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Retire in Panama
Old 08-18-2006, 03:19 PM   #1
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Retire in Panama

Found an interesting article about folks taking all inclusive tours to visit Panama to find their "luxury for less" lifestyle.
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/desti...nt-tours_x.htm

excerpt:
Quote:
Still, to hear it from the sellers, demand is outstripping supply. Three years ago, one developer's condos cost about $150,000 for a 1,500-square-foot unit. Back then, 70% of the customers were local, says Manlio Vasquez of Empresas Bern, a developer of condos and hotels. Now 90% of clients are North American and prices have doubled in some spots. At any rate, there's rarely a finished project to look at. Attendees eye blueprints and architectural models and use their imaginations.
Most of this stuff is high pressure crap. At last count there were 150 condo buildings going up in Panama city. We're talking thousands of units on the market in a few years in anticipation of foreigners moving to Panama. I could be wrong but I don't see the demand. Some of these folks are going to get suckered into buying overpriced properties and hope for the greater fool theory.

While I love Panama, my instincts tell me this is going to end badly. If the demand is not there then you have millions of sq mtrs sitting empty and lots of foreclosures OR traffic become so bad that it's faster to walk along Balboa ave. We won't even talk about the pollution. Should be interesting either way. I think I'll keep my money in my pocket and head for the beach.
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-18-2006, 04:45 PM   #2
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
prices have doubled in some spots.
"Define some"

"A few", "a couple", "one", "maybe...one"
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 03:17 AM   #3
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Re: Retire in Panama

Scary thought Arif. Especially when I've pretty much decided on making PYC me retirement destination (gulp).

Whe I was visiting there last year, the rumor was that they were going to install some filtration (?) devise(s) that would clean up the bay. I must agree that the stench is pulverising...even by 3rd standards which Panama is not (IMO).

That is why I was attracted to Patiila, seemed it was "upwind" of the odor....but pricey as you suggest.

I was most recently interested in one of those (new) condos on the causeway. Seems like an awesome location but again they are pricey. Are you familiar with the project I am referring to?

I appreciate the insight. At current prices, it would be real easy to get hurt with such a purchase. I think I'll wait for the inventory to bring them prices down. I really enjoyed Panama and hope nobody gets too hurt in all of this.

Thanks again for the head's up.
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 06:57 AM   #4
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomo-aloha
I must agree that the stench is pulverising
Whats the story with the stench?
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 09:32 AM   #5
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
Whats the story with the stench?
The city gets rid of its sewage by dumping it into the bay. After years and years of this practice you can imagine the smell and look of the ba on a bad day. The good news is that they got funding to clean up the bay and will begin the clean up process in 2007. Hard to imagine folks paying 300k for an ocean view condo only to get a wiff of crap every once in a while.

Quote:
That is why I was attracted to Patiila, seemed it was "upwind" of the odor....but pricey as you suggest.
The prices for everything in Paitilla is comparable to the US which almost negates the benefit of moving here. If you venture away from the expensive areas you are more likely to get better deals. For instance, if you don't want an ocean view in the city you can still get a really nice condo with all the amenities for around 150k.

Quote:
I appreciate the insight. At current prices, it would be real easy to get hurt with such a purchase. I think I'll wait for the inventory to bring them prices down. I really enjoyed Panama and hope nobody gets too hurt in all of this.
Yeah like I said my gut tells me prices are headed down. Now I could be wrong and for me there really is no price for being wrong as I have no intention on living in the city anyway. As an investment it might be different but I think time will tell.

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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 12:17 PM   #6
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Re: Retire in Panama

Were'nt you building by the beach, Arif? Punta Chame (sp?) ?

How is that going? Are you still quite happy down there? Any regrets?

A condo in the city makes sense to me because of the security (while I am away)...also, I couldn't help but love the views and the prices made sense to me (then). a $300 k condo down there would cost 3 million here in Hawaii.

Thanks again.


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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 01:06 PM   #7
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
Were'nt you building by the beach, Arif? Punta Chame (sp?) ?

How is that going? Are you still quite happy down there? Any regrets?

