Monday, October 1st, 2007
Mileika Lasso PANAMA AMERICA
Capac Expo sales more than $200M
With more than $200 million in sales, yesterday the XX version of Capac Expo Habitat 2007 closed. Pedro Detresno, president of the organizing committee, informed they raised more than 20 million dollars in comparison to last year. Detresno described the week event like a "total success", because it counted on the attendance of 35 thousand people. The Capac Expo Habitat is the construction fair and home show most important of Panama, Central America and the Caribbean.
He said that unlike 2006, the activity occupied 100% of the Atlapa Convention center. He assured that the machinery pavilion was the most visited, where the mega tractors of 40 feet were exhibited that will be used in the expansion of the Panama Canal and have a cost of $1.5 million. He added that 90 real estate promoters introduced about 300 projects.
The headline from todays Prensa Latina makes it seems as though the unions had a lot of success in shutting down the country yesterday when they called for a nationwide strike. According to Paul McBride, who rode out the turmoil or lack of it in the city, "there was not much going on". As far as how things went in our neck of the woods, we would not have known about it if not for the papers. Business as usual.
The story from Prensa Latina has a number of factual errors and is trying to sensationalize the deaths of two workers, supposedly at the hands of foreigners building projects for foreigners. This is what we should expect from Cuba's communist news source. There is a lot more to the story of the unions which Paul will be reporting on later this week.
Panama, Aug 21 (Prensa Latina) Morning found hundreds of jobs paralyzed in Panama with over 40 thousand construction workers joining a national strike in protest of the murder of workers at the doors of two foreign enterprises.
The usual noise of cement mixers, material elevators, trucks and daily activity in many high buildings of that capital gave way to an absolute silence that may let neighbors sleep longer.
The Single Construction Trade Union and Similar (SUNTRACS) said that about 750 projects of the country are shut down.
Monday"s burial of Osvaldo Lorenzo and Luiyi Arguelles became a combative march for justice through several avenues up to the cemetery.
An employee from Brazilian enterprise Norberto Odebrecht (constructing Panama-Colon freeway) shot Lorenzo in the chest when he was protesting against the dismissal of 60 workers who were rejected for being members of SUNTRACS Arguelles was shot at close-range by a policeman and died of a heart perforation on Viveros Island where the Colombian enterprise is building a luxurious tourist complex.
While paying last respects to the workers, General Secretary Genaro Lopez said that in its 35 years of existence the union had never been so threatened
These numbers are based on construction permits which are typically below actual building costs by about 30% from my experience. It is interesting to note that the areas seeing the greatest investment are not the city high rise towers as wold be expected, but areas just outside the city. They are mostly housing projects for local consumption. When I fly over these areas there is a sea of red roofs covering many hectares arranged into neat rows. The special bank financing for these types of projects make it attractive for both the developers and the local buyers. From La Prensa
Panama, Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Investments by $550 million in six months
Duarte Castle firstname.lastname@example.org
The construction sector has obtained their better semester of all the times, with a private investment enter important execution that rise to 550 million dollars. The amount represents an increase of 28,2% in the value declared in constructions permits, repairs and improvements, if it is compared with the first semester of last year.
The district of Arraiján, with a rise of 58,7% was the one that presented the greater dynamism in residential work, followed by the district of Panama (35.4%) and San Miguelito (16.5%), according to the General Comptroller of the Republic.
The result of the semester of this industry, last year closed with a growth of 17%, is well above of which it had projected the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac). And, for this year closing the perspective looks even better.
The president of Capac, Walter Medrano, commented that the entrance in execution of a series of mega projects, like construction sites of the third locks of the Canal, real estate developments and the coastal line, will make year 2007 one of the best ones of the industry.
Consulted on if the union problems could affect this performance, he was sorry that the union is victim of this situation of instability. "to guarantee a sustainable development and to give guarantees for foreigner investment, Capac agreed on wages until 2013 in the collective convention and we are fulfilling exactly everyword of the agreement".
Panamanian banks by law must give favorable mortgage loans for homes under a certain value and the value has increased due to the significant increases in the cost of construction. Although much of this increase can be attribute to materials and labor a large portion is also a result of increased costs of permits and taxes on taxes.
This short article from LA Prensa is about this matter.
Construction registers 37% rise in costs
The top amount of the loans to benefit from the regime of preferential interests had to be increased from 62 thousand 500 dollars to 77 thousand 500 dollars, according to a study elaborated by a commission of the National Council of the Private Enterprise. At that number it has reached because, in opinion of the commission coordinated by the Panamanian Chamber of the Construction (CAPAC), they have seen an increase of 37% the cost of construction of homes, by variation of regulations, proceedings, permissions and rates, valuation of lands, increases of taxes and increases in the manual labor. CAPAC has indicated due to increase in the construction costs the top had to be in favor of 85 thousand 510 dollars. (La Prensa)
Not an unexpected announcement.
