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About the successful real estate investment in Panama

This time, we interviewed Raul Leis Arce, real estate broker and immigration lawyer, who will tell us about his wide trajectory and experience, about some important data about real estate investment in Panama, why Panama is the best election when foreign investment is involved and how the Panamanian real estate market is projected for the year 2019.

Panama plays a very important role in the global economy, not only because it facilitates the inter-oceanic passage but also because it interconnects South America and Central America.

HalloCasa: “Good afternoon, Mr. Leis. Thank you very much for presenting yourself, your country and your real estate business by giving us this interview.” 

Raul Leis Arce: “Thank you. I’m very honored by the interview of such a prestigious institution.”

HalloCasa: “Please introduce yourself to our readers of HalloCasa.”

Raul Leis Arce:  “I am a lawyer as well as a certified real estate broker, with more than 10 years of experience in real estate in Panama. Lately, I won one of the most prestigious awards of the Panama Real Estate industry, the “Top Broker 2016” of the London & Regional Panama company.”

HalloCasa: “Thank you. Now, please introduce your company and, of course, tell us about your real estate business in Panama.”

Raul Leis Arce: “Today, Panama is considered one of the most internationally exposed sites for the Latin American real estate market, and although there is still a lot of offer, it is also true that at least in Panama City, you can no longer invest in every place. 

Precisely this oversupply causes the problem that it has become more difficult to determine which real estate object a good deal is for either living or investing, since also other factors such as taxes, residency, mortgage can make the choice a real challenge. My idea as a real estate lawyer is to give the clients that full and integral support so that in a single team they can solve all their commercial, tax, immigration and real estate doubts immediately.”

HalloCasa: “Currently, where do you work as a lawyer and independent broker?”

Raul Leis Arce: “My main field of action is Panama City, but due to the large number of foreigners who come to our country every day, we work hard in the area of beaches and the tourist area of Chiriqui in the highlands of Panama.”

HalloCasa: “As far as we know, you have also worked in Colombia, more specifically in Bogota, the capital. How has been that experience and what contrasts do you find between the Panamanian real estate market and the Colombian real estate market?”

Raul Leis Arce: “I had the pleasant experience of getting to know Colombia about 10 years ago, when I started in the real estate field, since I worked for a Colombian company in charge of doing real estate market studies in the different cities of Colombia, as well as in Panama and other countries. In this work, I was able to develop into a more technical professional, and I directed my training more to the integral professional advice than to the search of properties by request. I could establish new ways of work for novelties for the real estate market in our country.

Today, I have references of the Colombian capital market, and I know that prices per square meter are quite similar to those of our capital, I know that it is a rising market, and that it is attracting many foreigners to invest mainly with the advantage of the current currency exchange.”

HalloCasa: “If you had to make specific recommendations to foreigners who want to invest both in Panama, what aspects would you highlight and what suggestions would you provide?

Raul Leis Arce:

  • “Search for a certified broker: It is very important to work with a suitable person. Actually, very few people know that as real estate brokers we have the obligation to have a liability insurance that gives the client the security of the professionalism and seriousness of the broker.
  • Advise with a good lawyer: At the time of the purchase or rent, it is very important to have a good lawyer (especially if it’s real estate field) to review contracts, deeds, etc.
  • Visit the country: Do not risk buying online, if you like or you are attracted to a project, then visit the country. Like that, you feel comfortable with the investment you are going to make.

HalloCasa:Why is today the ideal time to invest in Panama? And what are those projects that demand the most?”

Raul Leis Arce: “After the expansion of the Canal, Panama is booming. As you might know, the country depends a lot on international trade and the number of multinational companies which are being incorporated due to logistical and fiscal reasons in Panama is impressive. It is precisely that presence which makes the country become so attractive for foreigners, since it is a country that accepts the foreigners as if they were local. So today, there are still very good projects for investment, precisely projects close to the Rivera of the Panama Canal, which we call reverted areas. Those are old military bases. Nowadays, some zones were integrated again to our cities, surrounded by green areas with much tranquility, peace and multinational companies, as well as NGOs and Diplomatic Corps that value a lot this type of areas.”

HalloCasa: “How, according to your experience, do you see for the rest of the year the urban and suburban investment outside the capital? Which cities are the most representative when it comes to investing outside the capital?”

Raul Leis Arce: “Panama City is always a reference, it is one of the most vibrant cities in Latin America, so it will always be the first choice. After this one, there are different growing cities that can be interesting, such as Chitré, David and Colón.”

HalloCasa: “In financial terms, when buying a property, whether for housing or commerce, what is the most used payment method? That is, the financing and the level of indebtedness, how does it affect the transactions?”

Raul Leis Arce: “The majority of Panamanians use mortgages in Panama. Basically, you can get very competitive rates and long payment periods giving very low allowances, with an international banking center of more than 50 banks. The options are several and diverse.

Likewise, there are some Colombian banks, which lend to the nationals of this country based on their financial information of their country of origin, which represents a great advantage for them.”

HalloCasa: “What are high-profile projects that are preferred by foreign investors?”

Raul Leis Arce: “In the city of Panama: reverted areas and the East Coast.

In the interior of the country: Bocas del Toro, Boquete and Pacific beaches. The names of the projects are reserved by policies of the same projects.”

HalloCasa: “Please tell us a little about beach projects. As for the subject of surface and costs, which are the ones with the highest demand and what makes them so obviously sought apart from the proximity to the sea?

Raul Leis Arce: “At the beach, the price per square meter can be up to 50% cheaper than the city, but really because of the proximity to the city, very few people use it for permanent housing, coupled with the large number of hotels. They are used mainly for weekends and parties.”

HalloCasa: “The real estate fair ExpoVivienda and likewise the Capac Expo Habitat, the International Fair of Construction and Housing in the ATLAPA Convention Center are very famous. Tell us why are these fairs important for the Panamanian real estate market and what recommendation would you make to both local and foreign investors who want to attend and do business?”

Raul Leis Arce: “Real estate fairs are a great showcase for the Panamanian real estate market, being the great Expo Capac fair the epicenter of all real estate activity in the country. I would recommend foreigners that before choosing any real estate project, they should advise with a broker. They could even go to the fair with him, and after choosing a project, before signing, they should advise too with a real estate lawyer.”

HalloCasa: “Mr. Leis, we know your time is limited. We would like to thank you for this informative and in-depth interview. Would it be possible for interested readers to contact you if they have any follow-up questions? Thank you very much for the interview.”

Raul Leis Arce: “Yes of course. Investors can contact me through HalloCasa or contact me directly on the mobile number 0507 6674-8626 or email raulleis@gmail.com – Thank you.”

HalloCasa: “Thank you so much for being with us. Always welcome to HalloCasa.”

Raul Leis Arce: “Thank you very much.”

About HalloCasa:

HalloCasa, the international real estate marketplace. The main mission of the platform is to help foreigners to invest in other countries and facilitate the international sale of properties. If you are interested to read more interviews, you can have a look here