Property prices are relatively low in Brazil, but they are increasing rapidly, particularly in the big cities and main tourist areas. In some areas, property prices increased by more than 50% in 2005.
A wide range of properties are available for sale throughout Brazil, including modern apartments and family houses in the cities and coastal towns, and more traditional fazendas in the rural areas. New properties can be purchased at the planning or construction stage.
It was recently reported that new apartments in the most exclusive area of the popular expatriate destination of Beira Mar are selling for US$300,000 to US$1,000,000, while in cheaper parts of the city they are available for as little as US$60,000. In Capongo Beach, a smaller town with a mainly Portuguese expatriate community, condominiums are available for around US$25,000.
There are no restrictions on the ownership of land or property in Brazil by foreign nationals. However, in order to purchase property, you need a Brazilian identity card called a CPF. To obtain this, you will first need to have your birth certificate translated into Portuguese and notarized by the Brazilian consulate in your home country. You can then apply for the CPF to Banco de Brasil submitting your notarized birth certificate and your passport. You will also need a Brazilian mailing address, to which your CPF card will be sent.
It is advisable to use a broker or agent when buying property in Brazil, but ensure that you find one who is recommended to you, and check their qualifications, since there are many bogus property brokers in Brazil. The broker will help you to find a suitable property, carry out legal checks, negotiate a price and prepare the contracts. Since prices are often heavily inflated for foreign nationals, the services of a good broker can save you a lot of money. You will also benefit from using a lawyer in the preparation of the contract and to make thorough legal checks.
When you have agreed on a price for a property, you will be asked for a down payment of around 10,000 Reals, following which the property will be registered in your name, using the services of a cartorio or notary. The property transfer charge is normally around 4%-5% of the purchase price. You will also be required to pay a 1% import tax on the transfer of funds from abroad, and following registration of the property in your name you will have to pay an annual property tax of around 0.6% of the value of the property.
The balance of payment can often be made either in a single installment or in installments spread over 1 to 4 years.
Mortgages may be available to foreign buyers from Brazilian banks, but interest rates are extremely high.
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Jamie Morris is the author of The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad ; 130 pages of advice covering all the main issues which anyone moving abroad must consider before, during and after relocation to another country.
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