By Doug Gray, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Undoubtedly one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods and often referred to as a city within a metropolis, Santa Teresa is almost impossible not to fall in love with. Full of beautiful architecture and some stunning villas and mansions overlooking Guanabara Bay, to live there is a lifestyle choice.

This four-floor house is on the market for R$750,000, the price of a two bedroom flat across the city in Leblon, photo by Brasil Design.

That is simply because once there, few actually leave. The age-old Zona Sul Carioca attitude towards Santa Teresa’s awkward access and distance from the beach is mirrored by those who live there, preferring the glorious isolation and cool breeze the hillside offers looking out over the hustle and bustle of the rest of the steaming city below.

A short visit is enough to have visitors marveling at the architecture and contemplating upping sticks to find a house there.

Prices remain reasonable in comparison to Zona Sul, whilst the size of house you can get is unmatched almost anywhere in the city. Forget condominiums and porteiros, this is the land of huge double gates, sweeping driveways, turrets and swimming pools surrounded by mango trees.

Wolfram Goebel is the German expatriate behind Brasil Design, the company with some of the hillsides most desirable residences on its books.

Whilst some have tried to hike up prices in line with the housing market mayhem below, Goebel realizes the best way to operate is to maintain a reality of pricing, something all too rare in the industry.

This house on the left, built in 1930 on a quiet residential street, has unique views of Cristo Redentor, 700 square meters of land and a living space of 230 square meters, the kind of size few could dream of affording elsewhere in the city.

The example above, for R$750,000, has a panoramic roof terrace of 100 square meters, and four bedrooms across its four floors as well as a self-contained maid’s apartment. It is little wonder that those used to cramped living further down the hill become enchanted by Santa’s beauty.

Another example of Santa Teresa's stunning architecture, this house is on the market for R$800,000, photo by Brasil Design.

“Many homes have already been restored, restaurants, art galleries and antique shops are opening; and the area is becoming more and more part of the tourist attractions of Rio,” Wolfram says.

“It is reasonable to predict that property values will rise over the next years, moved by the need for residences as well as the development of small-scale commercial activities in this so special area, which has no equal in Rio de Janeiro.” he continues.

“This effect will be even stronger as the neighboring quarters of the town, as Centro, Lapa, Castelo, and the old port area are being redeveloped, too – after decades of expansion in the more distant neighborhoods, the city is now again concentrating on it’s center and historic heritage for housing.”

Wolfram Goebel can be contacted via the Brasil Design website at


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