Panama is a Safe Country to Invest in.
As a title and escrow company based in Panama, we feel strongly that the laws of Panama can protect foreigners who purchase real estate and make investments here.
Here is a summary of the Panama laws pertaining to foreigners.
Panama’s Constitution Article 44 guarantees the protection of private ownership of real property and private investments: "... Private Property is guaranteed as long as it is acquired in accordance with the law by natural person or legal entity."
Panama’s Civil Code regulates general contracts and states that Panama law applies equally to nationals and foreigners.
Panama has a specific law which supports foreign investments.
Law 54: The Foreign Investor Protection Law clearly states that foreign investors have the same rights as nationals in Panama.
The following is an English translation of the important sections of Law 54:
“Foreign investors in Panama and the businesses in which they participate in have the same rights and duties as national or local investors and enterprises, including those that refer to the freedom of trade and industry, and export and import.”
“Foreign or local investors in Panama are guaranteed the right to dispose of investment profits, the right to repatriate their capital, dividends, interest and profits produced by their investments and the right to commercialize their production.”
“Foreign investors are awarded a 10-year stability guarantee that all legal, tax, customs, municipal and labor rules will remain identical to those in force at the time of the investment registration.”
To summarize: Panama’s Constitution protects private ownership of real property and investments. Panama’s Civil Code applies the law equally to its citizens and foreigners. Law 54 specifically states that foreign investors are to be treated equally with local investors.
Panama Real Estate Purchases and Investments are Protected.
Panama’s real estate laws are similar to those in the U.S.
The U.S. Embassy published a report, U.S. GOVERNMENT REPORT ON BUYING PANAMA REAL ESTATE which states:
"Titled land, and the process of buying this, is similar in concept to that in the U.S., and land and deeds are duly recorded with the Public Registry”.
Panama Real Estate is Titled.
Titled property is similar to “fee-simple” title in the United States and is the most secure form of real property ownership in Panama. The Constitution of the Republic of Panama guarantees the right to own private property. Titled properties measured and properly recorded in Panama’s Public Registry office verify one’s real property “title”. These verifiable, guaranteed rights allow banks to issue mortgage loans for titled properties by registering liens against one’s title as collateral.
Anyone of legal age can purchase titled real property in Panama. The only limitations for foreigners are land within 10 kilometers of the national borders.
Panama’s Condominium Laws are Similar to the U.S.
Panama’s condominium law is called the “horizontal property regime” which regulates owners’ rights when owning an apartment in a building built on commonly used land. This law separates privately owned areas from common areas such as a swimming pool, elevators, and reception area and regulates what owners can do with each area. The law requires regulations to be created which must be approved by the Ministry of Housing (“Minesterio de Vivienda”) and filed with the Public Registry. The regulations must include designating the building manager, duties of the board of directors, property owners meetings quorum and votes needed to pass resolutions, usage for each unit (living or commercial), rules for moving in and out, having an annual budget, maintaining meeting records, and audits. These regulations can only be changed by a vote of more than a majority of owners. Once the regulations are filed with the Public Registry, the homeowners association has the right to file lawsuits. Regulations normally are not filed until a minimum percentage of the building has been completed.
Panama Has U.S. Title Insurance Companies.
There are U.S. Title Insurance Companies operating in Panama which provide the same types of real property title insurance services as their U.S. offices. Your title to any type of titled Panama real estate will be protected against hidden liens, unpaid utility bills, unpaid property taxes, defects in the deed or title, encumbrances, and boundary disputes.
You can feel safe and secure buying real estate and making investments in Panama.
Contact Us for all of your Panama Escrow and Title Insurance needs.