Interest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is surging in Panama’s real estate market, with both sellers and buyers exploring opportunities to make deals.
Punta Pacifica Realty saw a significant spike in crypto-related inquiries in the first half of 2022, according to managing director Jeff Barton. More and more sellers have started to advertise a willingness to accept cryptocurrencies in deals, which has helped spark interest from a broad international clientele.
For example, the owner of a spectacular four-bedroom apartment in Pacific Point tower clearly states a willingness to accept crypto in the listing. The apartment is priced at $2.9 million.
“Sellers recognize that this is an opportunity to attract a new type of buyer,” Barton says. “At the same time, we see more of our international buyers looking for a way to invest their bitcoin in something tangible.”
Financial turmoil in markets around the world is also fueling interest. Bitcoin prices have stabilized in recent months and many investors are looking for ways to diversify their portfolios. “Income-producing property in a major economic capital like Panama City is a natural choice,” Barton says.
Most of the discussions around cryptocurrency deals have focused on Panama’s biggest properties, including The Ocean Club and Yoo Panama, with proven investment track records and savvy sellers and buyers familiar with the digital currencies. Inquiries around crypto are often related to specific buildings, especially the luxury buildings that offer a full set of amenities, Barton says.
While many calls to PPR are simply from curious clients, sellers and buyers often have very specific questions, reflecting a deep level of knowledge and interest.
“We’ve built up an expertise in cryptocurrencies in recent years and the best ways to facilitate transactions,” Barton says. “Our clients know that we can answer questions and direct them to resources to help them learn more.”
Infrastructure for cryptocurrency deals is rapidly improving, which also helps explain the increase in interest. New crypto property transaction services are appearing to help facilitate deals when one side of the transaction is dealing in crypto.
Earlier this year, Panama’s legislator approved legislation that would have taken sweeping steps to legitimize the use of cryptocurrencies. President Laurentizo Cortizo partially vetoed the bill in June, due to concerns about international financial regulations, but it is clear there is widespread support in the government for moving forward to make bitcoin and other coins an accepted part of the country’s financial system.
“When the legislation is formally approved and the framework is in place, we expect crypto sales to really take off,” Barton says.