Tedd Tennis, manager of our Pedasi real estate office, was interviewed this month by the local paper El Pediseno. You can see the transcript below.
A native of Michigan, Tedd first visited Panama 22 years ago on holiday and has been coming back ever since. After living in Japan and Hawaii, Tedd moved to Pedasi in 2009 to chase big fish and pursue Pedasi real estate opportunities. In addition to managing the Pedasi office of Panama Equity Realty, he breeds cattle, plays guitar, and sings in the Smiley’s House Band. This month we sit down with Tedd to ask him his thoughts on the Pedasi real estate market.
EP. How’s business in Pedasi right now?
TT. The short answer is “very good”. Our Pedasi office has done more business in the last six months than in the prior three years combined. Overall, the rise of consumer confidence globally has had a direct impact on the amount of people who are making it down to Pedasi, all with an aim to capitalize on the growth the region is seeing.
In our case, they are calling us for real estate. We’ve been here for a while now and have developed a lot of contacts with the community, so we are seeing a lot of referral business from repeat buyers, local sellers, and overseas clients looking to buy and sell.
EP. You meet a lot of people who are visiting Pedasi looking to either move here or to at least have a second home. Most of these people are actively comparing Pedasi to other areas both inside and outside of Panama. How does Pedasi/Panama stack up?
TT. Good question! There is a lot to like about Pedasi. Like many places in Panama we’ve got year-round warm weather, great beaches, and tons of natural beauty. What really sets us apart in my opinion is that the people here are small-town friendly and generally very welcoming. I’ve also noticed over the years that they take a lot of pride in having a clean, safe town. Believe me that visitors notice these things and people are really looking for that. You don’t find this sort of community too many places these days.
On the negative side, the challenges we face are distance (everything is spread out), lack of entertainment options, and construction reliability.
EP. Can you elaborate?
TT. Well, by the time people arrive in Pedasi they’ve typically driven over four hours on roads that at this point still have very poor signage. It’s a Panama thing and I’m hoping that the Ministry of Tourism will get it one day and just put signs up everywhere. Once the folks get here there is plenty to do outside during the day, but we lack the shops, museums, galleries, golf courses and other entertainment options of bigger cities.
What I meant by the “challenge of construction” is that we have a small (and at this point very overstretched) labor pool for construction, and have been unable to attract the big companies from Panama City and elsewhere to come down and build on a larger scale.
The good news is that I’m seeing some real progress on all three of these fronts. We have the new airport for international charters opening in Rio Hato this year. That’s only about 2.5 hours drive from Pedasi and is going to be a game changer! They’re also finishing the new 4-lane highway between Divisa and Las Tablas and of course our new small airport in Pedasi itself.
When I came here four years ago there were maybe five hotels and five restaurants between Pedasi and Playa Venao. Now we’ve got more than 20 of each, with new ones opening all the time. It’s great for both visitors and locals alike and it’s the foreigners visiting and moving here that’s driving the demand.
As for new home inventory, we’re getting more small developers like Tom Gibbs and Roy Kaduri building houses in the mid $100,000 range, which we desperately needed. Several new condo projects are already in pre-sales and that promises to add to the Pedasi inventory as well. There’s still a lot of untapped demand for finished homes that we are not meeting right now, and someone with building experience and funds could really do well.