By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite property prices falling throughout Rio de Janeiro, Leblon still contains the most expensive square meter of real estate in Brazil, at around R$20,000 as of late last year. This small and relatively quiet neighborhood remains one of Rio’s most exclusive areas.
However, this doesn’t mean that it is inaccessible. According to Frederic Cockenpot of Where in Rio, “The recovery of the real estate market in Rio de Janeiro should only gain momentum between the last months of 2018 and early 2019.” Suggesting that in Rio there are some good-value deals on the market, with Leblon being no exception.
Perhaps because of its westerly location, or the lack of a metro connection until very recently, Leblon has always had a reputation as a quiet, safe and genteel neighborhood.
Nowadays, it is as well-connected as Ipanema or Copacabana, with two metro stations (Antero de Quental and Nossa Senhora da Paz) and plenty of bus routes connecting residents with other parts of the city. However, it still retains its quiet and exclusive beach-side charm, but with plenty of luxury shopping and fine dining.
Ratan Rai Sur, a software engineer, commented on the “noticeable shift as you walk westward into Leblon. The lobbies of residences become much more elaborate and you begin to see boutique restaurants with alluring frontage.” Leblon, he said, “feels more established,” compared to its neighbors.
Perhaps because of its upmarket clientele, Lebon’s culinary scene is markedly more diverse than other neighborhoods, with excellent quality Thai food at Sawasdee Bistrô, Spanish dishes at Venga, or even German-style cakes and “stollen” at Confetaria Kurt.
Yet there are also local favorites that provide wonderful food at more everyday prices. Restaurante Fellini serves some of the best buffet food in all of Rio, offering high-quality and varied dishes that are good value for money.
Another Leblon gem is the bookshop Argumento, with its very own Café Severino hidden away at the back. Quiet and intimate, Café Severino serves traditional Brazilian pastries and savory treats, while the bookshop has a reputation for hosting book launches and talks by many of Rio’s local authors.
A true Leblon institution is Pizza Guanabara. Open from 11AM-5AM, the restaurant is a favorite hangout of party-goers, nightowls, artists and actors. With a relaxed and egalitarian atmosphere, and fair prices for the area, Pizza Guanabara is a must for those wanting to see the more bohemian side of Leblon while enjoying a tasty midnight snack.
For those looking to dance into the early hours, Yndú Lounge is an up-and-coming venue that plays chilled-out dance music to a hip but friendly crowd until 3AM. For a busy up-market bar scene try Belmonte or a slightly more relaxed local favorite Jobi.
Though Leblon has a reputation for being a particularly safe neighborhood, it hasn’t been immune from the problems of crime that have been plaguing much of the city in recent years, especially when it comes to pedestrian robberies.
However, the sense of community is strong in Leblon, and local residents and businesses have teamed up in an effort to stamp out a recent rise in robberies. Despite this recent trend of increased crime, Leblon remains one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.
To buy an apartment in Leblon, R$20,000 per square meter is still the rule of thumb. However, right now there are apartments on offer for significantly under this price, located in prime areas of the neighborhood.
For example, a two-bedroom, 80m² apartment located on the highly desirable Rua Dias Ferrera can be found for R$1,495,000 – making it worth around R$18,500 per square meter, before taxes. On the western edge of Leblon, on Rua Sambaíba, a 65m² two-bedroom apartment can be picked up for R$890,000.
Renting in Leblon is also getting cheaper than it was three years ago, down from R$67 per square meter to around R$60.
Again, those willing to be flexible about location and size will find many surprisingly reasonable apartments on offer.
The relatively reasonable amount of R$2,800 per month will get a 90m² two-bedroom apartment located on Rua Timóteo da Costa, complete with two parking spaces.