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Dominican Republic & Panama

Finding Real Estate Bargains in the Dominican Republic & Panama


Certainly I have previously written numerous articles and publications about Panama and the Dominican Republic, but I continue to receive numerous additional inquires regarding affordable real estate in the Caribbean. It is true that I think the Dominican Republic still offers the best value, while I also speak about Panama in high regard. This may seem like a contradiction, but in reality it is not. That is to say both offer opportunities and worthwhile possibilities for the investor. Panama City is the place to be at the moment if you want to rent a luxury apartment, while the Dominican Republic is the bargain-hunters dream for property purchases.

The real difference between these two countries is maturity and current circumstances. Panama is a mature market, while the Dominican Republic is an undiscovered market. The only real reason why there are some bargains in Panama is because all of the American army personnel, and their money, have gone home. Also, there is a glut of empty brand new apartment buildings in Panama due to over construction. Because Panamanian banks are flush with cash, there are only so many places to invest the money. Both the banking sector and private individuals have been putting their money into real estate. A good number of the new office and apartment buildings in Panama have been built with cash. As a result of these combined circumstances, Panama is experiencing real estate devaluation at the moment. You can be sure that the real estate agents in Panama are biting their nails, or whatever else it is Panamanians like to bite.

The odd thing is, this is most prominent with apartment rentals in the capital, Panama City. Although it is truly a renters market at the moment, it is only a cyclical trend. This is the major difference between Panama and the Dominican Republic. Prices remain much lower in the Dominican Republic because of the fact that it has not been over run with American investors. In other words, rental prices and real estate in general has been bid up previously in Panama City by foreigners willing to pay higher than the normal market price. This has not happened in the Dominican Republic because it has not developed into an International business center the way Panama has. Give it some time, it will.

There’s Gold in Them There Hills

Well, while it is true Gold deposits have been discovered in the Dominican Republic, I am not suggesting everyone rush out to purchase prospecting equipment. The gold that is much easier to find is the real estate bargains. Specifically, homes in residential neighborhoods that the tourists usually never get to see. Also farmland and well preserved historical buildings in the Colonial Zone. As an example, the type of home you can get for US$50,000 in the Dominican Republic is by far a better bargain than the same price tag for a similar home in Panama. Panamanian Farmland in the areas of Vulcan, Chriqui or Boquete is still in what I would call the over priced category. Certainly it is less expensive than a vineyard in Tuscany, but over priced compared to what you will pay for beautiful mountain property in the Dominican Republic.

Watching Television with Christopher Columbus

To the best of my knowledge, there have been no ghost sightings in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, but you can own a home that witnessed 500 years of history in the making. History lovers can stand in their living room and imagine a sword fight that took place in the very same spot as their television set. Close your eyes and picture England’s Sir Francis Drake running past your balcony in 1586 as he looted the Spanish Colonial City. Perhaps your bedroom was the location of a love affair between the Spanish Vice-Roy and a prominent local

Lady. Whatever secrets your home holds, you can buy them all for a song. Well, maybe a little more than a song, but certainly at a bargain price when compared to other properties in

The Caribbean or Europe.

What would such a property cost in the left bank of Paris? How about a historical property near Kensington Square or in Louisiana’s French Quarter?

Well, such properties can be purchased in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone starting at about the equivalent of US$ 45,000. In my opinion, The Zona Colonial is one of the best-kept real estate secrets in the Caribbean. Unlike the Panamanian government, the Dominican Republic has taken great pride and care of it’s historical past. Where as the Casco Viejo district of Panama remains nothing more than a collection of old and dilapidated buildings dominated by the poor, Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone is slowly becoming a favored place for artists and tourists alike. The pleasant outdoor cafes and shops remind me of New York’s Greenwich Village in the summer time.

What is the difference between Panama’s Colonial district and that of Santo Domingo? One simple answer is the government. The Panamanian government had set up a freeze on rentals many years ago under the regime prior to Noriega. Since many of the buildings in this area of Panama City are owned by now successful families that have since moved out, there is no incentive to keep up a property that yields a rental income of US $25 or $50 per month. As a result, the landlords cannot raise the rent, nor can they evict. Many are literally waiting for the buildings to fall down, so the tenants leave and they can renovate. In contrast, the Dominican government has spent tremendous sums of money to renovate the historic Zona Colonial. In addition, many people living in homes are the owners. Some are the older generation that has refused to move out because they like it there. Other buildings are vacant and have not been renovated due to lack of funds, but are in decent shape. Granted, the buildings need some work to make them ultra-modern inside, but the opportunity to purchase and renovate such a historical property for the neighborhood of US $125,000 total is unheard of elsewhere.

The PA in Panama is for Panamanian Apartments.

DR is for Deals on Real Estate.

The truth of the matter is that there is not enough space in the confines of an article to list all of the real estate possibilities or bargains. But if you have this little catch phrase in the back of your mind, you will have a fairly good understanding to where to look for what you want. My Panamanian apartment suggestions would include the Punta Paitilla or Marbella districts where apartment rentals that were previously priced at US$1200 to $1800 can be now rented for about the $450 to $ 800 range. In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, if you stay away from the high priced golf communities marketed to tourists, you can easily find a comfortable home in the Zona Oriental, Caoba, Isabilita and other residential areas starting at about US$50,000.

To review a more complete list of bargain properties in the Dominican Republic, including new 2 to 3 bedroom homes starting at $ 30,000 – Click Here

To Read about owning your Vacation home or property in the Dominican Republic via the use of a Dominican Corporation – Click Here