math the get paid 14 months for every twelve worked. If you want your employee to work on the vacation period it is optional for them and you would be obligated to pay them double. You have no obligation to give them their vacation pay at the six month mark.
Panama Holidays – See below. As you can see there are a lot of holidays. From November to February there are many holidays and you need to plan for them before they are upon you. You can ask employees if they wish to work and pay them double pay for the holiday time worked.
New Year's Day (Jan 1st)
Day of Mourning (Jan 9)
Carnival (In February)
Good Friday, Labor Day (May 1)
Revolution Day (Oct 11th)
National Anthem Day (Nov 1)
All Souls' Day, Independence Day (Nov 3rd)
Flag Day (Nov.4th)
Uprising of Los Santos (Nov 10)
Independence from Spain (Nov.28)
Mother's Day (Dec 8th)
Christmas (Dec. 25th).
In Panama City, Foundation of Panama City (Aug 15 or 16) is a public holiday. Colón has an additional Independence Day on Nov 5.
Employee Taxes – Figure on 11% your contribution and 7% as their contribution for the whole package of retirement and government medical. This is quite low. There is no workman’s compensation insurance, no unemployment insurance, no disability insurance and no extra insurances so the amount of employer contribution is really dramatically low.
Maternity Leave – This is a real complex area and you will need legal counsel if confronted by this from a pregnant employee. There can be extensive leave during and after the pregnancy. If the doctor says it is a high risk pregnancy the worker may wind up sitting home with full pay. If you insist she works you may wind up paying for her medical expenses such as the delivery, special care etc. Do not fire someone because they are pregnant. Do send the worker for independent testing of the pregnancy where a photo ID would be required of the person to be tested. In a word talk to your lawyer, stay calm, be nice and see legal counsel immediately so you do not make a mistake.

click the icon to get the pdf version

the full article about panama maid law information is here

Panama: So hot right now

I found this article in the USA Today web site. I really found it informative and very accurate. read the complete article
For example, take a look at these prices:

$216,000: A 1,200-square-foot, one-bedroom ocean-front condo on a lower floor at the Coronado Bay development on the Pacific.
$375,000: 3-bedroom, 3-and-a-half-bath "American-style" house in the high-country town of Boquete
$150-$250 a month: Live-in maid
$30: Dinner for two in a good restaurant without drinks

Regarding the panama maid info, yes that is completely true. As a matter fact there is a well known sociocultural phenomenon , in which the young women from the provinces and country sides from Panama, come to Panama City looking for new opportunities and improve their economic income. There are a lot of maid agencies that are willing to help you get that ideal maid. Check this list:

  • Panama Jobs Agency -
  • Ana's Maid Services (Agencia de Empleo Servicios Ana) - Phone: 225-3913, 251-4996 Mobile:6-508-1187
  • Celyn's Job Agency -
  • Yariela's Services Agency - Phone: 261-0787

There is also a local agency calle mioportunidad (my opportunity) that takes young women to USA to be nannies. They also have the chance to study english during their 12-14 months stay

Mi Oportunidad Panama

But there are also things you need to know before hiring a panamanian maid.
Please take a look to this post panama maid legal information

Panama real estate guide

This is the first entry in my new "enterpreneur adventure". Yeahh, in this blog I will publish articles and all the information you need to know about panama real estate. For me, being a panamanian, spanish native writer and english learner, it is a challenge to write a blog in both languages. I am thinking about having a version in a third language, but we will see... step by step...
Lets get down to business here... please enjoy...