The economy of Brazil is already the sixth largest on the planet. On top of this Brazil is counted as one of the BRICS emerging markets; that is, those with the fastest growing economies, along with China, Russia, India and South Africa. This puts the country in a position which is highly favourable to foreign investors, especially when factoring in the upcoming FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil and the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Brazilian middle class now accounts for over half of the entire population, and a growing consumer class prompts even faster economic growth. All these factors combined have led to the Brazilian government spending billions of Real on improving the country’s infrastructure. Over R$50billion has been allocated for improvements to transport links, including a brand new airport in Natal, new road and rail links and the enhancement of existing transport facilities. The government has also invested the equivalent of USD$40billion in the minha casa minha vida Brazil social housing scheme, alongside funds raised through foreign investors, in order to deal with the deficit of eight million affordable homes across the country.
EcoHouse Brazil, part of the UK-based EcoHouse Group, were one of the first private contractors to become involved in minha casa minha vida. EcoHouse Brazil are able to raise funds for the project through UK investors in order to be able to contribute to the new builds required in Brazil. The UK investor will typically sink £23,000 into the project in one go. Once EcoHouse Brazil have enough funding to compete a new housing estate the project goes ahead. Each housing estate takes approximately twelve months to build, after which time the homes are sold to eligible families through the minha casa minha vida project at a capped rate. The UK investor then receives back their initial investment plus a return of around 15%. By contracting out a proportion of the minha casa minha vida work to private companies such as EcoHouse Brazil the government are able to introduce new funding to the project and hopefully complete it sooner rather than later.
So far the minha casa minha vida project has built three million affordable homes which have been made available to low to middle income families at a reduced mortgage rate. Those eligible for the minha casa minha vida scheme are also able to purchase furniture and other household necessities through a government subsidised credit card with a 5% interest rate. EcoHouse Brazil currently have their third housing development of some six thousand properties underway, which is scheduled for completion later next year.