The old district of Panama City known as Casco Antiguo, is in a small peninsula with an urban structure mixed of Colonialisms, French and Spanish. About its origin, we can go back four centuries behind, when the Spanish raised a city walled as protection because of the assaults of the pirate Henry Morgan, who turned previous city into flames.
When the French entered in the 20th century to take their frustrated project to construct the channel, many wealthy families were established. After they failed and left, the neighborhood brought down in decline .
There were attempts to promote remodeling and launch Investment Projects.
But the lack of profitability eventually plunged the area into a major deterioration and until middle of the 90 it was an area forgotten by the Panamanians where only tourists were coming to walk along streets and see monuments and houses damaged by the time.
The situation changed with the adoption of the Law No. 9 of 1997 , which created fiscal incentives to promote the development of Casco Antiguo and invest in the real estate market. Between the attractions of the legislation, for owners of ancient buildings exemption of taxes was established for 30 years, including those of earnings for sale of the building, and fiscal incentives for owners dedicated to professional, commercial or industrial activities in the above mentioned facilities.
For the buyers, a preferential interest was established for mortgages, fiscal exemptions in materials and equipment of construction and restoration and fiscal advantages for those that, after restoring a construction, were reselling.
Casco Antiguo is not specially wide. Coexist in curious contrast , vacant homes or inhabited by poor families and between 30 and 40 % of buildings are renovated and restored , with an expected significant increase of reforms.
If a decade behind the buildings needed from reform could acquire for a few 40.000 $, now quantities can be asked up to ten times major. LOf constructions without renewing quantities can be paying between 150 theirs $ and 350 $, or even more, for square meter.In new or renewed constructions, it increases up to the 450 $ to 1000 $ for square meter and in business premises or special properties, we might reach between 2500 $ to 3000 $ for square meter. If you want more information about the area and updated prices per square meter you can enter in Casco Antiguo section of Gogetit .
The revaluation , which has significantly increased investment interest , has been very big in the last 10 years and the growth trend continues upward . Among the reasons that have influenced that behavior , in addition to the Act of tax incentives , are the declaration of the neighborhood as Cultural Heritage and its conversion into a place of cultural and artistic attraction.
Actually there are a lot of variety of available apartments in Casco Antiguo and can be purchased with the benefits of this law.
Incentive Law for Casco Antiguo
Law No. 9 of 1997 Panama created incentives to promote development of Casco Viejo ( also called Casco Antiguo, Panama ) .
The following is a summary of the law :
1. Protected areas include Casco Antiguo, Santa Ana, Salsipuedes, y part of the Terraplén neighborhoods
2. The preservation of the original environmental , historical and architectural features is very important.
3. A system of mortgage loans with preferred interest is set for the restoration of property in the area of San Felipe .
4.The owners in Casco Antiguo are exempt from property tax registered at the time of transfer of title (sale) of property to the new owner .
5.The benefits and capital gains arising from the transfer of ownership of real estate will be exempt from taxes on income and capital gains
6.The land and improvements of restored buildings will be exempt from real estate tax for a period of thirty ( 30 ) years from the completed restoration of the property.
7.The first sale or sales to take place after the completion of the restoration of buildings are exempt from 2% real estate transfer tax .
8.The profits generated by commercial activities , professional or industry that are held in the Old Town district are exempt from income tax for ten ( 10) years from the completion of the restoration of the property occupied .
9. Materials and equipment used in construction, renovation and equipment, shall be exempt from import duties.
10. Tenants of the buildings of Casco Antiguo can deduct from their income tax rates of rent for a period of five ( 5) years.
11. Buildings used for public parking will be exempt from income tax for a period of ten ( 10) years.
12. A compensation fund established for tenants of apartments in the Old Town who must leave the property because of a restoration project . The restoration project sponsor will receive a transferable tax credit in an amount equal to the payments made .