Language(s): Portuguese (Official)
Area: 8,514,877 km2
Population: 192,376,496 (2011)
GDP (PPP): 2011 estimate
Total: $2.294 trillion
Per capita: $11,769
Brazil covers nearly half of South America and is the continent's largest nation. Brazil may be divided into the Brazilian Highlands, or plateau, in the south and the Amazon River Basin in the north. Over a third of Brazil is drained by the Amazon and its more than 200 tributaries. The Amazon is navigable for ocean steamers to Iquitos, Peru, 2,300 mi (3,700 km) upstream. Southern Brazil is drained by the Plata system—the Paraguay, Uruguay, and Paraná rivers.
Against all expectations, against good sense, Brazil's housing sector continues to boom! House prices in São Paulo rose by 18.8% during the year to July 2012, according to the FIPE ZAP Index of Dwelling Price Offers (up 12.9% when adjusted for inflation). The price increase was even greater at Rio de Janeiro, up 19.8% (13.9% in real terms) during the same period.
From January 2008 to July 2012, average house prices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro rose by 144.1% (91.7% in real terms), and by 178.2% (118.4% in real terms), respectively.
Two major international sporting events are helping to arouse foreign interest in Brazil - the hosting of the 2014 Soccer World Cup, and the 2016 Olympics. But although house price rises have been strong, economic growth is noticeably slowing.
Brazil's property market is overvalued by around 50%, claims Capital Economics, who have produced a whole raft of reasons why disaster hangs over the Brazilian property market. Yet an expanding mortgage market is making finance easier to than ever to access.