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Boquete, Panama Real Estate: Still a Great Value for Investors

Boquete, Panama real estate has become a hot commodity in recent years, ever since the town emerged on the scene as one of the hottest expat destinations in the world. Once a small farming community, the city has gained immense popularity due to a number of factors, most notably its beautiful natural surroundings and year-round spring-like weather.

Boquete Panama Real Estate - Finca Lerida

Finca Lerida

Conveniently located near David, the capital of the Chiriqui province, Boquete is easily accessible.  And at an elevation of almost 4,000 feet above sea level, it offers a pleasant respite from the heat and humidity of the nearby coastal cities.

Although it’s grown considerably, Boquete still maintains a quaint small-town feel.  Its population is made up of locals, including the indigenous Ngobe-Bugle people, as well as a growing number of expats.  With these immigrants has come a wealth of businesses and services that many would-be expats find attractive when looking for a place to call home abroad.

Boquete Panama - A look at Real Estate from the Mountains

Rita Willaert

Boquete, Panama Real Estate Looked Very Different a Decade Ago

Like most desirable expat destinations, you usually needn’t look too far backwards to discover the town’s humble beginnings and an era when property values were nowhere near their present day prices.

With real estate in Boquete, you’ll only have to rewind about a dozen years or so.  Back then it was made up of mostly local coffee farmers, with only a few expats and tourists who trickled in and out of town while birdwatching in the nearby rainforests or hiking the slopes of Volcan Baru, the nation’s highest peak.

As interest in the area began to grow, a number of developments sprang up.  A major one was Valle Escondido, an exclusive resort community that offered its residents a first-world lifestyle in an amazing setting…and all for bargain basement housing prices, coupled with a low overall cost of living.

This project helped set the stage for Boquete’s growth when it drew international attention and was featured by networks and publications such as HGTV and Forbes.  It was named AARP’s #1 retirement destination in the western hemisphere in 2002, and in 2005 it made Fortune’s list of the top 5 best lifestyle values in the world.

In those early years of its emergence on the expat scene, not only was real estate in Boquete, Panama, a great buy, but the cost of living was insanely cheap when compared to other destinations with the same amenities.

The next few years saw continued growth for Boquete, along with a corresponding boom in its real estate market (and a steady uptick in its cost of living).  And the growth in Boquete did much to fuel what turned out to be a nationwide real estate boom throughout much of Panama, which continues to earn accolades as one of the best countries in the world to call home as an expat.

Boquete, Panama Real Estate Is Still a Great Value

Despite the fact that Boquete, Panama real estate prices have risen steadily over the last decade, properties in the area still offer a lot of bang for your investment buck.  However, before diving too deep into the specifics of what houses in the area cost, it’s important to understand the nature of Panama’s real estate market.

From our experience, it’s best to approach property valuation based on how the area measures up in terms of the 5 market stages we’ve created for classifying developing areas. The stages range from 1, which is a small local community, to 5, which is a full scale town like Panama City.  On this scale, Boquete is a stage 4 area.  What that means is that it has a good-sized population with an established sense of community, as well as all the things you’d expect in an organized town (e.g. restaurants, shopping, repair shops, financial services, and tourism operations).

As a result, Boquete is most suited for those who are looking for a more developed city with an established expat community.  You won’t find as many rock bottom deals on real estate, but at this point it’s all about the value.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t any investment opportunities left in Boquete.  They’re still there.  They just look a little different at this stage of the model.

Rather than pioneers hoping to buy large tracts of land they can subdivide and sell to end users, stage 4 opportunities are all about catering to those end users.  Boquete is the perfect place for investors who want to open a niche business, like a German bakery or an English bookstore.  Other business opportunities include boutique hotels and tourism companies.

Why Boquete’s Popularity Won’t Be a Passing Craze

The very factors that drew the first newcomers to Boquete are the same delightful characteristics that are sure to keep expats relocating to this mountain town in droves in the coming years.  There are also a few recent developments (as well as some others on the horizon) that may even lead to another spike in its popularity.

