Prices are up nearly 12% on residential high-rise apartments for sale in Panama’s waterfront district, Balboa Avenue compared to March 2013, the last time Panama Equity Real Estate conducted our pricing survey. These findings coincide with overall real estate trends for Panama City in the last 16 months, although prices are up in other areas of the city by even higher amounts (namely Costa del Este which has seen increases of closer to 20% during the same period).
Changes along Balboa Avenue’s waterfront corridor have included creating a separate bus-only lane which has eased traffic somewhat as well as the closing off of several lanes on Sunday for bike traffic only. Both initiatives, combined with an expansion of the park system via the Cinta Costera 3, have brought increased walk-ability and improved the overall quality of life for residents in this upscale neighborhood in Panama. New developments along Balboa Avenue include the recently opened Hilton as well as the soon-to-open retail shopping mall one block east.
The sharpest price gains came, based on a similar study conducted in March of 2013, in buildings such as YOO Tower and Rivage, both of which were, at the time of the study in March, still closing on units with sellers. Many of the listings at that time were from sellers who were in fact unable to close and had to sell at a discount against developer’s pricing, causing prices to temporarily drop well below market averages. Those sellers have either found buyers or rented their properties out, and most of the remaining inventory in those two particular buildings are being sold by the developers. Prices in YOO are up by more than 25% compared to the offering back in March of last year, due mainly to the above.
The average price per square meter for a 100 meter apartment along Balboa Avenue today is $2,377/m or just over $220 per square foot. In March of 2013, a similarly priced property would have listed for $212, 500, or $2,125/m.
Another reason for double digit appreciation is because every single one of the buildings along Balboa Avenue qualified for the full 20 year tax exoneration which has, in some cases, made older properties (as is the case with Bayfront and Grandbay) more attractive than the new inventory coming on the market which will only have between 5-10 years of tax exoneration.
Demand continues to be driven by foreigners who prefer Balboa Avenue because of shortened commute times, ocean views, as well as easy access to the park system and the nightlife in the Historic District of Casco Viejo.