August was the best month of the year for sales of new properties in Panama City and one of the best in history for Punta Pacifica Realty (PPR). While Panama City was strictly following the government’s COVID-19 protocols, the firm was able to take advantage of digital platforms to continue servicing sales and rental clients.

PPR’s sales team signed nine sales contracts in the month, totaling $6.676 million, surpassing the best pre-pandemic sales total for 2020.

“There is tremendous pent up demand,” says PPR managing director. “We were also able to offer several exclusive deals with developers that were only available during the shut down.”

The majority of sales were generated in existing and preconstruction properties, reflecting PPR’s exclusive deals with developers. In many cases, the offers have only been available during the pandemic, as PPR worked with developers to present creative offerings. PPR’s exclusive offers included a 6 percent guaranteed return program that included developer financing.

Three of the units sold, totaling $1.2 million, were in Ocean House, the unique development in the heart of Santa Maria Golf and Country, the luxury gated enclave minutes from downtown Panama City. Ocean House is the only development in Santa Maria with affordable pricing and smaller units, making it highly desirable for investors.

But we also saw activity on the top end of the market, including two, three-bedroom designer residences in Santa Maria totaling $1.776 million. And two penthouses sold on Ocean Reef, the islands in Panama Bay, for a total of $2.92 million.Buyers are shifting their focus to security, green spaces, and luxury, especially in this lockdown environment, Barton says.

“Investors are shopping smart, looking for developments with special attributes that promise long term growth,” Barton says. “In many ways, this has been a one-of-a-kind buying opportunity, with developers offering fantastic deals.”

PPR was able to stay in close contact with buyers, using virtual tours and remote document technologies to keep the process transparent, safe, and reliable.

“The PPR team has been extraordinary in the last few months,” Barton says. “In incredibly difficult circumstances, they’ve gone the extra mile to make sure clients are taken care of and get what they need.”    

Resales are happening during the pandemic, but to a lesser degree, Barton says. Buyers are making below-make offers, but very few owners are accepting, he says.

In August, PPR completed two resales, one in The Ocean Club  (Former Trump Ocean Club) and one in the Yoo on Avenida Balboa for a total of $780,000.

PPR’s rental division saw an uptick in interest in August, with 11 rentals signed. Most of the interest was in the waterfront towers of Punta Pacifica, with 5 of the 11 in the JW Marriott/Ocean Club. With flights resuming from overseas, employees of multinational corporations are returning to Panama City, pushing demand, Barton says.

In addition to the sales and rental activity, August was a milestone event for PPR, in many ways. We officially moved our headquarters into the retail space of The Ocean Club, which allows us to continue to provide top service for our clients in an easily accessible location. “It was a big step, but we feel our new offices will bring us closer to our clients and make it easier for us to respond to their needs in a timely and efficient manner,” Barton says,

With Panama City following a government schedule to safely reopen, September is already shaping up as another exceptional month, Barton says. PPR has already recorded $5 million in reservations on developer properties and four resale reservations.

“Investors see Panama property as a safe haven with the opportunity for returns that you can’t find in other markets,” Barton says.