Salvadoran entrepreneurs welcomed the legislative ratification of the Treaty on Free Movement of Goods and Services, known as the ‘hipoteca centroamericana’ or Central American mortgage.
In order for the agreement to become effective, it requires ratification by three states."In 2010 Guatemala did so, this Thursday just past, it was El Salvador, and it is expected that soon Honduras or Costa Rica will also endorse the document. In Costa Rica they have already introduced a bill in the National Assembly for ratification," reported Elmundo.com.sv.
The executive director of the Salvadoran Chamber for the Construction Industry (Casalco), Ismael Nolasco, said the entry into force of the treaty will boost the mobilization of capital throughout the region, because there will be access to credit and mortgage securities. This could encourage, for example, investments in housing among other things.
In an appeal to the regional states in September, the Central American Court of Justice called to ratify the agreement in order to facilitate transactions between economic agents in all countries.
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Central America and the Dominican Republic are forging ahead with the implementation of a "Central American Mortgage."
This mechanism will facilitate and expand credit access since it will be backed up by mortgage guarantees in any of the Central American countries or the Dominican Republic.
The Merrill Lynch Investment Bank is interested in buying mortgage portfolios in Central America and has made $200 available for this.
Salvadoran vice minister of Housing, Mabel de Soundy, reported interest has increased in response to the strengthen of mortgages throughout Latin America because these were granted in the local market on solid bases and have a low level of default.
These agents are intermediaries in mortgage management, obtaining advantages regarding both interest rates and contractual terms for their clients.
During the real estate boom in Panama, these intermediaries—people with good connections in the banking and real estate market—had foreign investors, generally from the U.S., as their main clients, assisting them in the process of obtaining mortgages for properties valued at over $200,000. Now that this type of investment is scarce, mortgage brokers are looking for Venezuelans who are arriving en masse and local clients who need to buy housing.
Right now, Panama’s mortgage market is very favorable to consumers. 29 banks are offering preferential interest rates, up to 98% 30 year financing, waiving commissions and free appraisals.
A new real estate wave is bringing the market back to life, although without the same strength in all areas. The neighborhoods of San Francisco and Bellavista are currently seeing the most growth in construction.