House hunt in Brazil: a 19th century house on the coast

This two-story colonial-style house with a courtyard and ocean and mountain views is in the historic colonial center of Paraty, one of the best-preserved towns on Brazil’s Costa Verde.

The 6,997 square foot, four bedroom house was built between 1860 and 1870 on land once owned by Pedro de Alcântara d’Orléans-Bragança, second after the Imperial throne of Brazil. But it collapsed in the middle of the 20th century, said Guilherme Makansi, co-owner of Anglo Americana Imóveis, who shares the list with a local partner, imóvel F.

With government permission, the property was restored in the 1970s by a previous owner with particular attention to the Portuguese colonial period, Mr Makansi said. River stones and double-fired ceramic bricks were used to reconstruct it, along with traditional colonial tiles and hardwoods from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, such as peroba rosa, ipe and angico.

Six colonial-style balconies have been fashioned with wrought-iron filigrees and hanging lamps, and 24 decorative ceramic and copper pineapples punctuate the exterior of the house. Striking geometric symbols painted blue on the exterior reflect a tradition in Paraty to adorn homes in recognition of the large community of Freemasons residing in the area during colonial times. The exotic doors with curved and pointed frames come from the former Portuguese colony of Macau.

“This restoration process has brought back the original features of the colonial period of Brazil,” said Mr. Makansi. “All the furniture in the house is included in the asking price, and these pieces were all purchased from antique shops and evoke the Brazilian colonial period.”

The front door, painted in bright blue, opens into the living room with stone walls, 15-foot ceilings and heavy beamed ceilings. The bedroom has natural polished local river stone floors and arched windows with decorative middle posts and blue painted interior shutters. A large dining room with tall windows facing the courtyard is to the right, as well as a kitchen with red and white painted hardwood cabinetry and black granite countertops. The other rooms on the ground floor include a pantry, an office, a reading room, a sewing room, a gym, a steam sauna, a laundry room and a workshop.

A stone staircase with wooden banister winds from the living room to the second floor. Three bedrooms have a private bathroom, built-in wooden wardrobes, balconies with interior shutters and reversible air conditioning.

Large doors from the living room lead to the 1,615 square foot covered lanai, furnished for dining and lounging. The swimming pool is surrounded by São Tomé stones and a lawn, as well as tropical plants.

The house is located on a 0.2 acre corner lot, surrounded by streets paved with large uneven cobblestones called “pés-de-moleque”. The center of Paraty is closed to automobile traffic, Makansi said. The house is about a block from the Atlantic coast and has a security system with eight cameras.

The coastal city of Paraty, with around 43,000 residents, sits roughly equidistant between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, each about a four-hour drive, and is known to tourists as a former Portuguese colonial and Brazilian imperial center. well preserved. It sits in a naturally green area bordering the Atlantic Ocean known as the Costa Verde; in 2019, the city was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site for its natural and cultural landscape. The historic center has retained much of its colonial architecture from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Paraty is surrounded by many protected sections of the Atlantic Forest, such as the Serra da Bocaina National Park and the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area. The nearest international airports are Rio de Janeiro-Galeao and Santos Dumont Airports, both approximately 150 miles east of Paraty, and São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport, approximately 150 miles west. .

After facing a severe recession in 2015 and 2016 that significantly hampered real estate sales and development activities, the Brazilian real estate market entered a period of slow recovery, which accelerated during the global coronavirus pandemic, has said Danilo Igliori, chief economist of ZAP +, which maintains the FipeZAP index, the main source of real estate information in Brazil.

“Even before the pandemic broke, we started to see an acceleration in real estate activity,” Igliori said. “Now the pandemic has produced a huge impact on housing markets on the positive side.”

According to the FipeZAP index, the average price of apartments in 50 Brazilian cities monitored in October was 7,799 reals per square meter ($ 129 per square foot), which represents an increase of 5.18% since the start of the year. year. Between around 2016 and the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Brazil experienced price growth of between 1% and -1% each year.

While the pandemic has spurred some of the same phenomena seen in other countries – buyers seeking larger properties and moving from city centers to suburbs or countryside – much of the impetus behind sales housing amid the pandemic is Brazil’s historically low interest rates, which have been a “major booster,” Igliori said.

As a result, the value of mortgages doubled from September 2019 to September 2021, he said. Today, interest rates are being raised again and this maneuver, combined with rising inflation, which has pushed up construction costs, and negative forecasts by economists, could take the Brazilian real estate market out of breath, said Mr. Igliori.

Yet foreign homebuyers continue to benefit from the weakness of the Brazilian currency, said Renata Victorino, associate director at Bossa Nova Sotheby’s International Realty.

“With the real strongly devalued against the dollar, buying a real estate asset in Brazil can be very attractive,” she said. For this reason, in parallel with the pandemic, “the prices of luxury ads have increased significantly and are not expected to fall.”

Edmond van Wijngaarden, CEO and founder of Exclusive Realty Brasil, said that before the pandemic, around 40% of buyers of second homes in prime locations were foreigners. “After the pandemic,” he said, “only around 20% are foreign buyers, but the overall sales volume has skyrocketed as people seek to move away from crowded city centers to the exclusive real estate markets of the Brazilian coast “.

Mr Wijngaarden said a 5,000 square foot villa on 10,000 square feet of land in an upscale gated community in one of the resort towns in southern Bahia could sell for around 1.5 million. dollars. For around $ 5 million, a buyer can purchase an 8,000 square foot tropical yet contemporary villa on 100,000 square feet of land with 300 feet of private beach, he said.

While foreigners visit big cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro for business purposes and tend to shop there, there is also a lot of interest in tourist areas, such as the beach areas of Rio de Janeiro. , which include Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Búzios, said Ms. Victorino.

International buyers have also shown interest in northeastern Brazil, such as Trancoso and the southern state of Bahía, and southern regions, such as Balneário de Camboriú, she said.

Mike Smith, director of Natal-based Brazil Beach House, said his business has had an “exceptional year” for high-end beach house transactions throughout Brazil, particularly in the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Bahia and Rio. Great North do.

“The buyers are 50% Brazilian and 50% international,” he said, the foreigners being “French, American, Canadian, Middle Eastern, Hungarian, Chinese, Austrian and Swiss”.

Many foreign buyers have ties to Brazil, said Van Wijngaarden: “Either they run or ran a Brazilian operation for an international company and have fallen in love with the country, or they own a business in Brazil, or they are married. . to a Brazilian.

There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Brazil, with a few exceptions, such as buying large tracts of rural land, Smith said.

Notaries typically handle real estate transactions, which can cost around 3 or 4 percent of the sale price, but can vary state to state, said Izi Grinberg, international director at Bossa Nova Sotheby’s.

About half of Brazil Beach House’s foreign clients use a Brazilian lawyer; the fees range from around $ 2,000 to 5% of the transaction value, Smith said. While houses can generally be listed in Brazilian reals, “buyers pay in foreign currency, and the amount is then converted into Brazilian reals on arrival,” he said.

Closing costs typically range between 3% and 5% of the home’s selling price, depending on the state, Mr. Grinberg said.

Portuguese; Brazilian real (1 real = $ 0.18)

The annual property taxes on this house are 8,777 reals ($ 1,560), Mr. Makansi said.

Guilherme Makansi, Anglo Americana Imóveis, 011-55-1-3887-4555,

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