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Panama attracts retirees and more

Panama attracts retirees and more

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 10, 2015

Part of a growing trend of retirees searching for more exotic and less expensive lifestyles, the tiny isthmus nation of Panama has become a magnet destination for North American boomers.

But the reason their property values are once again on the increase has less to do with the lures of leisure than with that country’s vibrant business economy, one ranked by the World Economic Forum as the second-most competitive in Latin America.

“Panama started out with banking, business, insurance, and the Panama Canal,” explained Dave Haney, of Canada Panama Realty, who moved to Panama in 2006. “And with American influence for over 100 years, it developed differently than other Central American countries. Tourism came almost as an afterthought.”

The country is drawing in multinational companies as much as it is foreigners planning to enjoy its warm weather and low cost of living. Expansions to the famous canal, due for completion next year, are predicted to double annual revenues and pump upwards of $2-billion (U.S.) into the economy. Its free-trade zone, offering companies significant tax breaks, is the world’s second largest.

“There are so many new businesses moving to Panama,” said Kent Davis, owner of Panama Equity Real Estate. “It’s one of the reasons people are coming down – because there is still money to be made, locally, and as a regional base of operations.”

Many compare Panama City to Miami. It is the only Central American capital to boast a Frank Gehry-designed museum and a subway. Mr. Davis likes to describe it as “for Costa Rica people who didn’t like living in a jungle.”

Retirees moving to Panama over the past few years have been settling in the capital, largely, as well as the mountain town of Boquete in the country’s west, and along the Pacific coast, especially in Coronado.

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