São Paulo is the financial centre of Brazil and the capital of the country’s wealthiest state. Home to 20 million people, it is also one of the most populous cities in the world. This naturally makes São Paulo a hotspot for international property investors.
No trip to Brazil would be complete without experiencing São Paulo, an energetic and exuberant metropolis with more high-rises than New York.
Each experience of this vast and varied city is unique, meaning traditional tourists must forget what they know. You won’t spend your time here touring landmarks and iconic sites, but instead must dive into the diverse depths of São Paulo – navigating an amalgam of skyscrapers and Neo-Gothic architecture, uncovering local hangouts, meeting paulistanos, spying vibrant street art, and falling upon the best places to eat in the city.
A star in Latin America, many visitors settle on São Paulo as an ideal place to live or invest. We explore the draws of the dynamic São Paulo, Brazil.
Brazil boasts one of the largest economies on the planet thanks to its rich store of natural resources, including oil, timber, minerals, and agricultural products. It is an agricultural giant, supplying 10% of the world’s food, and the industry accounts for around a quarter of the country’s total GDP.
Often dubbed the “Locomotive of Brazil”, São Paulo is responsible for 40% of the country’s GDP, and 55% of Venture Capital Firms in Brazil are located in the city. With this, São Paulo represents a stable and growing market – with high demand for housing and a large working population of tenants.
From bustling cities and heavenly beaches to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is a vast and varied country, offering diverse experiences for travellers. Over 6 million people visit the country every year, with 2.7 million tourists travelling to Brazil in the first four months of 2023.
As Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo serves up a vibrant mix of nationalities and cultures. Large Portuguese, Italian and Arab communities call the city their home, as does the largest Japanese population outside of Japan.
Naturally, this multiculturalism flows through the city’s thriving music, art, and culinary scenes. São Paulo boasts many of Brazil’s best chefs and most fascinating museums, along with beautiful parks, theatres, festivals, and other attractions. With endless things to see and do, it is unsurprising that São Paulo is one of the most visited cities in the country, with tourist spending totalling an immense $99 billion in 2022.
Connectivity in São Paulo
The city is highly accessible thanks to Guarulhos International Airport, which lies around 25 kilometres from central São Paulo and offers flights to a vast number of international destinations.
Guarulhos is the busiest airport in the country, registering around 40 million passengers annually, and 23 million passengers in the first half of 2023. The city is on track to set new records in visitor numbers as a growing number of people land on São Paulo as the ideal place to live, visit and invest.
How to get there
The road along the coast from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo makes for a scenic road trip, taking around two to three days.
São Paulo is the largest statewide road transportation system in Brazil. A $480 million project is underway to develop the state’s highways, making them smarter, more sustainable, and more efficient.
The São Paulo Metropolitan Train comprises over 90 stations and transports approximately 3 million passengers every day.
By 2030, a high-speed train is expected to connect Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with intermediate stations at São José dos Campos and Volta Redonda.
Brazil’s busiest airport, Guarulhos International Airport, lies around 25km northeast of São Paulo and offers connections to a wide range of international destinations.
Located around 1.5 hours from central São Paulo, the Port of Santos is the largest port in Latin America and is a popular destination on many South American cruises. It is also the country’s most important foreign trade route.
Due to its subtropical climate, São Paulo experiences high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. That said, the city enjoys a more temperate climate than other parts of Brazil due to its elevation.
The warmest months are January through March, with average temperatures ranging between 19°C and 28°C. January also experiences the highest level of rainfall.
June to September is the coldest and driest season, with minimum temperatures of around 13°C in July. This is the most comfortable time to visit the city.
As one of the world’s strongest economies, Brazil is a stable and secure place to invest. This is particularly the case in the established São Paulo, the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere and Brazil’s burgeoning financial centre. The country is set for substantial growth over the next twenty years, with São Paulo leading the way.
More and more expatriates are landing on Brazil as their chosen destination. With its warm climate, strong infrastructure, and affordable prices, it is a great place to live and retire. Moreover, São Paulo is the most multicultural city in Brazil, if not the whole of South America, making it a very desirable location for expats.
The cost of living per person in Brazil is 3 times lower than it is in the U.S. Because of this, many buyers head here in search of a high quality of life for a lower cost. And São Paulo can certainly offer this. Consumer prices are around 160% higher in Miami and London – yet, in Brazil’s wealthiest city, high-quality amenities are never far away.
As a major city, São Paulo has a well-developed healthcare system, and foreigners are entitled to free public healthcare. There are also many private hospitals in the city offering high quality services. In terms of education, São Paulo has one of the largest school systems in Latin America, with a range of excellent international schools to choose from.
On the other hand, São Paulo represents an excellent market for short-term let investments. Being one of the most visited cities in Brazil, there is a strong year-round demand for holiday lets. Moreover, the city’s affordable property prices open doors to attractive rental yields. The average price of a city centre apartment in the U.S. is nearly three times more expensive than in Brazil. This remains the case in São Paulo despite it being one of the country’s most expensive markets.
Brazil entered 2023 with the largest year-on-year increases in house price growth since 2014. The median sale price per square foot increased by 17.2% in the year to August 2023, according to Redfin. In the year to November 2022, São Paulo home prices increased at almost twice the rate of those in other major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.
In addition to the usual drivers, a devalued currency is making the Brazilian market all the more attractive. The Brazilian Real has neared a 20-year low vs. USD/EUR/GBP, meaning foreign investors can get a lot more for their money. With demand rising and property prices on the up, this opens up opportunities to attractive long-term returns on your investment.