By Duncan McGowan
In the international property industry, it is understood that certain elements add immediate value to a property. Proximity to a golf course can easily add 10 percent to the price of a home; property with an ocean view may be worth 10 to 15 percent more than a home a block away.
Marinas may be the most valuable asset these days, which is why more and more projects around the world are adding facilities. Marinas attract wealthy yacht owners, offering something—berths–that can’t be found in 98 percent of developments around the world.
Panama is getting into the game in a big way with Ocean Reef Islands, which is expected to open a 170-slip marina next year, with space to handle 200-foot megayachts. Naos Harbour Island, on the fast-growing Amador Causeway, is also building a marina, which will help create a huge increase in choices for yacht owners looking at Panama.
Calculating the specific impact of a marina on property values can be difficult, but it’s easy to spot the key factors at play. On one level, it is simple economics. There is a well-documented shortage of supply of marina berths and fast-rising demand. Large yachts are selling at a steady pace, creating a bidding war for berths at many projects.
At Ocean Reef, yacht owners will be able to walk to their marina slip, the type of luxury and convenience found nowhere else in Central America. It is a gated, secure community, minutes from downtown, with a small collection of beautiful, $1 million-plus private homes–the type of community yacht owners finds very attractive. (Punta Pacifica Realty is exclusively representing the newest addition to Ocean Reef, the Beach Club Residences, with special limited-time pricing on the first units.)
The Marina Boost is extra focused on Ocean Reef, due to its ability to handle large yachts. Historically, there have been few choices available in the region, which is why Ocean Reef and Naos are crucial to Panama’s development as an international destination.
There is a bigger picture to marina development on the Pacific Coast. A network of marinas is developing along the west coast, making the Pacific a competitive destination for big yacht owners. Mexico and Costa Rica have been actively building marina properties, which will provide easy stepping stones of first-class marinas up the coast of North America to California and Vancouver in the north.
Panama is the perfect starting point for this ladder of marina facilities. Owners can easily re-position their yachts from the Mediterranean or Caribbean through the Panama Canal for extensive excursions on the Pacific and its many destinations. Or they can make Panama their home port, connecting to Panama as the hub for business in the region.
The addition of properties like Ocean Reef and Naos change the game, providing the type of facilities yacht owners crave. And that provides a definite boost to the value of a home in either project, ensuring that both will be popular destinations—and in demand—for years to come.
Duncan McGowan is president of Punta Pacifica Realty, the largest sales, rental and property management company in Punta Pacifica.