In the News from Panama

Panama Rental Report: Vacancy Rate Shrinking

The latest data from Punta Pacifica Realty’s property management team shows continued growth in the rental market, which has been surging for the past year.

In the top buildings, the occupancy rate is close to 95 percent, according to Eddie Montes, PPR’s Director of Property Management. Rates are also increasing, with multinational executives targeting apartments in the buildings with top amenities and services, near the heart of the city.

In The Ocean Club rents for top apartments were up 5% percent compared to December’s offers, Montes says. People expecting to find discounted offers due to the COVID pandemic will be frustrated, he says.  

“Prices are on the rise and we’re not seeing lowball offers anymore,” Montes says. “When we do see competitors throw low prices out there, they are usually for lower-quality apartments and they are  scooped up very quickly and off the market.”

Demand is primarily from executives in the multinational companies that continue to aggressively expand their operations in Panama. PPR has relationships with many of the top companies, such as Caterpillar, Sony, and Procter & Gamble.

Typically, in the first part of the year, smaller apartments are more in demand, as executives move to Panama City alone to test the waters before moving their families. But demand has remained strong across all types of apartments so far in 2022.

“We don’t have an inventory of any type of units,” Montes says. “It’s not like any type of particular unit is moving more than another.”

At the same time, there is little new inventory coming online. One of the few projects completed this year will be the highly anticipated Beach Club Residences on Ocean Reef, which is expected to deliver the first phase in the spring. But the man-made islands of Ocean Reef are a special, one-of-a-kind development that will receive top rental rates, Montes says.

“It’s very exclusive so there’s nothing really on the market to compare it to at this point,” Montes says.

With development stalling due to COVID, experts are predicting a looming supply issue in Panama, which should serve to further push up rental rates.