Panama has become a destination of choice for English speaking retirees from many countries. A growing population is migrating from the United States. Panama has the unique distinction of almost one hundred years of American presence. Because of the Panama Canal and the long term US occupation of the Canal Zone, Panamanians are accustomed to English speakers and indeed many are bilingual. The cultural gap is less than in Mexico.
Boquete Panama is a unique colony in the remote western mountains of Panama about thirty minutes north of David Panama in Chiriqui Provence. The climate is temperate, the population a mixture of ethnic groups from around the planet.
As the world economy has melted down I was curious about how it has effected the Boquete Panama real estate market. This week I met with Janeth Gomez-Suarez of Casa Solution. Casa Solution is the most visible real estate brokerage in Boquete.
I asked Janeth if houses and properties are selling and if the price structure has dropped as the US and Panama City markets have lowered. I was surprised to hear the Real Estate business in Boquete is alive and well. People are coming to Boquete and shopping for houses. Most sales are in the two to three hundred thousand dollar range for homes. Sellers are a bit more open to offers and some will take less than asking prices. Most sellers are under no pressure to sell so although prices are not increasing, properties are not offered or sold at fire sale prices.
In addition there are many perspective buyers waiting to sell in the US so they can move As the resale housing market in the US recovers this market is set to boom.
The obvious question is why. There are several groups of buyers coming to Boquete. People who are politically disaffected, people who are economic realists and people who just want to change their lives. The politically disaffected come in cycles as the politics in US changes and many current residents left the US under G. W. Bush, the new group dislike the current administration.
A more interesting group are those baby boomers who realize they now have less. Less equity in their homes, less in their retirement savings, less need to consume and a desire to chance a change in exchange for a different life at a lower cost.
Boquete homes and properties are not the least expensive in Panama. The cultural and environmental aspects along with a new pro-investment government are becoming encouraging indicators of future growth. The crystal ball on Boquete seems pretty clear, growth is happening now, growth will continue and accelerate.
In July Business Week called Panama the “New Florida”, their reasoning is a mirror of mine and a harbinger of a bright future for Boquete.