Liz Larroquette
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Playa Bonita Residences Panama

A Little More Inventory Would Be Nice!

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I’m not sure what I expected once the Presidential elections were completed in the United States. Like the rest of the world, I stood a bit in shock when Donald Trump declared victory. Almost no one had predicted the outcome. There had never been a candidate like Trump so pretty much no one had any idea about how all this might turn out. Would people want to move? Would the stock market crash? Would there really be a wall? What about healthcare?

Taken By Surprise

The United States is still in the infancy of 45th president’s administration, but so far I’ve been completely surprised. In my ten years selling real estate in Panama I have never been so busy. It hit me the other day that people waiting to reach retirement goals had been given a gift with the election in the form of a bull market that increased their accounts by about 10%.

Stock market monitors

Many people are looking to capitalise now on the increase in their share portfolio by diversifying into real estate,  before the market drops. 

“We thought we’d have to wait a couple more years” said a client the other day. “I remember during the downturn, I stopped looking at my accounts because it was so depressing. With this latest run, I look almost every day. It’s great. I just don’t know when things will slow down and I should sell. That’s the tough part isn’t it,” he continued as he smiled at me.

This particular client was looking for a home on the beach where he and his wife would be around similar expats. “I want open concept,” said his wife as she gestured with her hands. “I want to see the ocean everyday when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep. I want to cook looking at the birds floating over the ocean. I want to have the option of going just downstairs and jumping in either a pool or the surf. Do you have something like that,” she questioned.

A Place In The Sun

I told her I had the perfect property located directly on the Pacific Ocean in Nueva Gorgona. “Royal Palm is what you want,” I told them both and I felt very sure they’d love the new construction that is rapidly becoming ready for delivery. “We are actually ahead of schedule, but we still have great pre-construction pricing,” I explained. “The views are sweeping, the living area is completely open and there are pools and social areas where you’d meet lots of expats.

Royal Palm gorgona

Could this be the view you enjoy in your retirement?

This particular couple found their ideal retirement home, just as I had predicted, within the twin towers of Royal Palm. My biggest challenge was not finding them the right community, but rather finding an available condominium because inventory is very low.

The right price coupled with the stunning views and absolute ocean front location made the decision of where easy. It was the which one that was a bit harder. The challenge of availability is growing. I wish I had two more towers to offer.

Why Now?

I have tried to figure the reason things are so hot right now. I’m selling to more people from the United States as opposed to Canada and that was not always the situation. Even though there are fewer Canadians, they have always represented a very significant percentage of my clients. A local golf tournament in Coronado is named “The Canadians vs. The World” because other countries had to band together to have as many golfers as the Canadians. Today there are many more US citizens buying in Panama. There are more and more Baby Boomers but that’s not the only driver.

Like the couple who bought in Royal Palm, the US stock market is at an all-time high. Retirement accounts are healthier and people are deciding this is the time to make a move. Most of my clients remember the downturn and don’t feel secure the market is going to stay this high, much less go higher.

Sky Roadside Uncertainty

A climate of uncertainty seems to be a driving factor in the decision to relocate for many US citizens that I have spoken to

But, the biggest reason is one I hear in different forms from almost every client. “I’m uncertain about what it’s going to be like living in the United States.” Until recently, clients from the States were very confident they had the best of everything. The best schools. The best medical care. The best roads and product availability. It was my job to educate them about how Panama measured up to the best and discuss if that would be good enough for a rock bottom price on a beautiful home.

Today, one of the biggest concerns for my US clients is healthcare. They are always relieved that we have great healthcare in Panama, but lately it’s more about affordability. No one knows if the Affordable Care Act will be repealed and replaced and if it is, what form will that replacement take? Everyone is concerned about affordability and accessibility. You have access in Panama and it is very affordable.

Red, White and...Purple?

Mature seniors holding hands

Panama is a place where people from all backgrounds peacefully co-exist

The changing face of the United States also results in strong feelings. My clients are generally hesitant about declaring whether they are “blue” or “red”, but almost everyone is anxious about what it’s like in Panama. It is always comforting that I can say, without hesitancy, Panama is really purple.

It’s a mix of both and everyone seems to get along. The type of personality that chooses to step out of the box and consider retiring in another country is generally a personality of tolerance. I tend to hear more discussion about sports teams during the NCAA basketball tournament in March to the World Series in October.

There is also the concern about “the wall” and “travel ban” that is playing out in the United States. I see that when you are as big and wealthy a country as the United States, you have larger issues. Panama is a small country. A Panamanian passport does not engender strong reactions. We have all types of religions represented as well as nationalities, but none are so strong they are forcing anything near isolationism. It is true that immigration restrictions have tightened, but only in the form of making it better regulated.

Just Perfect Enough

No place is perfect. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear something akin to “well, that’s Panama” referring to challenges arising from things such as the electrical grid, pot holes in the Pan American Highway, traffic or one more holiday. Nonetheless, it just seems easier than what I am hearing from my US clients. Schools are strong. Healthcare is world-class. People are friendly and much less tense. The economy is steady and we are growing faster than almost any other country on the globe.

The United States will always remain somewhat a mystery to me, but I do know everyone is welcome to peaceful Panama, I just need a little more inventory.

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About the Author Liz Larroquette

Whether you are looking to retire in Panama, relocate your family, or buy property as an investment Liz is a wealth of knowledge you can and should tap into.

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