Panama Chronicles: Kathleen And Lief’s True Story In Panama

Aerial view of Avenida Balboa, Panama City, Panama

“You need to get on a plane.”

That was the feedback Kathleen Peddicord got from her property scout when she sent him to Panama for the first time in 1998.

Back then, real estate in Panama was a screaming bargain. You could buy big, well-built homes for as little as $20,000.

Kathleen did indeed get on a plane and ended up recommending those properities for investment to her readers.

Today, they’re worth 25 times as much as they were back then.

Fast-Forward To Today

It’s been over two decades since Kathleen first set foot in the Hub of the Americas…

Much has changed, both for the country and for Kathleen.

She and Lief Simon went on to herald Panama’s investment and lifestyle potential, and a wave of U.S. and Canadian expats followed shortly after. Expat communities bubbled up across the country, and Panama became a household name across the world.

In the 26 years since their first visit, Panama has changed from an unknown land to a base of operations and home away from home for Kathleen and Lief. They’ve cultivated local knowledge and developed important contacts as they’ve entrenched their lives here.

Today, they’re uniquely qualified to guide investors to the best new opportunities in this tropical paradise and continue to put investors in the know.

In fact, they’re right now organizing an event that gives Overseas Property Alert readers access to exclusive property deals in Panama. Keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation to this free event in coming days.

Meantime, let’s dig deeper into Kathleen and Lief’s story in Panama to better understand their position on this country—that it has and will continue to be one of the world’s best places to invest overseas.

A Chronicle Of Kathleen And Lief’s History In Panama

1999 – Panama takes full control of the Canal from the United States; meanwhile, Kathleen tours a yet-unknown mountain retreat in the highlands of Chiriquí Province with property developer Sam Taliaferro. Kathleen identifies that mountain retreat—Boquete—as the world’s top retirement haven. It becomes the most popular expat community in the country.

2001 – Kathleen opens an office for International Living in Panama City’s La Cresta neighborhood. Readers who follow her lead and invest in property here enjoy capital appreciation of more than 1,000%.

2003 – Kathleen and Lief establish their relationship with Empresas Bern, one of Panama’s most prolific real estate developers. Lief persuades Bern to target the international market with smaller, high-end condos in Panama City, leading to the creation of Panama’s first short-term rentals and kicking off a property boom.

2004 – The Panama Canal shatters revenue records, bringing in $1 billion for the financial year.

2005 – Kathleen and Lief tour Bern’s beach development outside Panama City and recommend those condo units to readers.

2007 – Kathleen and Lief invest in Bern’s first Panama City condo tower, and their property earns a 15% net return from rentals. Today, that same apartment is worth $310,000—$164,000 more than what they paid for it. Readers who follow their advice and purchase rental condos in Panama City enjoy double-digit net rental yields and triple-digit appreciation. Work begins to expand the Canal’s capacity.

2008 – Kathleen launches Live And Invest Overseas with headquarters in Panama City. Kathleen and Lief buy land in Veraguas Province, including the finca that will become Los Islotes—their legacy project.

2009 – Live And Invest Overseas sells out the first two phases of Empresas Bern’s golf development in Coronado. Units see capital appreciation of more than 50%.

2010 – Bern developments recommended by Live And Invest Overseas produce 53% and 43% capital appreciation plus strong rental income. The one millionth freighter transits the Panama Canal.

2012Live And Invest Overseas consults on the plan for Empresas Bern’s Westin Playa Bonita and sells it out, positioning investors in one of the most sought-after beachfront rentals in all of Panama. Panama launches its “Friendly Nations” visa, making it one of the world’s easiest countries for foreigners to obtain residency.

2013 – Live And Invest Overseas promotes Empresas Bern’s new Costa del Este developments, including residential and condotel projects.

2015 – Kathleen and Lief buy the Live And Invest Overseas headquarters in the El Cangrejo neighborhood of Panama City for $1 million (now worth $1.5 million). Panama tops the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index (a ranking of well-being) for the second year in a row.

2016 – The Panama Canal doubles its capacity with the completion of expansion projects. Kathleen and Lief introduce a luxury beachfront residential development 15 minutes from Panama City, with a 20% discount for Live And Invest Overseas readers. Investors enjoy above-market net rental yields. The “Panama Papers” scandal reveals how the rich and powerful use tax havens (including Panama) to store wealth.

2018 – Lief identifies a master-planned local housing development in David, Chiriquí Province, that offers 30% returns every two years.

2019 – Line 2 of the Panama Metro opens, as does Fuerte Amador cruise port, enabling the world’s largest passenger lines to dock in Panama City.

2020 – Panama launches its Qualified Investor Permanent Resident program, a golden visa program.

2021 – The Panama Convention Center opens. With a 23,000-guest capacity, it’s the biggest, most high-tech convention center in the region. Panama launches its digital nomad visa, enabling remote workers to obtain one-year residency visas. Panama makes changes to its highly popular Friendly Nations visa.

2023 – Kathleen publishes her first memoir about her life in Panama, called “At Home At Los Islotes.” Chitré, a charming small town on the east coast of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, is ranked the world’s best place to retire in the Overseas Retirement Index.

2024 – Panama is the chosen location for our 10th annual International Property Summit—our biggest property investment-focused event of the year—in June 2024. Two dozen of Lief’s global network of property experts will convene in Panama City to present attendees with exclusive, turn-key, and fully vetted investment deals. More info here.

What About Tomorrow?

Kathleen and Lief were pioneers in identifying Panama for foreign investors and expats 26 years ago. Though much has changed since then, one thing has not…

Panama remains one of the world’s best places to make an investment overseas.

It’s rock solid in terms of its fundamentals, with a stable, pro-business government, a successful economy that uses the U.S. dollar as its currency, and robust legal and banking systems.

Its property markets continue to be ripe with opportunity. Though bargains like the ones Kathleen found back in 1998 are harder to find, investors in the know can still reap outstanding returns and capital appreciation.

For access to those kinds of deals, including move-in-ready beach property from $159k… a luxury highland retreat in Boquete… and pre-construction offers on prime location property, including Panama City’s most sought-after address… Get in contact here.


Sophia Titley signature

Sophia Titley,

Editor, Overseas Property Alert