For decades Brazil has been known as one of the most unequal countries in the world. The extensive slums that shape its city landscapes have become almost emblematic of a deep poverty and ingrained inequality that contradicts Brazil’s long-held ambitions of growth and modernity.
Brazil is one of the richest countries in Latin America, with its economy amongst the ten largest in the world although in terms of social inequality, the country ranks a disappointing twelfth globally.
Sotheby’s International Realty Luxury Lifestyle Report surveyed affluent consumers in two emerging markets – Brazil and China – together with those in more developed US and UK markets.
The most significant fact to emerge from the report is that when Brazilians look at property investments they look for homes that represent the ultimate in luxury living. For example, Brazilians were the only nationality where having a house with a helipad or a deep water dock for their yachts ranked as fairly important among wealthy house hunters.
95% of affluent Brazilians and 97% of Chinese surveyed said they were buying a lifestyle property, compared with 70% in the US.
Brazilians have another thing in common with their wealthy Chinese counterparts in that they both see luxury lifestyle properties as a family investment. Over 90% of Brazilians and Chinese said they were buying a lifestyle home in order to pass it down to their children, while less than 70% of British and Americans held the same view.
According to the Sotheby’s report, the average high net worth individual in Brazil owns four houses, with 38% owning even more. 40% cited South America as their top choice for property, 30% chose Europe with only 18% considering a purchase in the US, considering the American lifestyle too culturally different from their own.
Brazilians also seek luxury beach properties with 52% seeking homes near the sea. Owning a property on farm or ranch land was second choice for 36% of those surveyed.
Overall, the Sotheby’s report indicates that the majority of affluent consumers are more confident in the strength of the housing market in their country of primary residence, including Brazil.
Despite declining property prices, the Brazilian luxury homes market remains buoyant due to consistent demand for higher-end properties. The preference for buying properties to ultimately bequeath to successive generations shows that Brazilians recognise real estate as the most efficient way of keeping wealth in the family.