In Panama, Trouble Finding Homes for Sale

In Panama, Trouble Finding Homes for Sale

Residential News » Market Buzz | By Michael Gerrity | May 20, 2013 9:37 AM ET

There has been a shift in the Panama property market, reflecting a phenomenon that is happening in real estate markets around the world.

Finding high-end homes for sale is "growing increasingly difficult for foreigners," writes Kent Davis in his Panama Equity blog. Like many countries, there is no generally accepted common platform for listing properties for sale, making it a challenge for buyers and investors to find property for sale.

"Many of my clients have commented on Panama's fragmented real estate listing environment which makes things very difficult for an uninformed buyer to find top properties in upscale locations, because these properties rarely make it on the market," Mr. Davis writes. "Rather, they are being sold through an elite and oftentimes closed network of real estate agents, attorneys, developers, and private connections."

Panamanians are also re-emerging as buyers and sellers, and they often market a property through their own networks of government contacts, attorneys and local affiliations. 

"I know of a few buildings and indeed entire neighborhoods which are controlled by a small group of families, and the only way to have access to the best properties in these areas is to "know someone who knows someone."

Mr. Davis runs a real estate agency, so it is not surprising that one of his underlying messages is that foreign shoppers need to connect with a credible and well-informed agent.

But the larger situation he describes is true in many countries around the world. Many markets are highly fragmented with little centralization of listings or information. Even trying to find accurate news about the market can be very difficult.

One of the primary goals of the World Property Channel is address the needs of fragmented markets like Panama. We are starting to develop our Panama presence and Mr. Davis' column was a vivid reminder of both the challenges and opportunity.

I hope anyone interested in a move to Panama or any other country will enjoy Rachelle Smith's column about her experiences buying and selling a home in Panama with her husband, Ben. The first part focuses on their time arriving in Panama and looking for home, and the second and most recent installment is a great read about their frantic last days packing and shipping their pets and life possessions from the United States to Panama. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in her saga.

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