Linking The Oceans: Round 2

The Panama Canal took an important step as the giant coffer dam in front of the access channel to the new Pacific lock complex started to be removed and the water from the Pacific Ocean flowed into the new approach channel.  Watch video

Meanwhile …

I’m enjoying time with my daughter and family … here cruising Lake Washington on the boat of Noelle’s neighbors Joe & Peggy with my neat grandsons.

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And back home in Panama people are obsessed with the story of Ali Baba and The 40 Thieves …

On May 3, 2009, 60.31% of voters elected President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal. Voters were enamored by the promise that the state would be ruled by the best and that such a wealthy businessman would not let public finances be stolen.

What happened in the next five years defies the public imagination. That administration coincided with the period of greatest prosperity in the history of the country. The monumental works and rigged contracts intoxicated the Panamanian economy and society. With each new journalistic report, or by the grace of judicial investigations abroad, we discovered that the tales of the One Thousand and One Nights were reduced to one: Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. His followers have been able to evade justice, join him or find their own hiding abroad. Our nation, betrayed by the politician who received most votes in history, suffers because of him a lag of widespread inequality that reminds us every day the missed opportunities for his misrule. [LA PRENSA]

And real estate prices keep going up!

Although it focuses on the Panama condo market, this piece by Kent Davis of Panama Equity Real Estate explains in part why real estate prices in Panama continue to rise outside the city as well.

As wages and building material prices in Panama continue to rise, one critical point we discovered doing our research for the 2015 Pre-Construction Report was that the average price per square meter of a condo unit in construction had gone up nearly 30% from the figures Panama Equity previously recorded in 2008.

Starting even before 2008, we’ve watched buyers from Latin American countries like Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia demonstrating a preference for new construction versus existing apartments (re-sales as they are referred to locally), which has further fueled developer’s ability to pass on cost increases to the consumer.

But it’s not only rising demand that is pushing up prices…it’s the fact that the general public is willing to absorb what is now a more expensive-to-build property, and that’s actually driving EXISTING condo pricing up.

The paradox is that most of the new higher-end construction will never have the 20 year tax exoneration that the older buildings (even buildings as “young” as 3 years old) have. So you’ve got one group of buyers vying almost exclusively for pre-construction condos and the other group taking advantage of a tax scenario that will limit future tax liabilities via an exoneration (which is no longer being offered for 20 years, now it’s 5 years for properties over $250,000).

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