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ARTICLES& INFORMATION SECTION : REAL ESTATE & APARTMENTS IN PANAMA 
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BargainPANAMA Real Estate & Apartments...............
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Many people havethe impression that Panama is one of those undeveloped countries "somewheredown there".  The truth is Panama City is a very modern and well developedplace to live.  Housing included.  Your can have a varied choiceof options, whether you are looking for an apartment to rent, or a hometo purchase.  However, there are a few things going on in the localhousing market at the moment that make Panama a "buyer's market" with regardsto rentals.
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Like everythingelse, rentals and home prices are a function of supply and demand. Much demand and limited availability usually result in higher prices. Not enough demand to keep up with what is "on the market" results in lowerprices.  This is a normal function of any free market economy, andPanama is no exception.  There are really three factors at work rightnow, making luxury apartment rentals in Panama the bargain of Central America.  
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One of these factorsinvolve the fact that the US military have packed their bags and have gonehome.  Despite what many thought, they were "just visiting". As a result, all of the upper end apartments in places like Punta Paitillaand Marbella previously rented by army officers are vacant.  In fact,they were part of the reason luxury apartment rentals fetched "luxury prices"in the past.  It seems that the nice folks in the army were basicallyscamming uncle sam, and keeping prices inflated at the same time. Since army officers are permitted to "live off base" and are also granteda housing allowance based on their "off base" living costs, many wouldgo out and find the most expensive apartment they could get their handson.  With a rental contract in hand stating a monthly cost of US$1500 or more, they would happily trot back to the base and explain thisis what their rent is for a small "remotely acceptable" accomidation. Their housing allowance check, based on these inflated rental prices,
came in very handy. In fact, they would leave the "expensive apartment" and find somethingfor half the price six months later (but never of course passed along thesavings to the US taxpayer).  Instead they pocketed the difference. I know of one person in particular that set up their own little "retirementfund" with the extra money.  Heck, being able to stuff your bank accountwith an "extra" $ 500 per month adds up over time.  In any event,they are gone, and so is the "demand" for inflated rental contracts.
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Another factor isof course new construction.  Panama's banking industry has so muchcash, they often cannot find enough places to invest it all.  Manyhave put the money into new office buildings and new residential construction(either in the form of loans or direct investment).  So what you alsohave is a glut of new construction in Panama.  Many new luxury apartmentbuildings have an excess of vacant apartments.  Since most local Panamanianscannot afford to pay the inflated "gringo" prices that existed before,rental prices have come down - hard.
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Yet a third factorfor many landlords eager to now rent at any price, involves the terminationof their tax holiday on property taxes.  In order to encourage newhousing and new residential construction, the government offered a taxholiday from property taxes to stimulate more residential constructionwhen it was needed awhile back.  It worked, but many landlords arenow facing an added expense to consider.  Namely annual property taxeson their buildings.  Coupled with the other factors mentioned, thisis also motivating the need to rent "at any price possible".
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Where are the bestplaces to find a luxury apartment at decent prices (US$ 450 to
US$ 700 per month)? We would suggest the following neighborhoods of Panama City for your search: Punta Paitilla, Marbella, San Francisco, El Cangrejo, and for those thatdo not mind living a little further away from the "banking or central businessdistrict", Tumba Muerte.  In addition, the area around the CesearPark Hotel would be a suggested place to look as well.
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While the rentalmarket has taken a dive, home purchases have remained stable for some ofthe same reasons.  Namely, the plentiful availability of cheap mortgagerates. Banks have plenty of money to lend, and the rates are pretty muchin tandem with US mortgage rates, making a home purchase a preferred optionto paying rent.  So, this has kept the "regular" housing market hummingalong, and as a result has not created any super bargains if you are lookingto purchase a home.  However, with that said, depending upon yourlikes and preferences, you can find a new residential home for less thanUS$ 100,000.  New homes in fact start at about $ 45,000 and go upto over 
$ 300,000 dependingupon size & location.
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New middle classhousing developments have started to appear North of the city (over thebridge heading out towards Playa Coronado) and somewhat South of the city(heading out towards Tocumen Airport).  Remember, the farther awayyour are from the Panama City central business district, the lower theprice (morning commutes are a challenge as cheap loans have resulted inalmost everyone owning a new car).  
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This informationwas provided by John Schroder, Ascot Advisory Services.  For additionalinformation or to send an email via a reply form ~ PleaseClick Here