One that that will never change is the natural beauty that surrounds the city.  Known as the Valley of Flowers and the Eternal Spring, it offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains, as well as frequent rainbows as a result of its almost-daily afternoon drizzle. Its weather conditions, with temps perpetually between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, are what some would argue to be the world’s most perfect.

Not only are the surrounding areas beautiful, but they also offer a whole host of activities for those who want to take every opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.  From whitewater rafting to zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, Boquete can entertain even the most intrepid adventurer.

People also love Boquete for its friendly population.  Both locals and expats alike are extremely welcoming to new folks, and the small-town atmosphere makes it an easy place to meet people. The city is home to people of all walks of life, so if you’re willing to put in a little effort you’ll have no trouble finding a network of like-minded individuals.

Some Insider Information on Why Property in Boquete Is about to Become Even More Valuable

We mentioned its accessibility earlier, but we failed to point out that it’s about to improve dramatically.  To help explain, here’s another little nugget we’ve picked up during the time we’ve spent learning the ins and outs of the Central American real estate market.  When it comes to increasing the value of land and homes in a given area, there’s one key ingredient that never fails to have a huge impact on prices: infrastructure.

As infrastructure improves, more people have access to a given area.  That opens the door for more residents, an influx of tourists, new businesses, better services and amenities, and increasing property values.

This is about to happen for Boquete.

A large-scale airport expansion is currently underway at the nearby Enrique Malek International Airport in David, which will enable the area to welcome international flights from the U.S. as well as many other countries.  What’s more, a newly constructed 4-lane highway has shortened the drive from Boquete to David to a mere 35 minutes.

It’s never been easier for tourists, expats, and entrepreneurs to make their way to Boquete from all over the globe.  This increased demand will mean big things for the Boquete, Panama real estate market.

Boquete panama - Valle Escondido Property Development


What Your Dollars Will Currently Buy in Boquete

Naturally Boquete, Panama real estate values are going to fluctuate from time to time based on availability and the state of the housing market.  But here are a few examples of what you might find if you were looking at properties for sale in the area today:

  • $198,000 will buy a newer home that’s over 2,500 square feet, with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a walk-in closet, an outdoor fireplace, a gated entrance, and an in-ground pool.

  • $279,000 is the listing price for a 4 bedroom/4 bath home with a massive kitchen, multiple outdoor storage buildings, a small pond, and immaculate landscaping.

  • $375,000 will get you a fully furnished home with 3.5 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms (plus a bonus room), 2 floors connected by an impressive staircase with tile detail, and a large private back yard with mature trees.
  • $875,000 is the price tag for an almost 6,000 square foot home in an upscale private community within walking distance of restaurants and shopping, complete with a guest house and many custom features.

What Boquete Has That Other Mountain Towns Lack

So, Boquete has great weather, affordable home prices, a friendly expat community, and lots of room to explore.  Well, so do a lot of other mountain towns in Central America and even Panama.

So, what is it that sets Boquete apart?  The beach.

Yeah, that’s right.

While Boquete isn’t located on the beach, it is situated awfully close to it.  Just a short drive south of David is the coastal town of Boca Chica, which is surrounded by 50+ islands, most of which are uninhabited.

As a result, it’s entirely possible for you to sip your delicious, locally-grown morning coffee in the cool Boquete mountain air and then, an hour later, step ashore on a sun-kissed white sand island beach in an other-worldly archipelago off Panama’s Pacific coast.

It’s like having the best of both worlds.  In fact, a lot of Boquete residents do, as many choose to own a home in the mountains as well as one at the beach.

It’s because of this rich natural beauty and ideal location that we’re thinking of developing our next Adventure Colony in the highlands surrounding Boquete.  We have our eye on several properties that are within a 30 minute drive from Boquete that we think would be ideally suited for the simple, nature-loving lifestyle.

Map of Boquete, Panama

Boquete Fast Facts

  • Population: About 22,435
  • Typical temperature: Average temperature is 70 degrees
  • Nearest airport with U.S. flights: U.S. Bound flights leave daily from Tocumen Airport, both domestic and international flights to San Jose, Costa Rica depart from Enrique Malek International Airport in David
  • Nearest U.S. consulate: Panama City

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