By Mike Coffey, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite a global economic recession, relatively low value of the U.S. dollar against the Brazilian real, with sky-high inflation and living costs in Rio, the statistics show that tourism growth is still strong. All this means finding a temporary apartment to stay in Rio continues to be a seller’s market, especially in the high season between New Years and Carnival.
The annual growth of travelers disembarking from international flights in Brazil has grown fifteen percent from 2010 to 2011 according to a BMI research report. Flávio Dino, president of Embratur, explained “Brazil welcomed more than 5.4 million tourists into the country, resulting in US$6.4 billion in foreign exchange inflows, marking 2011 the best year yet.”
All this means the real estate rental market, especially in temporary situations, will be even tighter then normal. Chris Sostad, a Canadian who visits Rio de Janeiro every year for Carnival expressed some frustration in finding accommodations.
“Holiday season in Rio de Janeiro which generally runs from the just before Christmas all the way through to the end of Carnival hasn’t been cheap for years but prices are steadily increasing and the best apartments are often gobbled up early without even going on the market.” he said.
For those in the market for an apartment rental between now and the end of Carnival, it helps to understand some key factors, and some prices ranges to expect. The basic landscape is that Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon are the three most sought after areas when visiting Rio.
Prices and availability seem to follow the same line, with the most availability and the lower rates being found in Copacabana, less options and higher rates in Ipanema, and finally Leblon, even less properties and very high prices.
In Copacabana a standard studio apartment which can run US$100 a night during low season will run for about US$220/day during peak Carnival time with a minimum stay period of ten days.
In Ipanema, a similar apartment will increase three fold from its low season rate up to US$280 a night with the same ten day minimum stay period. In Leblon a studio apartment, if one can still be found may be US$320 a night with the same time period restrictions.
If renting with a group or looking to indulge, travelers may find such deals advertised as a four bedroom penthouse in Leblon for a mere US$17,000 for a ten day stay, or a four bedroom penthouse in Ipanema with a view of the beach US$15,000 (ten days).
Many services offering temporary apartment rentals will compete in the extras and are worth keeping an eye out for. Some companies offer local cell phones for your stay, others hotel pick up and many offer maid service to make your stay more comfortable.
When searching for apartments from within Rio or from abroad, it is important to use the map function or request an exact address so that a location is not further from the beach than is expected.
The following table is a rough guide to prices in Rio de Janeiro during the peak Carnival ten-day period:
Copacabana: US$250/day (1 bedroom) | US$350/day (2) | US$440/day (3).
Ipanema: US$320/day (1 bedroom)| US$425/day (2) | US$520/day (3).
Leblon: US$360/day (1 bedroom)| US$450/day (2) | US$550/day (3).
Mike Coffey is a real estate expert and also creator of RioGuideNow.com, an interactive multi–media online travel guide for everything you want to know about Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, restaurants, tours and day trips.