Race to Rio: Brazil’s Olympic property boost

The world’s eyes are fixed on Rio de Janeiro this week, as the 2016 Olympic Games continue. The city is also in the spotlight for property investors, reveals new research from TheMoveChannel.com. But where are foreign buyers hunting for houses? And what impact will the Olympics have?

Demand for Rio’s real estate raced ahead this year, with the city accounting for over half (52 per cent) of all searches by location on TheMoveChannel.com in H1 2016, up from 33 per cent in H1 2015. The city also accounts for one in 10 enquiries for Brazilian property.

Investors are looking beyond Rio this year, though, reveals TheMoveChannel.com’s new At a Glance infographic, as the host city acts as a gateway to the rest of the market. In 2016, Piaui has pole-vaulted over Rio to become the most popular hotspot in Brazil. The region accounted for 36 per cent of enquiries, ahead of even Rio Grande do Norte, which accounted for one in five (19 per cent) enquiries, and Ceara (15 per cent).

“Overseas interest in Brazilian real estate is centered on the Northeast,” comments TheMoveChannel.com Director Dan Johnson. “Cities such as Rio and São Paulo are hugely popular with tourists, but the Northeast is more affordable, with the recent 2014 World Cup helping to boost the profile of Rio Grande do Norte and the sporting city of Natal.”

Indeed, Natal is the second most searched-for location in Brazil on TheMoveChannel.com, although in the last year, it has seen its share of searches dip from 7 per cent to 6 per cent, as buyers become increasingly attracted to the Olympic host city.

“Natal property” is also one of the most-used phrases on Google among those searching for Brazilian real estate, just below “Brazil houses” and “living in Brazil”, and just above “Villa Brazil” and “land for sale in Brazil”.

“The Northeast is home to some of the country’s best beaches, which makes it extremely appealing for adventurous holiday home buyers as well as investors,” adds Johnson. “Bahia, in particular, is a rising star for overseas buyers, with Trancoso enjoying a growing reputation for its relatively undiscovered coast.”

Investors who do turn to the south of Brazil sprint to Santa Catarina, with tourist favourites Florianopolis and Meia Praia driving interest.


The Olympics arrive in Brazil as the country begins to show signs of its economy heading to positive territory, following a period of recession and political uncertainty.

“In the last year, the weak Brazilian Real against other currencies has been good news for bargain hunters,” continues Johnson. “As the Real recovers in 2016, and fans cheer on the world’s best athletes, a growing sense of optimism is in the air. That may give the market the boost it needs to bring in more buyers in the next 12 months. Regardless, the Olympics are likely to mean that Rio de Janeiro will remain at the front of the property pack.”