A condo in the city makes sense to me because of the security (while I am away)...also, I couldn't help but love the views and the prices made sense to me (then). a $300 k condo down there would cost 3 million here in Hawaii.
Yeah we bought a lot by the beach (Costa Esmerelda) and are working with an architect on the plans. We are going to start building when the dry season gets here in January and should be done this time next year. Here's a link to it: http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=8831.0

Overall it has been a very good experience for my family and I. My 3 yo son is starting to use phrases and sentences in Spanish. I think he'll be fluent in a couple of years at the rate he's going. My wife loves not having to work. Enough said.
My real estate business is on track and we're looking at expanding in GA and Panama. SO overall it has been a good move with many more pluses than minuses. I see a lot of opportunities here in real estate and other industries. It's really just a matter of what your interests are.
If everything goes as planned we should be able to fully retire by the end of '07 or early '08. Probably stay on board as I am enjoying what I do.

As far as prices are concerned, IMHO it's a mistake to compare condo prices in Panama to Hawaii. There's a reason Hawaii oceanfront condos cost 3 million and Panama costs 300k. You should compare prices to the local market and the forces that control that market. The rules don't change.
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 01:08 PM   #8
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arif
As far as prices are concerned, IMHO it's a mistake to compare condo prices in Panama to Hawaii. There's a reason Hawaii oceanfront condos cost 3 million and Panama costs 300k. You should compare prices to the local market and the forces that control that market. The rules don't change.
Yeah, Hawaii managed to dump a few million gallons of raw sewage into Waikiki this year, and that's the bonus part of the raise in our sewer fees!
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 01:31 PM   #9
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
Yeah, Hawaii managed to dump a few million gallons of raw sewage into Waikiki this year, and that's the bonus part of the raise in our sewer fees!
Was that by design or an accident? In Panama, that WAS the design. I guess in a developing country the priority goes to job creation rather than environmental.

To their credit a lot of good things are happending here in Panama though. Such as the canal expansion that will cost 5 billion and will be spent in the country over 10 years. BTW- That's a lot of money considering the GDP here was 20 billion in 2001.
They are considering building a refinery in Central America and Panama is on the list as a location to use. We already mentioned the clean up of the bay. They are also cleaning up the transportation issue with cleaner running buses which should greatly improve air quality.
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-19-2006, 02:42 PM   #10
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Re: Retire in Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arif
Was that by design or an accident? In Panama, that WAS the design. I guess in a developing country the priority goes to job creation rather than environmental.
Good question.* Storm runoff overwhelmed a system that's way too old, frail, & underbuilt-- and a pipe broke.* Isolating around the break meant that sewage from Waikiki hotels wasn't being pumped quickly enough.* The mayor claims that the system was perilously close to backing up toilets in Waikiki during an election year, so the order was "reluctantly" given to dump.

For three days. It took that long for divers to pump the concrete around the rupture.

Hawaii's system is designed to complete primary treatment and then pump the effluent far out to the ocean.* This was finally approved by the EPA a few years ago but the city is still under EPA mandate to overhaul the sewage system.*
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-22-2006, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Retire in Panama

In this vein, the city of Victoria, BC, (the provincial capital of BC) has finally decided to treat its raw sewage before dumping it into the Straights of Juan de Fuca, as they have forever. Maybe they are going to mail it to Seattle now?

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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-22-2006, 10:19 PM   #12
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Re: Retire in Panama

Glad to see Panama in good company
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Re: Retire in Panama
Old 08-25-2006, 06:40 AM   #13
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Re: Retire in Panama

For thos interested in sewage see the article below:

http://www.panama-guide.com/article....60824121945545

Quote:
Editor's Comments: Finally. It's been a long time coming but the plan to cleanup the Bay of Panama is finally actually going to commence. This program, which will probably end up costing a total of $350 million dollars, is basically an expansion of infrastructure designed to capture untreated runoff and sewage water that is currently being flushed into the bay, mostly from Panama City. The area covered is basically a huge "U" shaped piece of land, starting with the Culebra Cut on the Panama Canal, then following the canal all the way down to the end of the Causeway, and then all of Panama City as far as out past Tocumen. All of those millions of gallons of rainwater that falls on that vast expanse of land carries all of the trash, waste, and untreated runoff that now, for the most part, goes directly into the bay untreated. In addition the plan calls for large parts of the bay to be cleaned by dredging to remove much of the accumulated heavy materials that are just offshore. This is a big project, and it's good to see the first phase actually get underway. And as far as I'm concerned this project won't be finished until a scientist from the Smithsonian tells me it's safe to swin in the bay and to eat a fish from those waters. It might take awhile to get there...
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