The Panama Real Estate Conundrum
Panama is an incredible place to live or invest in real estate. However, the problem the authors of this report kept running into, and probably the same one you’ve encountered yourself, is that finding accurate market data in Panama, much like the rest of Central America, is tough. Impossible even.
There’s no MLS. Buyers, and sellers, can’t go on Zillow.com to find sales history, comparable homes, and a “Zestimate.” Even looking at market comps is pretty futile, since property sales in a given area can often be all over the board.
There’s simply no single source where someone can find information, such as the number of listings in an area or themedian home price, much less detailed info like the average price per acre for large tracts of land, the average cost per bedroom, or a comparison of the prices for beach vs. mountain homes.
This is all data that would be tremendously helpful to anyone looking to buy, rent, or invest in property in Panama. But a single, comprehensive resource detailing this and other relevant information has just never existed.
The document before you contains everything I just mentioned and more. It’s based on an exhaustive amount of research on home prices in the most popular areas in Panama. And it’s something you won’t find anywhere else out there.
The Method Behind the Madness
If information on the Panama real estate market is so difficult to come by, you may be wondering how the authors managed to put together this report. Well, it goes without saying that it was no easy feat.
They started by gathering data on over $10 billion dollars worth of property, which represented over 10,000 property listings in hundreds of cities in Panama. Next, they took some additional steps to analyze and clean up the data.
They even went so far as to hire a data scientist (Yes, that’s a thing.) to help validate the data. They had him do all sorts of statistical data analysis to identify and remove duplicate entries or property listings that were outliers (e.g. $50 million dollars for an acre of land).
And, of course, since the data in Panama can be so unreliable, they then had to manually verify huge samples of the data. Once they were sure the data was as accurate as possible, they converted it to a whole bunch of easy-to-read charts and graphs and Voila!
The result is the report you have in front of you, the only comprehensive report of its kind detailing the real estate listings in every major city in Panama.
How to Use This Data
So, you have all these numbers and fancy charts in front of you. But what does it all mean, and how can it help you as you navigate the Panama real estate market? Well first, let us define some terms to help you understand what you’re looking at.
If you’ve ever shopped for a home in the U.S. then you’ve probably heard the phrase “median home price.” What exactly is that? Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s the one in the middle.
In the areas we surveyed, we sorted all the listings in order from lowest to highest and pulled out the one in the center. So, when we say the median home price in an area is $300,000, that means half the homes on the market are listed below that price; the other half is priced higher.
Median prices give a more accurate reflection of the market since averages tend to be distorted by $20 million McMansions.
It is important to note that we only surveyed listings in areas that are popular among expats. As a result, the level of services and amenities are higher than in lesser developed parts of Panama and, consequently, so are the home prices. Keep that in mind as you read the report. If the median price seems higher than what you expected, know that there are plenty of lower priced options.
How This Data Helps Buyers, Sellers, and Investors
So, for buyers, this data can help you see the scope of the home prices in the area(s) you’re considering and make a better determination as to whether or not a home or tract of land is priced correctly. On a larger scale, investors and developers can look at an area as a whole and compare data across cities or regions.
This same information proves helpful to sellers when deciding where to price their properties. Real estate professionals will also find this data useful when advising their clients on setting prices and making offers on properties.
Armed with the highest possible amount of data, you can go into any real estate transaction with more confidence that you aren’t overpaying for your dream home or investment property or, for sellers, that you are getting the absolute maximum amount you can hope to receive for your property.