By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to the latest FipeZAP Index, which tracks real estate prices in Brazil’s twenty biggest cities, residential real estate sale prices plummeted an unprecedented 0.16 percent in May.

Residential real estate prices in Brazil showed its biggest drop in five years according to the FipeZap Index, photo by Jake Gordon/Flickr Creative Commons License.

The decline across the country represents the largest ever drop seen since the FipeZAP began recording price variations in 2012.

The distressing news also comes on the heels of two consecutive months of relative stability in real estate prices — a positive for a country in the midst of economic and political upheaval.

Locally, residential real estate sale prices in Rio de Janeiro registered a decline of -0.48 percent, the second-biggest negative variation in the survey. Only Recife, the capital of Pernambuco in the Northeast, had a greater fall than the Cidade Maravilhosa in May, with a decline of -0.64 percent.

Despite the decline, Rio de Janeiro still held on to the top spot in Brazil in terms of residential sale prices averaging R$10,132 per square meter. São Paulo was a distant second at R$8,683 and Distrito Federal third at R$ 8.435 per square meter.

In Rio, the affluent neighborhood of Leblon, despite recent alarming rises of crime plaguing the area, still has the most expensive residential real estate in the city, and the country, at R$21,028, down from R$21,541 in April. Ipanema was a close second at R$20,002, followed by Lagoa at R$18,023. Gávea and Jardim Botânico rounded out the top five at R$17,414 and R$16,123 respectively.

Despite a decline in May, Rio’s upscale neighborhood of Leblon still has the highest residential real esate prices in the country, photo by Alexandre Macieira/Riotur.

The precipitous drop seen across the country looks even steeper when compared with May’s inflation rate of 0.46 percent, as determined by the IPCA/IBGE (National Consumer Price Index/Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics). In fact, among the twenty cities in the FipeZap Index, none registered an increase greater than the inflation rate, with Sao Paulo’s beach city of Santos coming the closest at 0.44 percent.

In addition to Santos, only four out of twenty cities showed positive movement in May: Goiânia (+0.35 percent), Vila Velha (+0.27 percent), Fortaleza (+0.16 percent) and Florianópolis (+0.14 percent).

The situation looks less bleak when drawn out over the last twelve months, with the FipeZAP Index actually showing an overall increase of 0.46 percent across Brazil. However, prices still fell well short of the inflation rate for the period of 3.75 percent. Only Belo Horizonte showed an increase greater than inflation, with prices surging 7.32 percent for the period.

In the twelve month period, residential real estate prices dropped in eight of the twenty cities surveyed, with Goiânia (-2.80 percent), Niterói (-2.56 percent), and Rio de Janeiro (-1.99 percent) showing the biggest falls.

The FipeZap Index monitors real estate sale prices across twenty Brazilian cities and is a monthly gauge of property prices. It is prepared jointly by the university research center, Fipe (Economic Research Institute Foundation) and the Brazilian online real estate platform, Zap Properties.


  1. After seeing home prices rise between 100-500 percent the last 10 years a 0.16 percent decrease seems like drop of water in a bucket. I see many homes for sale and very few being sold. The ones being sold are at a discount I am sure. This is in Belem, PA.


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