BRICKS AND MORTAR

Panama 2015 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Diosmara Pacheco, General Manager of Grupo D&D Real Estate, on establishing in the Panamanian market, international investors, and working with the finance sector.

Diosmara Pacheco

How would you assess the current state of development of the construction and real estate industry in Panama?

After five years in Panama, we couldn't be more satisfied with our success. The Panamanian market offers numerous opportunities and is expanding. The country offers stability and there are great prospects for growth and development. The sector features many established players, and yet still offers many opportunities to newcomers. For example, we were recognized as the best selling company in the industry in terms of volume, after just one year in Panama. Our main clients are foreign nationals, especially Venezuelans. We play a key role in making sure that foreign investment in the sector is channeled in a secure and solid manner.

How would characterize your competitive advantages?

We offer a solid and high quality service; in addition to championing creativity we have generated confidence among our investors through our performance. Meanwhile, we pay close attention to detail, which makes a difference when providing high quality services.

Which are the most common properties you handle, and which are in greatest demand?

A year ago, we had an important number of investors buying high-end properties. At the moment, the situation has changed and we do not have such a strong focus on high-end properties, but volumes have not suffered. Last year, we closed a large number of transactions. The market today has moved toward more economical properties, having more targeted properties and we have also seen increased demand for commercial properties.

What are the prospects for commercial properties?

Demand for these properties has grown over the past couple of years, and despite a recent slowdown, I expect considerable growth for next year too. We will see an increase in the arrival of companies in the country, which will boost demand for offices in Panama.

What is the balance between local and international investors in your client portfolio?

Our key clients we are from Venezuela, Spain, Italy and other European countries. Over the past few months, we have seen a rising number of Latin Americans. Around 70% of our international client portfolio derives from Venezuela, and the remainder from elsewhere.

What kind of relationship do the real estate and the banking sectors currently have in Panama?

In the financial arena, the banking sector does offer notable support to the real estate sector in Panama. Indeed, as Venezuelan investors, we face several restrictions in terms of fulfilling bank requirements. Nevertheless, the banking system has been extremely supportive. Over the last few months we have seen the banking sector open to the international community through credit lines.

In which segments of the sector do you see the highest demand?

I would definitely say in the residential segment. We have seen an increasing interest in purchasing residential properties and also office properties, for there are many companies planning to move to Panama.

What are your main objectives for 2015?

Our objective is for the company to consolidate its activities on the strength of our reputation. We plan to develop strategic partnerships with companies in Miami and Orlando in the US. We have high expectations and believe we have a bright future ahead.