The recent news that existing home sales in the United States had the biggest monthly slump in nearly two decades came as the murmur about the infamous housing bubble is reaching a crescendo. Fueled by predatory lending habits and Americas lack of monetary common sense, foreclosures are skyrocketing and home sales are stalling. The steep slump in housing over the past year has been a major factor slowing the overall economy. It has subtracted around 1 percentage point from growth since mid-2006. This may just be a blip on the map, but many industry experts are morose at the future prospects.
If United States real estate prices continue this downward trend, it is important to examine whether this will begin to deflate the Panamanian Real Estate market as well. When housing prices fall in the U.S., it becomes cheaper to buy in top retirement destinations like Florida and Arizona, the areas that Panama is currently in direct competition with. As those prices fall, as many are currently doing, it would be hard to imagine retirees finding overwhelming benefits of investing and moving to a third world country rampant with corruption, no provisions for disabled people, a major pollution problem, an impending traffic nightmare, almost no personal health or safety codes and all with foreign laws in a foreign language.
These factors combined with the amount of real estate and development that is currently going on in Panama could spell a major disaster. A new real estate agency is popping up almost weekly and the amount of listings are growing at an astonishing rate. One has to wonder if the supply of Panamanian real estate isnt outpacing the demand. Developers are pushing anything and everything they can, from one hundred story skyscraper condos to multi million dollar beach houses, and investors, not residents are buying them up. If the housing slump in the United States continues and real estate in The States begins to edge back towards realistic and affordable prices, it will be interesting to see the affect that it has on Panama and this golden egg we call the boom.