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¿Why the Panamanian Pacific Coast?
Panama may be Central America new hottest real estate market  -Robb´s Report
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Pacific coastal properties are much closer by good roads to Panama City with its full range of services than are the Atlantic coastal properties. They also include a much greater range and maturity of services. Location and conveniences are always primary considerations for a prospective real estate client.

Most Atlantic coastal areas have more rain and more biting insects compared to the Pacific side although the Atlantic tides are considerably lower and the water quality is better for snorkeling and swimming.

With the new 4 lane highway to Colon under construction, some excellent coastal properties on the Atlantic side will be the same distance from Panama City as Coronado. Look for rapid price increases as the road is being completed.

The “useful” Panamanian Pacific coast for development purposes is not nearly as long as one might imagine. In fact a high percentage of the entire Panamanian Pacific coast is comprised of mangrove which is carefully protected and regulated by strict environmental laws much as “wetlands” are in North America.

Within a 5 hour drive of Panama City (to Pedasi for example) there may be less than 100 miles of desirable developable land on the Pacific coast. That is not a lot of ocean frontage, all things considered, relative to say Florida with literally thousands of miles of “beach”. Also more than 90% of this developable land is more than a one hour drive from Panama City. In fact only the immediate Coronado area is within one hour.

Ideally “Baby Boomers” wish to live within one hour of excellent medical facilities for that inevitable heart attack or whatever. Baby Boomers are not the only market for such residential properties but will become an increasingly important one.

It is interesting to note that the San Fernando Hospital has just recently made the decision to open an “ER Clinic” in Coronado to service this general area.

Within a one hour drive from Panama City is the Coronado/Gorgona/Chame beach areas. Coronado is the epicenter and by far the most developed “resort area” along the entire Pacific coast.

Prime ocean front land in Coronado sells up to $650 per square meter. This price has almost doubled from two years ago. By comparison, Gorgona oceanfront property typically sells at about 40-50% of Coronado prices. An empty lot across the street from the Playa Serena beach in Coronado sells for about $100 to $150 per square meter. The least expensive land in Coronado is selling for about $35-40 per square meter.

Coronado continues to market its product to “well to do” families both Panamanian and expat. Approximately 80% of Coronado land has already been sold by the original developers and there are currently 5000 property “owners”.

Coronado is the 70 year old “grand dame” of Pacific coastal properties and the epicenter for many new development projects moving out in ever widening concentric circles. By comparison, most other pacific resort communities are still in the kindergarten or young teenager stage.

Punta Chame appears destined to become a major magnet for new development activities starting almost immediately. A new 13 mile paved road from the Inter American highway to the tip of Punta Chame is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007. 50% of this road has already been significantly improved, straightened, and surfaced with crushed stone. There is talk about Point Chame becoming a new “South Beach”. Although this might sound preposterous, development can occur very rapidly in Panama with everyone eager to jump on the next investment “band wagon”.

Only two years ago, there was “absolutely zero” development activity in Gorgona and today there are 4-5 large developments in full swing with several projects announcing excellent pre-sales and “sold-out” phases. The Malibu Project, adjacent to the Chame heights property, has pre-sold 320 units (with a house) or 70% of its first phase within weeks of its “official opening” in March 2007. An average house and land of 600 square meters sells for about $150,000. Extra “protection land” in Malibu, incidentally, is available for $135 per square meter.

Past Coronado there is Punta Barca, Vista Mar, the Royal Decameron and Playa Blanco just to mention several of the best known resort destinations. At least another 10 beach front resort communities have been announced and are in the early construction or planning phases for the 40 mile strip of good beach frontage from Punta Chame to Playa Blanco.

“Pacific coastal properties” for the purposes of this report also include all “high lands” and ocean view properties at least 15 miles back from the shore. In this highland strip, coinciding with the 40 miles of excellent beaches, there are probably another 12 to 15 larger development projects in various stages of construction and planning.

Altos Del Maria, for example, became a very successful, high quality mountain top project in less than 5 years with some choice rain forest lots having views of both oceans. ADM has approximately 5000 acres and 2000 lots and is reportedly more than 75% sold. Prices have increased from the low $20s are now in the $35-60 per square meter range.

El Valle is another successful mountain top community and has become the epicenter for many adjacent development projects. El Valle offers more mature services than Altos Del Maria including restaurants and hotels and this land is selling for about 10-15% more per square meter. A view property of both oceans in Las Nubes is currently available at $70 per square meter and the lot is in the 3000 SM area. House construction has not yet started in Las Nubes.

After Playa Blanco, the Pacific coast becomes a protected “mangrove” for approximately 75-100 miles followed by another 40-50 miles of potentially interesting and developable coastline on the east and south shores of the Azuero Peninsula. Las Tablas remains the cultural and commercial center of the peninsula but it appears that Pedasi, a much smaller town, will start to grow at a very rapid rate in the next few years.

Pedasi is a 3.5 hour drive from Coronado on excellent roads. It is almost 5 hours from Panama City. A surprising “finding” was that residential ocean view lots in the Pedasi district are selling at prices per square meter quite similar to those in the highlands surrounding Coronado ($12-20 per SM).

In this respect, it would appear that the distance from Panama City is a relatively insignificant factor for raw land prices in the Pedasi area.

Another way of looking at this apparent value contradiction is that land values in the Azuero Peninsula are destined to exceed those in the greater Coronado region. For example, the Costa Rican resort market is already overflowing country borders where prices are almost double those of Panama. This is a large potential market.

The surfing potential along the southern coast of the Azuero Peninsula is also excellent and surfers seem to typically “lead the way” to desirable resort properties. Top sport fishing, a more laid back, drier Mediterranean climate and the potential for excellent marinas are other strong pluses for this area. Then of course there is always Carnival in Las Tablas.



 

¿Why Panama now?
  • Supply of vista properties quite limited

  • Demand for such properties is increasing

  • Large properties are being “flipped”

  • Many new projects are being announced

  • Foreign investors are in frequent evidence

  • Media interest in Panama is increasing

  • Investors and developers have discovered Panama

  • Successful developers are expanding

  • “Star” investors are buying (Mel Gibson, Mick Jagger, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy, Don King among others)

  • Int’l Living has regular “investor seminars”

  • People are moving from Costa Rica

  • Pacific Land is increasing 25% per annum Between Chame and Rio Hato are the main epicenter Pedasi and El Valle are other epicenters

  • Mountain Top communities are successful

  • Good Access Roads add most value

  • Canadians are very over-represented

  • 50% of UK boomers plan to move offshore

  • The USA “sunbelt” has become pricey

  • Mexico and Costa Rica are also very pricey

  • Adjacent developers wish to “cooperate”

    ¿Why Pacific coast?

    Read more about land
    development



Panama may be Central America new hottest real estate market  -Robb´s Report
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