Panama City and its Growing Economy

Panama City is on fire.  Not literally, but in terms of economic growth and development. The city is rapidly turning into the leading metropolis of Latin America due to Panama’s sprinting economy. From 2005-2010 Panama’s economy expanded by more than 8% a year, the fastest rate in the America’s and one of the fastest in the world for that matter. The International Monetary Fund expects it to grow by over 6% a year during the next five years. These numbers are remarkable considering the current global economic environment and are envied by other countries. Panama will soon overtake Costa Rica and Venezuela in Gross Domestic Product per head and it is currently one the five richest countries in mainland Latin America. Its friendly business regulations have led to the expansion of the insurance, financial and legal industries. It also boasts the two busiest ports in Latin America, Colon and Balboa. And of course, Panama City and the whole country are enjoying such growth due to the increasing revenues of the Panama Canal which totaled $2 Billion in 2010.

When one glances at Panama City’s skyline and sees over 50 skyscrapers with more being built, you can definitely feel the energy and buzz that is taking place. Panama City is so hot it has attracted one of the most famous real estate tycoons, Donald Trump. Launched this past summer, the Trump Ocean Club Panama is a 70-story tower in the city’s Punta Pacifica neighborhood containing luxury apartments, a hotel and restaurants. One of the most expensive unit’s asking price is US$2.2 million. While one-bedroom flats start at US$500,000 with a parking space.

The real estate market in Panama City has always been one of its strongest sectors and it is still booming. There are many advantages to buying real estate in Panama which has attracted many foreign buyers from North and South America, including Europe. Property is bought and sold in US dollars, there are no restrictions on foreign buyers, and the city has an affordable cost of living with numerous flights to the Americas and Europe. All of these have led to a growing expat community which has added a cosmopolitan atmosphere to the city. Many expats especially Americans are starting their own businesses due to low costs and easy access to imported products.

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