Visitors and expats relocating here often ask, “Are Panama real estate investments safe?”
Our answer is “Yes”.
One reason for this are the existing laws in Panama protecting foreigners who make Panama real estate investments. The basis for this answer is found in:
The Constitution of the Republic of Panama in Article 44 guarantees the rights to private ownership of real estate and with private investments of all types. Article 44 specifically declares, “Private property is guaranteed as long as it is acquired in accordance with the law by a natural person or legal entity”. (Translated from original Spanish.)
The Civil Code of Panama controls all legal contracts and declares that Panamanian laws apply equally towards nationals and foreigners.
In addition, several laws have been enacted in Panama which protects foreign investments:
The Foreigner Investor Protection Law (Law 54 of 1998) affirms the rights of foreigners investing in Panama are equal to that of its nationals. Here is an English translation of the original Spanish text:
“Foreign investors in Panama and their companies have the same rights and duties as national or local enterprises and investors. This includes the freedom of industry and trade, along with import and export.
Foreign and local investors in Panama are guaranteed the right to earn investment profits; the right to export their capital, interest, dividends, and profits created by their investments.
Foreign investors are provided with a 10 year stability guaranteed where all legal, customs, tax, municipal and labor rules will remain the same to the ones in force at the time the investment is registered.”
What Law 54 means
The above quote can be summarized this way. Foreigners making investments in Panama will be treated the same way as their nationals. Foreigners and their companies can send all of their profits, capital, dividends, and interests to other countries. Upon registering a foreign investment with the Panama government, all of the existing laws pertaining to taxes, custom duties, and labor rules remain the same for at least 10 years.
The U.S. State Department verifies this by declaring: “Titled land, including the process of purchasing them, is like the process in the U.S. where land deeds are properly recorded in Panama’s Public Registry…”
Panama is Business Friendly
Panama can boast one of the best business infrastructures in all of Latin America and the Caribbean. Panama’s banking industry is one of the largest in the world providing superb banking services and financing options. Starting a new company in Panama is fast and easy with low costs. Compared to Europe and North America, Panama offers lower cost of living expenses, low local labor wages, lower construction costs, and low real estate prices.
Corporations from any country can register as a foreign corporation doing business in Panama. Panama’s Regional Headquarters law allows multi-national corporations to set up a regional headquarters which includes lower tax and duties incentives and flexibility with local labor laws while making it easier for management level foreign employees to relocate here with immigration visas and work permits.
A few types of professions require foreigners to become citizens such as medical doctors, veterinarians and lawyers. Some professions require a minimum of 10 years residency such as insurance and real estate brokers.
Panama real estate investments are safe. Panama welcomes foreign investments in real estate and other endeavors and protects their investments by treating foreigners equally with its citizens while offering 10 years stability for their business activities.
Like with any foreign country, we advise all foreigners to consult with a Panama real estate attorney before purchasing or leasing real properties or starting a business.