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Brazil: it’s your time to shine

October 24, 2012Article by Ray Withers

A British treasure, one of the most well-known travellers in the world, Michael Palin was and still remains an inspiration.

Not only an integral cog in the Monty Python comedy genius machine, Palin brought the wonders of the world right into my living room as a child and now, with his new series, Brazil with Michael Palin which starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm, my own children can delight in his tales of discovery and adventure.

Having travelled the world for 25 years, it’s surprised me that Palin hasn’t made it to Brazilian shores before now. The fifth largest country in the world, by sheer geographic probability he should have discovered the sun, sea and samba that this magnificent country in known for but alas no. I have been lucky enough to visit Brazil a number of times in my working life and as there aren’t many things I can beat Michael Palin at, it’s a good feeling to know that I can on this!

As Palin discovers in his new series, Brazil is a land of contrasts from the vibrant nightlife in Rio de Janeiro to the cosmopolitan buzz of the capital Brasilia, the unspoiled coastline of the north east and the verdant interior of the mighty Amazon. I can’t admit to having seen all of Brazil, that would entail a lifetime of travel in its own right but the areas I have explored, predominantly the north east provinces and Natal, known as the “City of the Sun”, have stunned me in their beauty and friendliness.

Aside from Brazil’s undisputable beauty, the Latin American powerhouse and BRIC nation has undergone an economic and cultural transformation in recent years. Now the world’s 6th largest economy having overtaken the UK, Brazil is an economic force to be reckoned with. Of a population of 190 million, 95 million are now middle-class with a seemingly insatiable appetite for consumerism.

Previously unavailable credit streams are now enabling Brazilians to achieve lifelong ambitions of owning their own homes which has led to a boom in the real estate market. Not only has the Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House, My Life) public housing campaign started in 2009 enabled millions to gain access to social housing, the increasingly affluent middle classes are buying private freehold properties at an unheard of rate.

This is especially true in the north east states such as Rio Grande do Norte in which the commercial hub, Natal lies. We at Property Frontiers have seen ourselves the sheer demand for urban western style property in this city with past projects such as Edificio Dr Geraldo Furtado and Golden Fields selling very quickly to both local Brazilians and international buy-to-let investors alike.

As one client who invested in Brazil, Paul Chan based in Hong Kong, said, “I started looking at other global destinations, markets which seemed safe bets and had the potential for future growth. Brazil stood out for me as an attractive investment opportunity, the next China, and so I started doing some research.”

Having purchased a 3 bedroom apartment at Dr Geraldo, Paul is very much looking forward to not only renting the property to the local market but also using it himself, taking his brothers to the FIFA World Cup in 2014 as part of which Natal will be hosting some games.

As Michael Palin says, “Brazil, your time has come” and having tracked his market for some years now with interest, I fully agree. The magic investment recipe is there – high demand, low supply, relatively low land and build costs and local access to finance.

Therefore with that in mind, I am currently undertaking insight into a number of projects in and around the Natal area. There have indeed been numerous developers and agents attracted to the potential of this city but as ever, we believe that it pays to be fussy and so are applying the strictest due diligence to ensure that the next Brazilian project we present to our clients enables us to live up to our reputation as the Best Global Estate Agency (OPP Awards of Excellence 2012).

If you would like to know more about our upcoming Brazilian project then contact me today on +44 (0) 1865 202 700.

And don’t forget to tune in to Brazil with Michael Palin tonight at 9pm on BBC1. My spot on the sofa is already reserved!


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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