(TODAY BRAZIL) RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Rents in Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup are priced to match international soccer stars’ million-dollar salaries.

The monthly rent of a penthouse apartment a block from Ipanema beach is R$45,000 (US$19,462) during the World Cup. (Courtesy of Tânia Rêgo/Abr)
The monthly rent of a penthouse apartment a block from Ipanema beach is R$45,000 (US$19,462) during the World Cup. (Courtesy of Tânia Rêgo/Abr)

What about a penthouse apartment – complete with two bedrooms, a Jacuzzi and barbeque area – that’s a block from Ipanema beach? The monthly rent is R$45,000 (US$19,462) for June or July.

“We rent properties like this one to wealthy foreigners and companies. That said, even though they have the money, everyone is complaining about the prices in Rio,” said real estate broker João Roberto de Carvalho, who works exclusively with high-end real estate rentals.

Those looking to spend less can opt for a two-bedroom apartment in Flamengo, a neighborhood close to the downtown area, for about R$22,000 (US$9,515) a month, or R$1,200 (US$519) a night.

The same problem exists in all 12 host cities for the World Cup. However, all hotel rooms in Rio de Janeiro are close to being sold out, according to the Union of Hotels, Bars and Restaurants of Rio de Janeiro.

The option to rent houses, apartments and rooms in private residences has been attracting increasing attention. But it isn’t cheap.

A room at Hotel Challon (two stars) in the downtown neighborhood of Santa Teresa costs between US$490 and US$600 a night during the World Cup. Once the event is over, the price drops to US$130 per night, according to the website Booking.com.

The Varandas do Vidigal hostel in the Vidigal favela is offering a bed in a room shared by 12 people for R$5,300 (US$2,292) for the duration of World Cup, which is five times the price during the offseason.

The website Airbnb.com.br, a leader in the short-term rentals of rooms and properties, has already registered the arrival of foreigners from more than 70 countries for the World Cup.

“The rents are increasing daily. There are basically no more good rooms left in the city,” said Christian Gessner, the website’s general manager in Brazil.

Many property owners in Rio see the World Cup as a business opportunity, said Eduardo Serrado, the CEO of the website HouseinRio.com.

“Cariocas (the nickname given to Rio residents) are open to this form of rental, which is much more common in Europe and the United States. It’s great for the city,” he said.

Serrado often needs to provide guidance to property owners because most are renting for the first time.

“We provided a tutorial on our website and offer guidance when the rent is outside the curve,” he added. “There are a lot of people who are charging 50% more than the offseason rate. I believe that 30% to 40% is more reasonable.”

Film producer Fernanda Chassim, 36, is renting her one-room loft that overlooks Leme Beach in the South Zone for about US$350 per night.

“I still don’t know where I will go sleep when the property is rented,” she said.

Another interesting phenomenon is the number of foreigners buying investment properties in Rio, according to Carvalho.

Andrew Allan and Stephen Pike, both from England, bought a plot of land in Recreio dos Bandeirantes in the West Zone, and created World Cup Camping, a campsite for soccer fans. It has space for up to 800 people and the daily rate is US$58 a person. It will be open from June 8 to July 15.

“It’s impossible to get a bed in the city for less than that,” said Allan, who has lived in Brazil for 10 years.

With the growth of alternative accommodations in Brazil, the websites that serve as intermediaries for short-term rentals also are growing. The team behind HouseinRio.com, which was founded during Rio+20, has doubled in size since 2012.

“We have 1,700 properties listed for the World Cup alone,” Serrado said.

Airbnb.com.br arrived in Brazil in 2012 with an aim at major events, such as the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. It now has more than 20,000 listings in 20 states and 670 cities.

The lack of tourist accommodations in Rio de Janeiro is not a cause for concern, said Jair Galvão, the coordinator of products and services for the Ministry of Tourism.

“The city already has shown that it’s prepared for major events: Just look at World Youth Day and Rio+20,” Galvão Said.

For the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, the Ministry of Tourism has identified 98,000 hotel beds (11,000 of which were added especially for the tournament), 22,000 alternative accommodation rooms (hostels, B&Bs, motels and campsites) and 55,000 accommodations in neighboring cities.

“When we compare the number of beds with the number of tickets sold for the city’s matches, we can see that Rio is well covered – and that doesn’t even take into account the short-term rentals that aren’t part of the Ministry of Tourism’s calculations,” Galvão said.


Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.