If you want to live in one of the nicer areas (a foreigner wouldn’t live in a barrio or something like that), for a two or three-bedroom apartment in Panama City, you’ll pay between US $1,600 and $2,000 a month.
If you wanted to go to one of the really super fashionable areas, which will be Costa del Este or at Casco Viejo, which is the old town, then you’re going to be spending more. You’re not going to have any parking in Casco Viejo. There’s literally no parking in Casco Viejo.
The cost there for an apartment rental is between $1,600 and $3,000 a month for a 100 to 200-square meter (about 1,075 to 2,150 square feet), two or three-bedroom. That would be a relatively new building, relatively new area, and safe. That’s the type of neighborhood where a foreigner will be comfortable living. That would have security, parking, a pool, and a social area; all that kinds of things.
If you compare this to the cost of a similar type of place, let’s say, in Frankfurt or in London, in these European cities, the rent would cost you a fortune. A 200-square meter apartment in London with underground parking, a pool, and all of that will probably cost a lot more. That’s for sure.
The key is to get a good realtor. I was lucky and I found one. I went to a few duds first. Somebody was recommended to me and she was absolutely wonderful. I recommended her to other people. They’ve all been delighted with her.
Unfortunately, there are lots of cowboys in the rental market here. You tell them exactly what you want. You show up to look at it. For example, you specifically told him that you want three bedrooms and they’re trying to show you to a two-bedroom place. You explained to them at length already that you needed three bedrooms, but they don’t care, or they won’t even show up at all. They arrange to show you an apartment, you show up in the place, and then they were better off somewhere else. They just don’t even show up, which is kind of bizarre.
That’s renting an apartment in Panama City. The problem is probably because there are so many people coming into the city, the agents (whatever you call them) have their choice of clients;. I don’t know. They rarely call you back. If they do call you back, they’re not going to follow up, so it’s important to get a good realtor, for sure.
Personally, it was worth the trouble to get a good realtor. Absolutely! Most of the good apartments sign up with a realtor to get it rented. You can cut out a lot of leg work by just getting a good realtor. She’ll be able to show you, in two or three days, six or seven places that are exactly what you need. For that, she gets one month’s rent from the apartment owner. It works out.
(Costa del Este, Panama, pictured.)