Panama, Tuesday 29 of May of 2007
Constructions rose 29.8%
The value of the constructions in Panama and some districts of the country in the month of last April increased 29.8% in comparison to the same month of 2006, revealed a report of the Contraloría. According to the report, the value of new constructions, additions and repairs in residential and nonresidential works rose to 56 million 640 thousand 343 dollars, as opposed to 43 million 633 thousand dollars last year.
There starting to wise up in the city and set some much needed height limits on buildings in certain areas. Here is a brief article about it. Machine English translation with Spanish.
Panama, Wednesday 23 of May of 2007
Víctor D. Torres email@example.com
The conservation of buildings in the area of Bella Vista and Andres Bello park in Via Argentina, as well as the situation created by the project Pacific Point in Punta Pacifica, by the lack of green areas, was some aspects debated yesterday by the extended board of directors of the Panamanian Camera of the Construction (CAPAC), and the minister of housing, Balbina Herrera. The MIVI communicated to the members of CAPAC that in around Bella Vista and Andres Bello park, 18 lots exist where projects will be developed and those that already have been approved will be respected, nevertheless, only the construction of buildings with a peakaltitude of 69 meters will be allowed (20 stories high)
"The projects that are next to the park will have to create green areas", said Jose Batista, director of Urban Development of MIVI. Furthermore, the parking that are nearby the park must not have blind walls, but hanging walls with vents and bases for plants. In the district of Bella Vista 85 buildings have been identified as historical monuments, that must be protected. To be declared officially as such, the Executive will present a law project before the National Assembly.
Walter Medrano, president of CAPAC, was in agreement with declaring some of those buildings as historical patrimony, but he affirmed that others are too old for recovering them. The project Pacific Point, that was built without considering the green area, still being analyzed by a named commission to study the committed errors. "the position of the ministry is to look for the balance between the development and the quality of life of the citizens", concluded minister Herrera.
As more buildings go up, the land in outlying areas are in greater demand. Here is an articles from a local paper that speaks of this.
English machine translation.Panama, Saturday 12 of May of 2007
Mario Muñoz firstname.lastname@example.org
The construction boom of high buildings in Paitilla, Punta Pacifica and San Francisco already is touching the medium doors of residential areas of and low incomes, that until today seemed to have been immovable in the time. The lands of the quarters San Sebastián and Boca La Caja every time gain more value by their proximity to downtown and the coast.
"the investors are offering by those lands from 700 to thousand dollars per square meter", said to Tomás Portillo, executive of the Prima Panama, real estate company. With that price, a land of 200 meters can cost up to 200 thousand dollars. The speculation level that exists in the market continues pushing the prices of the apartments and some constructions of the area already can be sold between 2 thousand and 4 thousand dollars per square meter. "Is certain that in a future all the families will leave these areas for new projects", said Portillo.
"a group of investors who claimed to be of a North American partnership called for us to a communitarian meeting and they offered 800 dollars per square meter, if we did not have papers lent the money to us to legalize our lands", he tells to a resident of Boca La Caja, Aura Luna.
Without papers the main obstacle for the development of the construction in those areas is the high indices of informality. Between 25% and 40% of the thousand families of both quarters do not count on property titles, according to the Ministry of House (MIVI). "we are formalizing documents, updating files and solving problems for the legalization of lots", indicated Faustus Palacios, director of Informal Establishments of MIVI.
Just in one day of attention, this ministry received 60 interested families. The government official compile the information of the location of the houses, raise surveys on the personal data of the residents and settle down the years of the occupation. "There are people who began their proceedings, they suspended the payment of their lots or they have not carried out them, and other that already cancelled everything", informed Palacios.
A designer in Munich has debuted what may be the smallest all-inclusive homes in the world. At just 76 square feet, the tiny cubes come complete with two double beds, table seating for five, a kitchen, storage space, a toilet, and a shower. Now we have a solution to space and time to build. Just bring a half dozen over in a container and at $96k each furnished it is not such a bad deal.
Builders are having more difficulty getting cement and the cost are escalating dramatically. All of this just makes housing in Panama more expensive and less competitive. We have only two suppliers here and both have increased prices by nearly 20% in the month of April alone. Here is a short local article, English machine translated with the original Spanish.
Panama, Wednesday 18 of April of 2007
While the government tries to open the market of the cement in Panama, the prices of that product have continued to experience rises of prices in April. A bag of cement at Cemento Bayano of 94 pounds, made by CEMEX, had an increase of 19,28% in the first fifteen days of April, compared with February, until reaching the 6.74 dollars, reveals a report of the Authority of Protection to the Consumer and Defense of the Competition. Peculiarly, the prices of Cemento Panama also increased of form similar to those of their competitor. The bag of 94 pounds of that cement factory rose to 17,54% in April and reached the 6.62 dollars, confirms the report. "They – cement plants- deniy an increase of price, but if they are importing cement it is because they do not have sufficient product", Balbina Herrera comments, minister of House. "We must look for alternatives and a new cement plants can help to improve the supply and the prices".