In Sao Paulo, house prices fell by 0.88% y-o-y in Q3 2019

Brazil’s housing market remains weak, despite improving economic conditions. In Sao Paulo, house prices fell by 0.88% during the year to Q3 2019, from annual declines of 1.29% in Q2 2019, 2.41% in Q1 2019, 1.89% in Q4 2018, and 2.52% in Q3 2018. On a quarterly basis, house prices in Sao Paulo were almost unchanged in Q3 2019.

Brazil’s political turmoil

The crisis started in 2013 when the central bank raised key interest rates nine times to 11% in April 2014, causing a sharp economic slowdown. 

In 2016, President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached, the speaker of the house has been jailed, five Cabinet ministers have been removed or allowed to step down because of allegations of corruption. Brazil's new president, Michel Temer, is embroiled in a corruption scandal.  

Worse, another massive bribery scandal, involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, disrupted politics, not just in Brazil, but in more than half of the countries in Latin America, as well as in Angola and Mozambique in Africa. Odebrecht is behind the construction of venues for the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Olympics, the metro systems in Caracas, and other huge infrastructure projects.

The crisis helped right-wing candidate and retired army officer Jair Bolsonaro sweep to victory during the October 2018 presidential election on a populist, anticorruption platform. But a year into his presidency and not much has changed. Congress blocks most of his plans and his Cabinet is in disarray. In November 2019, Bolsonaro launched a new political party, the Alliance for Brazil (APB), after his relationship with the right-wing Social Liberal Party (PSL) collapsed as they fought for control over its large campaign funds. PSL emerged from obscurity last year to become the second largest party in Brazil's Congress after Bolsonaro made it the vehicle for his presidential run.

In Q3 2019, Brazil’s unemployment rate was 11.8%, down from 12% in Q2 and 12.7% in Q1, according to the government’s statistics agency IBGE.

Rents, rental yields: rental yields are moderate ranging from 3% to 6%

Rio apartments costs are around $4,370 per sq. m. 

Brazil: typical city centre apartment buying price, monthly rent (120 sq. m)
  Buying price Rate per month Yield
Sao Paulo     $524,400 $1,000 5%-6%
Rio de Janeiro $709,200 $1,200  3%-4%

Recent news. Brazil’s economy remains weak, with the government projecting a real GDP growth of just less than 1% this year. In an effort to buoy the economy, the Central Bank of Brazil has slashed its benchmark Selic rate by a total of 150 basis points at its last three meetings, reaching a record low of 5% in October 2019.