University of São Paulo: São Paulo has more formal residences in buildings than in houses

For the first time, the city of São Paulo started to have more residential constructions in buildings than in houses. Low-standard horizontal properties were predominant before 2000. The data are from a survey carried out by the Center for Metropolis Studies (CEM), one of the Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (Cepid), of the State Research Support Foundation of São Paulo (FAPESP).

The study Trajectory of the formal residential stock of the city of São Paulo – 2000/2020 was based on fiscal data from the registration of real estate properties produced by the Municipal Finance Department (SF), of the São Paulo City Hall (PMSP), for purposes of launch of the Urban Land Property Tax (IPTU). The research was disseminated through the first edition of the CEM technical note. The note only deals with the formal stock, that is, it does not address informal buildings, such as precarious and not fully regularized buildings.

The researchers used a database of more than 62.7 million records of buildings built in the city of São Paulo, considering the type of property (vertical/horizontal) and the construction pattern (high/medium/low).

According to the study, the real estate stock increased from 386.3 million m2 in 2000 to 534.8 million m2 in 2020, with a growth of 38.44%.

The stock changed from a horizontal predominance of low standard (in real estate) and medium (in built-up area) to a leadership of medium standard verticals (in real estate and area). High-end vertical properties also grew significantly, especially in built-up area, but with decreasing individual average square footage.


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USP professor Eduardo Marques and researcher Guilherme Minarelli, both from CEM, claim that the expansion of vertical residential properties was mainly due to the growth of medium and high-end vertical properties. “The city seems to be accelerating a process of elitization of residential typologies, with an increase in the participation of medium and high standard built areas and a decrease in the relative share of low standard ones”, they point out.

Data suggest that the 2002 and 2014 Master Plans and the 2004 and 2016 Zoning Laws had little effect on the trajectories of the property stock. The exception was the occasional reduction in low-end horizontal residential properties between 2014 and 2016, a period in which there was a high volume of low-end residential demolitions, which fueled the vertical expansion of medium and high-end buildings. The effect, however, was localized and the trajectories later continue with the same previous trends, reports the study.

This technical note is part of a set of studies that will be published weekly by CEM until September and will address aspects of municipal planning, such as real estate, mobility, social participation and budget. This sequence of works is related to the discussions that will be promoted by the SP Forum 21 , an event that takes place between September 21 and 30 and aims to analyze the urban planning of the city of São Paulo. The call for submission of papers for the Forum is open until July 26th. More information on the official SP Forum 21 website .


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