Panama is one of the countries my husband and I are considering, so I was very interested to see a recent post in Live and Invest Overseas detailing costs of renting in three Panama locations.
1. Panama City, specifically the El Cangrejo neighborhood.
It’s necessary to be neighborhood-specific because, as in any other big city, there are areas that are more or less desireable with pricing to match. The neighborhood is described as “cool, hip, safe, welcoming and increasingly affordable.”
“Prices in ever-more-popular El Cangrejo peaked last year and are slowly coming back down to earth. New condominium construction boomed in 2006, and the thousands of units developed at that time are now coming online. This has made both rentals and sales markets more competitive citywide, including in El Cangrejo.
“Rental rates for a new, furnished apartment in El Cangrejo are in the range of US$8 to US$15 per square meter. Older apartment rental units go for less than US$8 a square meter, sometimes, if you’re in the right place at the right time, for as little as US$3 a square meter.
“A friend just this week rented a 200-square-meter*, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, just off Via Argentina, El Cangrejo’s main thoroughfare, for US$600. The place has air conditioning in both bedrooms and hot water, two luxuries not guaranteed in Panamanian rentals at this price point. Another 200-square-meter apartment in El Cangrejo, this one with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, is available at press time for US$900 a month.
“If you prefer newer and fancier, a one-bedroom loft in this neighborhood, furnished, with a gym and a pool in the common area, is currently on offer for US$1,650 per month.”
2. Boquete, where lots of expats live.
“Rental rates are higher in Boquete than many other places in the country. Expect to pay US$500 to US$1,000 to rent a comfortable house. … To get a good deal, you need a local connection. Rentals you find advertised on websites are the priciest. To find something more reasonable, you’ll need to visit Boquete in person, asking everyone you meet if he knows of any rentals currently available. Someone you ask will know someone who knows someone who has a cousin or an uncle who is looking to rent his home.”
3. Las Tablas, the Live and Invest Overseas pick for low-cost beach living in Panama.
” ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ is the usual reaction resident Panama Editor Rebecca Tyre gets when she tells people how much she pays for her three-bedroom, two-bathroom, three-year-old rental house in this town.
” ‘Living in Las Tablas,’ Rebecca explains, ‘I paid less in rent than I spent on groceries each month. My house, which is just five kilometers from Playa Las Comadres and a five-minute walk from downtown, costs just US$200 a month. Friends have similar rental houses and pay between US$250 and US$500 per month.’
“Rebecca’s friend Merrill rents a simple beachfront loft for US$300 a month, for example. Another friend, Rick, recently returned to Canada for six months. He rented his fully furnished, two-bedroom house for US$500…and threw in use of his car.
“You won’t find deals like these on websites or working with a real estate agent. Generally, they come your way once you’ve established local relationships. Rick rented his house to a fellow Canadian he knew from around town. Rebecca found her house thanks to a connection through her Panamanian boyfriend.”
You can read the entire article here.
So there you have it. Three different locations within the country, three very different costs. My personal favorite at this point? Las Tablas. That is, if I can get a reliable internet connection there, which all my sources tell me I can.
*Outside the US, most places measure in meters rather than feet. 200 square meters is about 2153 square feet. So if you see someplace advertised at 100 square meters, think a bit over 1000 square feet, and so on.