According to a recent BBC report (January 2013), property prices in Rio de Janeiro’s hillside favelas, or shanty towns, are currently rocketing.
Formerly designated as no-go-areas due to the continual threat of armed drug lords, the properties are now much sought after by international investors, resulting in price increases of 50 per cent and above, with growing demand signalling further increases in the not so distant future.
This is thanks to the efforts of Rio’s security police and the establishment of permanent police bases within the favelas, which has resulted in the successful removal of drug cartels from the area. Expelling these groups from the shanty towns has led to a significant decrease in violence, which in turn has fuelled the soaring property boom.
While this is in one respect a very favourable development, it does have some rather unpleasant consequences for less fortunate families living in these areas – in particular those who do not own their homes. With property values rising at such a dramatic rate, rents are also rising – and many families are unable to bear this constantly increasing commitment, meaning they are no longer able to live here. This may ultimately result in Rio facing a whole new set of issues introduced by homelessness.