House hunting is never easy… It’s even trickier in a city the size of Sao Paulo, plagued with problems of violence, flooding, noise, pollution etc. Choosing the right place to live is essential to having a pleasant and safe stay in Brazil. Also, rent can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood and condition of the building but in general the going rates can vary between R$2000 to R$3,000 for a one or two bedroom apartment and R$3,000 to R$5,000 for three or more bedrooms. If you need a temporary place to stay while searching for your ideal apartment we recommend you check out Trivago.

Before choosing a place to stay you should consider the following questions.

What’s your budget?

Your budget will obviously influence how and where you will live. Make sure you fully understand all the costs involved, including monthly maintenance fees (condominium) for apartments, and taxes (IPTU) and insurance for houses.

Which is the best location for you?

Take into account the location of your office as well as your children‘s schools. Also take into account noise factors, danger, flooding during the rainy season etc.

What facilities do you require?

Consider things like whether there‘s a supermarket or park nearby, or whether you need your new home to come with a pool or gym. If you drive, make sure your parking needs are met.

What kind of public transport is available?

If you don‘t drive, you may want to check out the distance from the house to a subway station, or the availability of buses.

Here is a brief description of some of the main neighborhoods in Sao Paulo

Itaim Bibi

This is one of the city’s fastest growing regions in terms of commercial buildings, bars and restaurants, but despite this, or maybe because of this, the neighborhood is not so popular with the foreign community, due to problems with traffic congestion, noise and pollution. The region’s large number of bars, restaurants and night clubs make it ideal for night owls but unsuitable for families.

Aclimacao

One of Sao Paulo’s smaller neighborhoods, with less than 3 square kilometers, Aclimacao is centrally located, around the subway stations of Paraiso and Ana Rosa, while at the same time relatively calm and quiet. Despite these attractions, however, the neighborhood has not attracted a strong foreign presence up to now, probably due to the run-down appearance of many of its streets. The neighborhood’s main attraction is Aclimacao park, which provides a welcome break from the surrounding mass of concrete and pollution.

Brooklin

Located in the south of the city between Av. Nacoes Unidas, Santo Amaro, Bandeirantes and Roque Petroni Junior, Brooklin is a middle to upper-middle class neighborhood. It is popular among the foreign community and has a large German influence. The region has good commercial infra-structure and contains a ample green spaces, making it popular among pet owners.The region is mostly residential, with a mixture of houses and apartment blocks, but the area around Agua Espraida close to the Buraco Quente favela, should be avoided for safety reasons.

Cerqueira Cesar

This is another small neighborhood, just over 2 square kilometers, but is ideally located between Al. Casa Branca, Rua da Consolacao, Estados Unidos and Antonia de Queiroz.

Due to its proximity to Av. Paulista it is a popular region among short term visitors to the city, who have a large selection of hotels and serviced apartments to choose from. The neighborhood has a good commercial infrastructure with the main attractions being Oscar Freire, Haddock Lobo, Bela Cintra and Al. Lorena, the city`s fashion center. There is also a large variety of bars and restaurants to choose from and good public transport facilities including the subway. The main problems are traffic, pollution and noise.

Ibirapuera

While there is no neighborhood called Ibirapuera, the park has such a dominating presence that many apartments and houses in the region are advertised using it as a reference point. Ibirapuera is a very popular location for foreigners, mainly because of the park`s lure, but also due to the growth of the office space in nearby Itaim. Another advantage is the proximity to the domestic airport of Congonhas as well as the city’s largest shopping center, Ibirapuera. Some of the problems though are heavy traffic and poor public transport.

Moema

Moema, like Brooklin and Ibirapuera, is another favorite among the foreign community due to its ample green area and relatively quiet streets. This middle class neighborhood has good commercial infrastructure with lots of bars and restaurants and is relatively safe, but car theft is not uncommon, especially in the vicinity of the bars at night.

Morumbi

One of Sao Paulo’s best examples of social inequallity, Morumbi has a sharp contrast of extremely rich and extremely poor. It is not uncommon to witness large protected mansions surrounded by slum areas. The neighborhood is predominantly residential, but traffic across the marginal to the main part of the city can be a problem particulary at peak time. The neighborhood’s two main parks, Alfredo Volpi and Burle Marx, provide an ample green space of over 280,000 square meters. Most of the region’s commerce is located along Av. Giovanni Gronchi, which also has the American Graded school. The region also houses the state government palace as well as the city’s top hospial Albert Einstein.

Santa Cecilia

Santa Cecilia’s main attraction is its charm, with many old style churches and buildings, but it has not been a popular destination among foreigners due to the run-down and gaudy state of many of its streets. Despite its central location, the high number of homeless people sleeping on the streets, has made the region less attractive and diminished property values. The noise and pollution are other negative factors. The neighborhood does have some lively bars and restaurants though and for those with an urban spirit who don’t mind the problems cited above apartments can be considered good value. A 100 square meter apartment, for example, can cost only R$500 a month, depending on the location, but will rarely have any luxury items such as swimming pool, gym, play area etc., while elevators will normally be in poor repair.

Santo Amaro

Santo Amaro was once a large city in its own right, until the 1930s when it was engulfed by Sao Paulo. Now one of the city’s largest neighborhoods, at over 580 square kilometers, the region has its fair share of problems, including violence, poor public transport, noise, pollution and graffiti. It also has its high class regions, like Chacara Flora, with large mansions and foreign schools, including Chapel and the Swiss school. This region, with ample green areas, is in sharp contrast with the polluted and run-down areas around Treze de Maio and Terminal Santo Amaro. The neighborhood’s commercial region around Rua Verbo Divino and Alexandro Dumas has a large concentration of bank headquarters and multinational companies as well as the Champs Elysee residential complex. One of the highlights of the region is the recently inaugurated Sesc center on Rua Amador Bueno with ample leizure and cultural facilities. Santo Amaro will also has a rail station, linking Treze de Maio with Capão Redondo, and sometime in the future, the Santa Cruz subway station.

Vila Madalena

This is Sao Paulo’s bohemian neighborhood and is home to many of the city’s artists and musicians. Street names like Harmonia and Simpatia add to the neighborhoods zen feel. Its large selection of bars and night clubs make it an ideal place to enjoy an active nightlife, but not so suitable for those who like a good night’s sleep or with children. In general it is fairly safe but traffic can become intense at the weekends. The neighborhood has been made more popular recently by the prime time soap opera Vila Madalena.