Brazil Property Guide: Fact Sheet

Basic numbers General Size ( 8,511,965 Population: 191.9 million (Jul 2008 est.) Population: Growth +0.98% (2008 est.) Economy Inflation: 4.1% (2007 est.) GDP (nominal): US$1.838 trillion (2007 est.) …

Basic numbers

  • General Size ( 8,511,965
  • Population: 191.9 million (Jul 2008 est.)
  • Population: Growth +0.98% (2008 est.)
  • Economy Inflation: 4.1% (2007 est.)
  • GDP (nominal): US$1.838 trillion (2007 est.)
  • GDP growth: 4.5% (2007 est.)
  • GDP per capita: US$9,700 (2007 est.)
  • Property Ownership Rights: 50% on Heritage Foundation Index of Property Rights Freedoms
  • Transaction Costs:
    • Buying: 6.59%
    • Selling: 5.00%-6.00%
  • Taxes
    • Income Tax on rent received: 15%
    • Capital Gains Tax: 15% (some exemptions apply)
    • VAT on property transactions: 3.5%

Property Market Features


  • Low property prices
  • A safe legal framework with few restrictions on property ownership by foreign nationals
  • Politically and economically stable
  • Huge government spending on developing tourism and infrastructure throughout the country including investment prior to the 2014 World Cup


  • No local mortgages available to overseas buyers
  • Minimum 7-8 hour flight from Europe
  • Corruption in some quarters

Country Overview

  • Currency: Real (BRL)
  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Major Cities, ordered by population size:
  1. Sao Paulo
  2. Rio de Janeiro
  3. Salvador
  4. Fortaleza
  5. Belo Horizonte
  6. Brasilia
  7. Curitiba
  8. Manaus
  9. Recife
  10. Porto Alegre


Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world. It is located in the northeast of South America and shares borders with all other continental South American countries apart from Ecuador and Chile. The Brazilian coastline stretches 7,491 km along the Atlantic Ocean to the east and there are numerous archipelagos offshore included within the Brazilian territory. Brazil has five distinct climatic regions—equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical and subtropical—each with its own distinct weather conditions.

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Brazil is a federal democratic republic with an elected President who acts both as Head of State and Head of Government. The federation is sub-divided into States, Municipalities and the Federal District. The Brazilian constitution (introduced in 1988) establishes the classic three-way division of power between executive, legislative and judicial branches of government with formal checks and balances in place. Brazil employs a system of proportional representation and voting is compulsory for those aged over 18 (with the exception of those who are illiterate).

According to the Heritage Foundation: “Brazil suffers from a highly inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy” and “significant restrictions on foreign capital exist in a wide variety of sectors.” However, Brazil is recognised internationally for its political stability and has distanced itself from the populist discourse of other South American countries.


  • Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.1% (2007 est.)
  • GDP (official exchange rate): $1.269 trillion (2007 est.)
  • GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.838 trillion (2007 est.)
  • GDP (real) growth rate: 4.5% (2007 est.)

Brazil has the largest economy in South America and the 11th largest economy in the world, according to the Economist. Brazil has a diversified economy with large agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors. Most heavy industry is concentrated in the south of the country and the mainly agricultural northeast is currently the poorest part of Brazil (although the north east is now attracting significant investment for tourism and agricultural projects).

Since 2004, Brazil has enjoyed sustained economic growth based around floating exchange rates, tight fiscal policy and anti-inflationary policies. Major exports include coffee, cars, soya beans, iron ore, steel, textiles, electrical equipment and ethanol. Brazil is a core member of both G20 industrial nations and G20 developing nations. The country has very strong prospects based on its abundance of labor, land and resources. Tourism is projected to boom on the country’s beautiful north-eastern coast, and many observers believe that Brazil is uniquely poised to cash in on any future boom in eco-fuels.

The country recently (May 2008) achieved an “Investment Grade” rating that will open it up to even greater foreign investment. However, significant economic problems remain—in particular Brazil’s inefficient and unwieldy public bureaucracy and related high levels of public debt, as well as the ongoing challenge of reducing high levels of unemployment.

Legal system

Brazil has a legal system based on Roman codes. The country has not yet accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction. The judiciary is independent but the Heritage Foundation comments that, “The judicial system is inefficient and subject to corruption, as are other areas of the public sector.” However, the Heritage Foundation goes on to say that, “Contracts are generally considered secure, but it is important to specify the jurisdiction for any disputes.”


With over 191 million inhabitants (2008 estimate), Brazil is the most populous country in South America and the fifth most populous country in the world. The population tends to be concentrated along Brazil’s coast and in large, urban areas in particular. Inland, population density is extremely low. Brazil is a multi-ethnic country, composed of Amerindian, European, African and Asian elements. Many Brazilians have a mixed ethnic background rather than there being distinct ethnic communities.

Brazil’s official language is Portuguese and it is the only Portuguese-speaking country in all the Americas. It is generally free from inter-community social tensions and is recognised as one of the most tolerant and open countries in terms of cultural differences.

Country ratings

  • IPRI Property Rights Rank (0-10): 4.5, ranked 42nd in the world (2007)
  • Economist Intelligence Unit Quality of Life Index (1-10): 6.470, ranked 39th in the world (2005)
  • Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom: 55.9%, ranked 101st in the world (2008)
  • Heritage Foundation Index of Property Rights Freedom: 50% (2008)

Other Brazil property guides:

  • For information on Brazil’s property law and markets, view our Brazil Property Guide: Key Facts and Markets
  • For information on the purchase process and financing, see the Buying and Financing Guide.
  • For information on maintaining and profiting from your investment, see the Owning and Selling Guide.

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