Urban property, expropriation and wealth concentration in Brazil

Fix, Mariana
Constantino, João Paulo
Prado, André Doca
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Southern Centre for Inequality Studies
The complete process of housing production is an important element in defining patterns of inequality. This paper aims to identify and characterise changes and continuities in the real estate wealth, with a focus on the residential segment. In doing so, we observed several two-way interactions, situating them in the long duration of the constitution of highly unequal structures in Brazil. In particular, we describe the reconstitution of the credit system by the Workers' Party government, in the 2000s, as a moment when interactions with the theme of inequality became more complex. The reorganisation of the regulatory framework and the expansion of housing credit in the 2000s generated a substantial increase in real estate activity and created a housing boom. In the text, we present three rounds of IPOs from real estate developers and discuss the most significant (2006-2008). While this round originated in the increase in real estate credit, its sustainability only occurred thanks to a housing policy that mobilised billions of reais (BRL) in subsidies for the construction of millions of houses. The amount was unprecedented and allowed the policy to reach social strata that had not had access to formal housing before – in this sense, it responded to a social and political demand. On the other hand, this volume of public funds was also significant for the financial real estate circuit. This increase in scale gave more power to homebuilders that decisively influenced the design of the housing programme. Some effects of this conflictive and multidimensional process on the struggle for the right to the city are discussed throughout the text.
Fix, M., Constantino, J.P and Prado, A.D. 2023. Urban property, expropriation and wealth concentration in Brazil. Wealth Inequality Working Paper | Number 57