Where the cleverest of sun-seekers are heading

IN 2012, Brazil will host the World Cup and in 2016, the Olympics. The north-eastern city of Natal, where some of the games will be hosted, is to complete the first phase of the world’s sixth biggest airport in 2012, making direct flights to London possible. Known as the city of sun, Natal has 360 days of sun a year, with an average temperature of 28 degrees.

Then there’s Brazil’s GDP, which grew an impressive 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year and 1.2 in the second, exceeding the forecast 0.6 per cent. It has a low budget deficit too, making it one of the most stable countries in Latin America, and is the world’s largest exporter of orange juice, beef, sugar and coffee and a leading exporter of aircraft, iron ore and footwear. In short, the Brazilian economy is booming – GDP?is forecast to grow by 7.1 percent this year according to the IMF – and the property market is set to join its trajectory.

Brazil’s charms as a holiday destination are well-known, but since the country has entered a new phase of growth, investment there has never looked so good. As Charl Ackerman, of estate agents Aylesford International, puts it: “Why wouldn’t you invest in Brazil?”

Predicted huge returns are driving companies like Aylesford into the market, where money is being ploughed into beautiful seaside developments mainly in the north-east that are often better and – for now – cheaper than those of the Caribbean.

Currently less than 15 per cent of the property market is mortgaged and as things stand, home loans for foreign buyers are not to be had. On the plus side, this has made the market stable. On the downside, it limits your choice to developments where you enter a rental pool, and buying homes outright. This is set to change, though, with local developers lobbying hard for ready loans. Brazil’s property market needs foreign investment to grow and given that the country is realising this, it won’t be long until it takes off.