Interview with Andrew Thompson, Group Sales Director at Ritz Property, Brazil
Can you give us an introduction to Ritz Property, how it came to be, your role within it and how you got to that position?
Ritz Property was set up in 2008 in the UK (HQ) and Brazil, and opened its Singapore office in 2012. I joined the Company two-and-a-half years ago as the Group Sales Director. In the UK we have our global marketing team, in Brazil we are building residential and commercial developments, and in Asia we have our core investor market.
As an investor, what does it offer, how has the area changed and what impact has the World Cup and the Olympics had?
Brazil, like Natal, is on an exceptional growth curve. The Brazilian Government has specifically highlighted Natal for a multi-billion pound investment plan in infrastructure, and it seems all the figures are stacking up in Brazil’s favour. Over the last two years Brazil has witnessed record tourism, and according to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index, house prices have risen by over 30%.
Natal offers an interesting proposition, it’s relatively underdeveloped and the demand from a new and emerging middle class is significant. It also has something for everyone; amazing lifestyles, beachside living and a relaxed and safe location – Natal is considered one of the safest cities in Brazil.
What our experience has shown is that with a little investment, there are many opportunities to build and re-shape this part of Brazil. This year alone, the new Greater Natal International Airport was completed in April and when it opens on 22 May it will become a new international hub being the closest Brazilian airport to Europe, Africa and North America. The figures are quite breathtaking – the current capacity of 2.6million passengers a year will soar to 6.2million.
Natal is a host city for the 2014 World Cup and the new football stadium Arena das Dunas opened earlier this year and will create new jobs and attract substantial revenue and continued investment.
With the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 – the first time a country will host both events consecutively – Brazil will benefit from the multi-billion pound revenue streams that such events typically create.
What are the challenges you face as a property developer in Brazil and trying to get things done?
Like any emerging Real Estate Market, you will always suffer growing pains. Land registry for instance is a good example – in the UK the details are recorded on paper and online, but in Brazil the details are only documented on paper, not online, so you have to go through the local town hall with local officials to find details of the land ownership. As an emerging market, buying procedures can be slow and the red tape sometimes tricky to navigate but this is precisely why it is essential to use regulated legal professionals, a local Notory and a Brazilian Lawyer to carry out these land and title deed searches for you.
As a developing market, the North East is not as commercially advanced as the business sector in the South (Sao Paolo and/or Rio de Janeiro). Undertaking thorough due diligence and finding credible partners is absolutely essential in Natal and Ritz Property has been very fortune to partner with some of the leading companies in the region. Generally, making sure Ritz has done everything we can to ensure the investment process is legitimate and clean is essential to getting through this process safely. Having operated in Brazil for 6 years, Ritz utilises its first-hand experience to offer this 360-degree approach to investors.
Source: The Wealth Scene