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As prices stabilize across the country, Rio de Janeiro cements its position as the most desirable and prestigious Brazilian real estate address, with areas like Ipanema and Leblon joining the ranks of other top international destinations such as New York, Paris and Shanghai. Recent statistics published in O Globo show that a luxury real estate in Rio can fetch as much as twice as high-end offerings in Sao Paulo, and that Brazil is living up to its reputation as an emerging market powerhouse with prices per square meter in Ipanema on par with the chicest of neighbourhood in Shanghai, Pudong.

So what is it that makes Rio so desirable?

´The Rio real estate market, has much more in common with places like New York and London than with any other Brazilian or Latin American city,´ according to David Seale, Managing Director of Rio-based boutique real estate brokerage InTown Property. `Rio, attracts investors and homebuyers not only from the region and other parts of Brazil, but also internationally.

Luigi Gaino Martins of Lopes Rio real estate company agrees. ´Ipanema beach has become a status symbol. This is not a typical real estate market, this is a luxury property market. If you want to buy a good property, you need to search hard, and pay for the privilege.´

Other factors feed into the high real estate prices being achieved in Rio. Alongside being one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations, there are relatively few properties to cater to a high level of demand. Fundamental changes such as increased security and economic development have built upon Rio’s eternal natural beauty and attractive outdoor lifestyle to draw an increasing number of Brazilians from across the country, now combined with an international market lead by Chinese, Italian and French investors. While Sao Paulo’s size has allowed for new exclusive neighborhoods to develop over time, Rio’s Zona Sul is hemmed in by the beach, mountains and lake and available land is limited. Often referred to as the Manhattan of Brazil for topping the list of the country’s most expensive properties per m2, Rio’s Zona Sul now matches property prices in Shanghai’s most expensive neighborhoods, defining its position as one of the international real estate markets top spots. As demand increases, both Brazilian and international investors are increasingly turning to local experts, such as Intown Group, to find the run-down properties in a prime locations that can still be bought at competitive prices and are ripe for renovation, rather than buying the pre-designed penthouses of the past.