By Carlos Graffigna, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A little over 500 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, lies Curitiba, the capital city of the estate of Parana. Although at times little is known about this city, it has for years led the way in urban planning and has won several social awards, like the UNESCO International Literacy Prize 2008, for its innovative approach and solutions to the many complicated issues presented in today’s overpopulated metropolitan areas.
Those qualities have made Curitiba a desirable place for investment and relocation, not only for Brazilians but for foreign individuals also. The standard of living is amongst the highest in Latin America and the local economy, the largest in the South of Brazil, has withstood the current global crisis with admirable stability. No wonder Readers Digest has named Curitiba as the “most livable place in Brazil” and ranked 54 in the world.
One constant regarding a desirable place to live, is the fact that real estate value rises as high as those expectations. That has been the case in Curitiba. The market has suffered little to no impact as consequence of today’s financial troubles, used homes value has risen 20%, new 3 bedroom apartments 10% and land value a whopping 35% in the last 12 months (SINDUSCON-PR).
Carlos Rittel, a registered real estate agent working in Curitiba for Imobiliaria Tha , claims that in the last 24 months, in what seemed the bottom of a financial crisis, demand for new homes and apartments have increased substantially, allowing their company to aggressively offer more projects.
Developers have no plans to slow down in the next few years, and looking at the last statistics provided by SINDUCON-PR, Parana’s Civil Construction Syndicate with 65 years of experience in Curitiba’s market, no one can blame them. According to SINDUCON-PR, aproximately 18,181.361.- square feet have been authorized for residential projects in the last 7 years alone, leading to 400% increment, from 991 projects in 2002 to 3,921 in 2009.
From empty lots in well structured private gated communities in Campo Comprido to high rise apartment buildings in Ecoville, Curitiba has managed to create a city environment which allows for not only the preservation of land and home value, but a constant considerable growth. As reported in detail by my colleague Tricia Chaves on her article Avoid Taxes with Real Estate, it is a viable investment option for local and foreign business men.
As with all investments, due diligence is a must, it happens in every growing market, companies take advantage of favorable trends and offer their product at a price over market value. Such is the case of new homes offered in gated communities in Campo Comprido, where prices range from USD$190 to USD$210 per square foot.
On the other hand, some 10 year old homes, on the same street and in gated communities, are priced between USD$90 to USD$105 per square foot. Developers intend to draw customers by proposing long term payment options, some of which are favorable, but only if you are looking for a long term investment.
Convenient payment plans stipulate a 2 to 3 year wait until the home or apartment is habitable. The advantage for such an early purchase lies not only on the smaller parcels but on the land and home valuation each year. All things considered, during these turbulent and uncertain financial times, Curitiba’s real estate rises as a solid investment option with limited risks for some and because of its high standard of living, a perfect place to relocate for others.