By Alexandra Alden, Contributing Reporter
SALVADOR – Salvador, otherwise known as the ‘Capital de Alegria’ (Happiness Capital) for its rocking street parties and infamous carnival, was the first capital of Brazil and now presides over the state of Bahia. It is most famous as the home of graceful martial arts dance capoeira, its distinctive colonial architecture, tantalizing African-influenced dishes and fifty kilometers of beaches, and with so much to offer it is little wonder that many are interested in taking up a more permanent residence there.
The Salvadorian resident will never be bored. There are percussion, capoeira and dance studios lining the streets and always some sort of festival in the works. Virtually every night there is live music on in the neighborhoods of the Pelourinho, the colonial UNESCO heritage site, Río Vermelho and the beach area of Barra.
Although the city seems to be focused on carefree fun, it does still manage to have a good infrastructure. Salvador, divided into the Cidade Alta (High City) and Cidade Baixa (Low City), is connected by the Elevador Lacerda, a huge elevator that has become one of the principal tourist attractions as well as a functional form of transport. As well as the elevator there are of course many buses which can take you around the city and beyond, and the airport also has direct flights to Brazilian capitals and several European cities.
For those looking to invest, Todd Smitala, director of Paradise Properties Bahia, says that, “The market is doing very well in Salvador currently, with a number of new constructions going up all around the city.”
“Although there will be many new places to live in the near future, there are still plenty of home-buyers looking to invest so there is little danger of the marked becoming saturated. Prices are rising though, as increasing availability of financing allows more Brazilians to buy. Smitala advises, “…investing now is a very good idea.”
There are several desirable neighborhoods, each with distinct characteristics and price ranges. Barra, located next to the urban beach of Porto da Barra, is probably of the most interest to foreigners. It is also on the main Carnival circuit, which means that investors can expect about a two percent annual return on an apartment.
Units sell out fast here, especially if they have a sea view or veranda. Expect to pay about R$4,000 per square meter for an older unit (prices vary greatly depending on amenities), while newer ones go for R$5,500 to R$7,000.
Rio Vermelho is an investment favorite for locals and is considered to be the ‘bohemian’ quarter in the city. There are many bars, restaurants and theaters to explore, and all the rough, bucolic splendor you would imagine.
Vitória is the stylish preference of the upper echelon of society and is the most expensive part of the city. In this exclusive area it can cost anywhere from R$5-6 million for a luxury apartment.
Other up-and-coming neighborhoods are Mouraria, Nazaré, Saude and Barbalho. Ribeira and Bomfim where Smitala says there are “…many interesting houses that are ripe for refurbishing.”
For those looking to spend a shorter period in Bahia’s capital it is possible to find a one bedroom furnished holiday rental for R$90/night. Apartments with amenities such as cable, pool and internet go from between R$130 to R$150/night.