Respected international real estate consultancy Knight Frank has named Panama City a “City of the Future,” citing the growing number of the world’s wealthiest individuals calling the Panama capital home.
Investors are attracted by the strongest economic growth offered in the region and also a very competitive tax environment, says Knight Frank in its annual Wealth Report, which tracks trends among the wealthiest property buyers around the world.
Panama was one of 15 countries in the world to experience a growth in 2014 of at least 5 percent in the population of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI), defined as an individual worth more than $30 million, according to Knight Frank’s research. Panama is now home to 85 UHNWI, the report found.
Knight Frank chose “Cities of the Future” for a variety of economic and social factors, in addition to the growing population of wealthy individuals. These cities are “locations whose influence we believe is growing strongly” and “should certainly be on the radar in terms of their wealth creation opportunities,” the report states.
Panama City fits the bill in many way. The city offers a “high degree of economic and regulatory stability,” Knight Frank reports. In addition, “high quality transport and health care and a growing presence of global hotels brands have drawn investment from entrepreneurs looking to expand on a strong food and lifestyle scene.”
The Economist magazine recently labelled Panama City the “Singapore of Central America,” which seems “increasingly prescient,” Knight Frank notes.
The number of high net worth individuals – wealthy people who haven’t achieved “ultra” status — has more than doubled since 2007, growing to 4,700 in 2014. That number is expected to grow to 7,000 by 2024, the agency predicts
Other cities singled out for their growth opportunities included Belgrade, Serbia; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Yangon, Myanmar;
Overall, Knight Frank found the population of wealthy people around the world continues to grow, despite the economic turmoil.
After a 3.1 percent jump in 2014, the population of UHNWI has grown by 61 percent in the last decade, Knight Frank says. That trend is expected to continue, with the number of UHNWI expected to increase by 34 percent to 231,000 in the next decade.
The United States, which supplies the most buyers to Panama City, will continue to lead the world in UHNWI, with more than 51,000 forecast in 2024, a 25 percent increase from current levels. In contrast, Japan will have the second largest group, with only 19,916; China is forecast to boast 15,681 in the next decade.
Knight Frank has provided great data about Panama from a global perspective but I live here and I can tell you that they simply scratched the surface of what is happening in the city. Panama will soon be enjoying another explosion in tourism as significant investments pour into the infrastructure of Casco Viejo and the Amador Causeway. All the new hotels are already choking with reservations for the opening of the new Panama Canal. We don’t get hurricanes in Panama but if we did, this would be the perfect storm.
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