Brazil Real Estate Equity: Back from Near Death

After a dizzying plunge in real estate shares, some Brazilian homebuilders are gingerly testing the market. Strong foundations come from single-digit rates and a low income-housing program.

Just two years ago, Brazilian real estate was flying high on the back of lower rates, a buoyant stock market and the old chestnut of how an emerging middle class would want to start climbing the property ladder. That allowed a wave of IPOs, which swept up even relative tiddlers. There were 21 Brazilian IPOs related to construction and real estate in 2007 compared to seven in 2006 and none last year. The average size in 2007 was 632.3 million reais.

Among them, Trisul launched a 330 million reais deal in October 2007, with 91% of the shares sold to foreigners. It had a brief moment in the sun, peaking at 12.70 reais per share in November 2007. Hikes in rates – the benchmark Selic went from 11.25% in April 2008 to 13.75% at the end of the year – and the recession put paid to the feel-good factor. Trisul shares headed all the way down to 1.80 in March this year.

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