Accommodation in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo has a range of accommodation availableFor those facing the exciting prospect of moving to Sao Paulo, one of the biggest and most daunting challenges will be finding accommodation in this bustling metropolis.

Being a megacity, there is plenty of property being built to accommodate its ever-expanding population. Regardless of whether expats intend on renting or buying accommodation in Sao Paulo, it is definitely worth becoming familiar with the property market in the city, as expats are likely to find that there are considerable differences to what they are used to in their home country.

Types of accommodation in Sao Paulo


Most expats moving to Sao Paulo opt to rent property rather than buy a home because they only plan on staying in Brazil temporarily. Generally, most rental accommodation in Sao Paulo is unfurnished. However, with greater numbers of expats moving to the city, the demand for safe, comfortable and fully furnished accommodation has increased and real estate agents have started catering for the needs of the international community.

There are various types of accommodation to choose from in the city. In general, the standard of accommodation is very good, especially in newly-built properties. The type of housing an expat chooses to go for will ultimately depend on their individual requirements. Common accommodation options that are popular amongst expats in Sao Paulo include:

  • Predios: These are 10 to 30 storey buildings which are found in central areas of Sao Paulo and are full of furnished apartments. Space is limited but these complexes have good facilities and security. Predios are particularly popular among young professionals who are looking for comfortable accommodation that is centrally located.

  • Condominios: These are fenced-off housing blocks that come equipped with shared facilities such as a communal swimming pool, gym and outdoor areas. They are usually found in upper- and middle-class parts of Sao Paulo and are popular with expat families who prioritise safety and space for their children.

  • Single family houses: These are a rarity in central Sao Paulo but can be found in the suburbs. These houses often have their own swimming pool and barbeque area. They tend to be popular with expats who have decided to settle in Brazil on a more long-term basis and buy property.

Finding accommodation in Sao Paulo

The cost of living in Sao Paulo is high and expats moving to the megacity often struggle to find suitable accommodation for a reasonable price. Many companies arrange housing for their workers which makes the relocation process far more straightforward. Sao Paulo has a good supply of vacation and short-term rental properties and many new arrivals find that these are good options for temporary accommodation while they look for more ideal and permanent accommodation.

Expats relocating to Sao Paulo can use the internet to familiarise themselves with the type of accommodation available and the city’s neighbourhoods. The classified sections of local newspapers can also be a good source of information. However, expats will learn that much of the best property is never formally advertised.

Expats, most of whom are unfamiliar with Sao Paulo, find that their best bet is usually to work with a real estate agent to find the ideal home. Estate agents in Sao Paulo have extensive knowledge about the areas and suburbs of the city and are better placed to source suitable housing that meets the needs of each individual. Furthermore, real estate agents often have knowledge about potential property before it even makes it onto the market.

Those who are willing to do a little more hard work and bypass the fees charged by real estate agents can drive around neighbourhoods they like and spot rental signs displayed in apartment windows or attached to the front gate of a house. It may also be worthwhile to ask around at work or among acquaintances as many of the best deals travel by word-of-mouth.

Renting accommodation in Sao Paulo

To rent property in Sao Paulo expats will need to provide a number of documents including proof of income and copies of their passport and work permit. Those without a formal or sufficient income, such as retirees or students, will need to find someone to act as a guarantor, or fiadores. Furthermore, all documents must be certified.


Utilities in Sao Paulo

When it comes to essential services in Brazil such as electricity, water and gas, expats should be aware that the situation in Sao Paulo is likely to differ quite markedly from the situation in their home country.

Unless they are renting a fully furnished and serviced apartment in Sao Paulo, it is likely that the tenant will be responsible for contacting utility suppliers and having their services connected. Expats who have enlisted the help of a real estate agent will find that they have the expertise to assist when it comes to utility providers. In some cases, the administration department of a particular apartment building or housing complex will help new tenants get connected.

Electricity supply in Brazil is run on a state basis and the company serving the Sao Paulo metropolitan region is called AES Eletropaulo. When it comes to gas supply in Brazil, it does not run off a mains system but is instead sold in tanks by private companies. The biggest of these companies are Ultragaz and Liquigas.

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