House Hunting in Panama: Tucked Into the Mountains for $580,000


The house is tucked into one end of its 0.39-acre lot, adjoining a large side garden with bougainvillea, bamboo, ferns and citrus trees. Several wood bridges span the brook that crisscrosses the property.

The town of Boquete, near Panama’s western border with Costa Rica, sits about 3,900 feet above sea level and attracts locals and foreigners alike with its natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene. This property is a five-minute walk to several Boquete restaurants, and not much farther from the pharmacies, grocery stores and churches that dot its downtown strip. Enrique Malek International Airport, in the Chiriquí capital city of David, is about an hour away. The flight to Boquete from Panama-Tocumen International Airport in Panama City takes just over an hour.

Thanks to its agreeable climate, affordable housing and health care, and use of the U.S. dollar, Panama has emerged as a favorite destination for foreign buyers, particularly American retirees. Those buyers have gradually pushed up prices over the past five years


Rafael Gangi, the broker-owner of Sotheby’s International Realty Panama, said that although the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the country’s housing market from March through August, prices remained stable. Tourists and expats are returning to Panama, but in fewer numbers. “There is a moderate inventory of properties for sale in both the primary and secondary markets,” he said.

When Panama instituted its lockdown on March 20, Jason Cohen, an owner with his wife, Stephanie, of Casa Solution Real Estate, got nervous. “In the beginning, we lost a few deals because of what was going on,” Mr. Cohen said. “I expected things to get much slower.”

But sales volume in Boquete remains similar to 2019 levels, he said, and while there are some “buying opportunities,” prices haven’t slipped.

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