By all accounts, Panama City is in a classic condo oversupply situation.
According to Wilson Ruiz, the head of ACOBIR, the Panama real estate association, there are about 6,000 to 8,000 unsold luxury apartments in Panama City, Panama Insider's Sam Taliaferro reports. Most of those high-rise units are "still under construction and all are behind schedule by anywhere from one to three years," Taliaferro writes, adding that the number of building permits has dropped in the last year, "but less than one would have expected under the global economic circumstances."
Other market observers place the overhang at closer to 15,000 units, with little indication that the flow of American, Canadian and Venezuelan buyers will absorb the inventory any time in the near future. Although construction has plummeted, there are still 191 buildings poised on the drawing board, according to one recent local media report.
Within that market, there is opportunity for buyers, especially if they have cash. It's possible to buy a "shiny new condo for up to 50 percent less than it sold for pre-construction in 2008," writes International Living's Ronan McMahon.
He offers some useful tips on how to approach the Panama City. While the advice may apply to many markets, his piece also offers some insights into the realities of the Panama City market.
Focus your search in the prime ocean view areas of Balboa, Paitilla and Punta Pacifica.
Look for newly completed buildings with high-end amenities and where "real" buyers have closed on at least 80 percent of the units. Buy quality.
Line up your finance. Get ready to pull the trigger.
Get reliable Realtors onside. Work your Realtor. Make him want to find you a deal. Tell him exactly what you are looking for and make sure he understands you can close fast.