The Real Estate Market in Brazil

Daniela Quiros,  Saturday, 4 January 2014


This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Brazil. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:


Brazil produces the world’s most delicious coffee; it has elevated soccer to the status of culture all around the world and is home to the world’s most beautiful top models. A country of rich and colorful history of slavery, Portuguese colonization, fight for civil rights, Brazil has given the world a plethora of outstanding artists, sportsmen and showbiz A-listers. Legendary Pele, Kaka, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho set the pace in the Champion’s League in soccer; Gisele Bundchen, Paloma Jimenez and Adriana Lima lead the charts of Fashion’s most wanted top models; Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna have become race legends. Brazil is home to four million species of animals and plants, with the highest rainforest in the world, the Amazon forest. It has the second largest number of Christians in the world but has no official religion whatsoever. Moreover, Brazil has legalized same-sex marriages.

A country of contrasts, indeed, Brazil can boast of both stunning wealth and safety of Southern communities, and peculiar culture of dance, food and crime of poor favelas depicted in some recent blockbusters. Brazil offers miles of dazzling white sand beaches and developing towns, growing into modern cities with high standards of security of gated communities. Where once were sleepy beachfront villages, now are modernized towns inhabited by ever growing Brazilian middle class and foreign residents appreciating the Brazilian lifestyle. Foreigners constitute approximately one third of real estate buyers in Brazil, with British, Scandinavian, Portuguese and Norwegian residents at the top of the chart. Portugal always has and will have an interest in Brazil, due to the historical background. Nonetheless, buyers from other European countries tend to fancy the gorgeous country full of opportunities, both in business and real estate, as well as in living affordably.

Brazil Real Estate Market Overview

Brazilian real estate market tries to attract wealthy American and Canadian retirees, too. Brazilian property prices appeal to Western buyers. Nevertheless, the upcoming World Soccer Championship in 2014, the 2016 summer Olympic Games, and some major industrial constructions, such as a world- class port in Pecem, give ground for predicting real estate prices boom.

Brazil is the sixth biggest economy in the world and the world’s largest food exporter. Recent oil discoveries and renewable energy production drive the economy away from world economic crisis. Billions of dollars are being invested in this country, and property market reflects the fact. According to Forbes, Brazil leads the ratings of real estate prices up market. The Global Real Estate Index released by Knight Frank ranks Brazil #3 in the world, after Hong Kong and Dubai, which are not even countries, and #1 in Americas for increasing real estate prices.

Since early 2011 to December, 31st, 2012, real estate prices rose by 13.7% in Brazil. Real estate wizards explain the fact by the appealing financing climate, with a system more stable than the one that exploded in a major house bubble in the United States. We dwell more on mortgages and financing in our dedicated article. Even though the pace has slowed down in 2013, with the local anti-governmental riots, the prices still steadily increase.

Real Estate Prices in Brazil

Here are a few examples to give you a taste of the real estate prices in Brazil. Fortaleza, one of the areas very much appreciated by foreigners, offers a 1.000-square-feet apartment with 2 bedrooms, maid’s room, two bathrooms, garage and balcony, located two blocks from the beach, for $85.000. Iracema, a beachfront community, offers a 780-square-feet apartment with ocean view, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage, for $115.000. Antiplano, a recent boomer in residential development offers a gorgeous 947-square-feet apartment of three bedrooms, three bathrooms, luxury interior furnishings and a list of top-notch amenities, for $150.000. Tambau, another beachfront community, can offer brand new apartments 700-square-feet, with two bathrooms and two bedrooms, a swimming pool in the complex, a garage and a gym, plus barbecue patios, for $170.000.

Pipa, also a beachfront community, offers beach houses $180 per square foot. Rio de Janeiro also attracts foreigners with Ipanema apartments pricing up to $500 per square foot. Copacabana apartments pricing goes up to $350 per square foot.

Regions Fancied by Foreigners and Opportunities Yet To Discover

Brazil is known for its gorgeous beaches, and Southern Region boasts of large beachfront communities offering a lot of investment opportunities for a second home owners. Ceara, Fortaleza and João Pessoa appeal to beach life hedonists while vibrant Rio attracts those who prefer metropolitan lifestyle. Even though beach front properties are popular among foreign buyers, Brazil can offer a climate and landscape suitable for any demanding buyer. Since it is the world’s longest country, Brazil offers more than one climate zone.

The Northern Region comprises almost half the country’s territory. It is the home of the mighty Amazon and the Amazon rainforest stretching over seven states. Tropical forests Para and Amazonas with wiggly Amazon used to be the country’s source of timber, nuts and minerals export. Nowadays, ecotourism and sustainable living take over, attracting tourists from all over the world. Hundreds of indigenous tribes inhabit this zone, each with its unique language, culture and traditions.

The North-East Region boasts of miles of beaches and coastal cities. The latter feature the best examples of Colonial architecture dating back to 18th and 19th centuries. Salvador, in Bahia, once Brazil’s capital, used to be the slave trade marketplace. The region is abundant in African art, music and religion, blending in a unique mixture with ethnic and European culture.

The Central-West Region, with Mato Grosso, is also a historical vantage point. It is home to Pantanal, the environmental reserve, attracting local and foreign nature lovers and ornithologists. The world’s largest mud road, Transpantaneira, is another region’s famous feature, running through savannahs, forests and fields. This region is abundant in natural reserves, among which are National Park of Emas and Chapada do Guimaraes. Plateaus, canyons, and waterfalls are abundant in this area.

The South Region is the smallest and one of the most urbanized areas in Brazil. It offers high standards of housing and is inhabited by the wealthy and the middle class. It is an agricultural region producing tobacco, wheat, rice and soy, among other things.

The pearl of Brazil is of course the South-Eastern Region, with Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro buzzing nightlife, world-renowned carnivals, top-notch dancing schools and a vibrant Brazilian showbiz. It is the melting pot of the entertainment industry and the largest metropolitan area in South America. Dazzling night cabarets and discotheques are famous for their same-sex couples-friendliness.

Infrastructure and Cost of Living

While state provided education and medical care are free of charge, the quality may be fairly satisfactory by European standards. However, the country is abundant in accredited private schools, medical institutions and private medical practices at par with the world-class clinics. Overall, cost of private education and medical care is lower than that of European. The workforce is quite affordable by American standards. For example, it is possible to hire a full-time maid for $300 a month. The infrastructure is well-developed, with electricity, water and gas supply and a large network of roads connecting the inland regions to beaches.

According to a survey by Brazil realtors’ organization, 30% of Brazil real estate is purchased by foreigners, which means that for every ten houses bought three of them are acquired by foreigners. The real estate market offers unlimited opportunities in apartments, condos, houses and penthouses, as well as hotels and lots for construction. But the best way to get a feel of genuine Brazil with its crazy samba, hot beaches and beautiful hospitable people is by visiting this striking country. Odds are you might want to stay for good.  

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