By Karen Shishiptorova, Contributing Reporter

Cobblestoned, tree-lined street in Gávea, photo by Karen Shishiptorova.
Cobblestoned, tree-lined street in Gávea, photo by Karen Shishiptorova.

RIO DE JANEIRO – As with any big city, apartments are the bulk of the real estate market. However scarce, houses are also available for sale in Rio. Usually further from main public transportation, in some areas, the noiseless tree-lined cobblestone streets and bird soundtrack in which these detached homes are usually found feels more like a small town than a bustling city.

For those looking for a house as a place of business it is important to know that in Rio local zoning laws can vary widely according to the block where the property stands. So while there might be a restaurant a few meters down the street, it does not mean that adjacent houses are permitted commercial use as well.

The privilege of a having a street-level door of your own, and possibly a private garden, fruit trees, larger pets and other wonderful amenities of a house, comes with a price tag, of course. This also includes extra expenses, since house-lined streets in Rio usually have 24-hour private security guards paid for by residents.

In this extremely scarce market, Botafogo – a neighborhood slightly larger then most Zona Sul areas and more crowded – has offers in differing price ranges. There, a simple 140 square-meter, three-bedroom villa house starts at a quite affordable R$370,000. This is for what is called an ´apartment type`, which means the usual backyard is actually a terrace on the second or third floor – no ground space or garage. For R$570,000, one can buy a very large 400 square-meter fixer-upper, and for R$1.65 Million a 600 square-meter house with five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a three car garage is available.

Laranjeiras, neighboring Botafogo, is the second biggest market offer. A similar villa house with two bedrooms and a small outdoor area goes for around R$295.000. For R$798,000, it is possible to buy a two-floor, three suite with jacuzzi, office and three parking spaces spread over a 410 square-meter lot.

A huge 500 square-meter house with four bedrooms, garden, grass lawn, sauna and two parking spaces is in the market for R$980,000. In the coveted nearby Urca a large house starts at R$1.65 Million, going up to R$3 Million. Flamengo, next to Laranjeiras, has a four-bedroom, three-floor house listed for R$750.000.

In Humaitá, neighboring Botafogo, only two recent ads were found for large four-bedroom houses at R$1.1 Million and R$1.85 Million and the single Lagoa ad is a three-bedroom house on a private street going for R$1.65 Million.

Close to Humaitá, Jardim Botânico is known for its large expensive houses and upper scale mansions. There, a three-bedroom home starts at R$850.000, and four bedrooms at R$1.3 Million. For the real McCoy with lots of green, several parking spaces, sauna, pool, Lagoa views and complete privacy, be ready to sign at least a R$6 Million check.

In Gávea – also concentrating a large and upscale detached house area – a four-bedroom, 410 square-meter property is selling for R$900.000. A spectacular mansion of 900 square meters bordering the forest reservation, complete with all the standard luxurious items – such as six parking spaces and large tiled swimming pool – starts at R$3 Million. It is similar to living on a small ranch where wildlife is abundant.

Leblon holds Rio´s most expensive rate per square meter. Owning a house there means you have truly have made it to the top, along with Brazil´s richest. In the Jardim Pernambuco area, where one can spot at least a house so big it can be called a palace, prices are not listed, nor the properties, which, quite understandably are handled by real estate agents such as Sotheby’s. However, one ad offers a ´fixer upper´ for R$6.5 Million featuring eight bedrooms built on a 1700 square-meter lot.

There were no houses currently listed for sale in Ipanema and Copacabana at the time of publishing.


  1. I am brazilian and the I am not proud of this city Rio de Janeiro.
    People leave momently the zona sul, instead that people buy Apartments.

    Do you want to live in a zona sul, where you cant go out at after 10om to swim in the sea? Do you want that your childs will be robbed after 8pm when they walk the street?

    …..Oh god!!

    Rio does not attract naymore longtime stayer….only short-time apt renter, mostly foreigns, which come to have fun here and than leave fast, bec they know, that Rio is not an attractive place for a calm life full of peace and freedom in the 21st entury.Although it should!


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