Brazil: An Investor Hotspot

Aerial view of Buenos Aires, BrazilSouth America’s biggest country covering more than half the continent, Brazil is currently one of the strongest emerging economies in the world. In 2006, the country was already gaining a name for itself as a hotspot for overseas investment and today it is seen as one of the fastest growing property markets, with both professional investors and holiday home buyers alike realising its potential.

Strong economic growth

Over the past few years, Brazil has had strong economic growth, despite the worldwide economic crisis. In fact, the Brazilian recession was one of the shortest in the world, and its recovery one of the strongest. The country has also seen its reserves grow by over 40% in the last 12 years, especially due to the discovery of new oil fields, which brings reassurance to real estate and land buyers, who previously thought investing in Brazil could be risky. The country has also been selected to host the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, further cementing investment opportunities in the market. In fact, experts predict the Brazilian economy will be the fifth largest in the world by 2016.

This trend is also reflected on where Brazil was among the site’s top 10 emerging markets in Q2 2010 in terms of growth in property listings and booking enquiries. The country saw a 33 percent increase in property listings at the end of Q2 2010 compared to the same period last year. Alastair Cumming, owner of an apartment in Rio de Janeiro invested wisely in January 2006 when he bought his two bedroom duplex penthouse in Ipanema. Since then its value has increased four times and his current predictions are that property values will either double or triple within two years.

Alexander Wasastjerna, one of the partners at Brazilian Homes LLC, a real estate agent in Brazil that also rents out properties on behalf of clients (properties 485544 and 434832), comments: “The rental rates for holiday homes in Brazil are still fairly cheap but we have seen major changes over the last two years. This is what makes a holiday rental investment very attractive as we feel that the rental rates will increase significantly over the next five years. For many of our properties, we are already generating two to three percent rental returns only from renting out the property during the peak seasons. We forecast rental returns for our holiday rental properties to reach eight to 10 percent in two or three years’ time and going into steady double digits in five years and beyond.”

Booming tourism industry

Brazil's emergence as a leading tourist destination is illustrated by the steady increase in the flow of international airline passengers, from 8.6 million in 2002 to 12.2 million in 2006. Booking enquiries on HomeAway Holiday-Rentals have also climbed by 66 percent in 2010 compared to 2009 and owners and property managers advertising on the site report solid performance. Alexander Wasastjerna says: "During the Brazilian high season we usually have 90 to 100 percent occupancy, while for the low season its around 30 to 40 percent." Nevertheless, the financial crisis seems to have impacted on the flow of European travellers. “Before the crisis, almost 80 percent of all our clients came from Europe, but last year we had 80 percent Brazilian tenants and only 20 percent from abroad.”

Being chosen to host two major sporting events is certain to ensure Brazil remains a favourite hotspot over the next couple of years, supported by an increase in the number of direct flights from Europe, large infrastructure developments and more promotional activities both internally and abroad. Alastair Cumming points out: “Bookings are definitely on the increase, with flight bookings from the UK this year to Brazil up 27 percent. My occupancy rates are also around 89 percent; all but three weeks this year are booked.”

HomeAway Holiday-Rentals currently lists over 150 holiday homes to rent in Brazil and in 2010 parent company HomeAway, Inc. acquired Brazil’s leading holiday home rentals website, Alugue Temporada.