By Doug Gray, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A two-hour drive beyond the lakes region to the east of Rio lies Búzios, the charming fishing village-turned-fashionable holiday destination following its ‘discovery’ by the actress Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s. Since then the region has been completely transformed with beach houses, condos and a wealth of pousadas popping up in droves, providing a healthy construction industry and fluid real estate market, with prices kept comparatively affordable by the quantity available.
There are some spectacular stand-alone houses around, but many of the new constructions are within closed condominiums, whilst apartments are quite few and far between. Seasonal rentals make up a significant amount of the real estate activity, and therefore the investment opportunities are interesting.
Popular with Cariocas and tourists alike (there has been a big influx of Argentinians), the array of beautiful beaches are Búzios’ principal attraction, and its proximity to Rio makes it the perfect place for a second home to retreat to at the weekends. As such, many houses are shut up for the low season and the streets of some neighborhoods can become deserted, but this can prove a welcome respite from the high-season madness that takes over its every corner.
The main commercial center is based on Rua das Pedras, awash with up market shops, some fine restaurants and no shortage of entertainment for all ages. Nearby Praia dos Ossos has some beautiful old fisherman’s houses restored to their former glory (mostly now seasonal rentals), and here is very much the old heart and harbor of town. Further towards the end of the peninsula sits the popular João Fernandes district, predominantly comprised of pousadas and hotels but nevertheless there are some private houses to be found.
For example, a house is on the market for R$1.1 million, affording spectacular views over the harbor. One of the more expensive areas in Búzios, its location accounts in some part for the price, but the house also boasts five bedrooms and a swimming pool.
Praia Ferradura’s surroundings provide one of the biggest areas for housing just beyond Praia Brava, and options here are plentiful. Starting at R$330,000 will get you a simple house with plentiful land, well located for the beach and center of town.
Moving up in pricea new condominium was completed in 2007 where a four bedroom home costs close to R$700,000 with a monthly condo fee of R$1,000, but the facilities, including pool, sauna and even a restaurant, are impressive.
At the other end of the scale is this luxurious house overlooking Ferradura beach, on the market for R$2.2 million. 650m2 of living space set in 1,350m2 provides plenty of room for your money, and seven bedrooms means the new owners won’t be short of visitors.
Finally, beyond Ferradurinha’s newly constructed condominium perched on the hillside, lies Geribá, one of the most popular districts with Cariocas for its good surf and long, golden sand beach. The coast-side road is lined with houses and pousadas, and as one of the more expensive regions in Búzios, it has an air of the up-market Leblon about it.
On the low end of the scale here is a house in a closed condominium along with eight others, in need of modernization but well located and at R$480,000 represents good value.
For R$3.7 million, meanwhile, you can buy a spectacular beach house in the safe knowledge it is fully renovated and comes complete with its own gate onto the sands. Four bedrooms, a modern pool and substantial gardens, it is a perfect example of what Búzios has to offer those with deep pockets and a taste for the riches that the peninsula holds.