During the first three months of this year, the Belgian market has shown considerable enthusiasm for property transactions even though, according to the Federation of Notaries, there has been no significant change in sale prices. Houses and apartments are now beginning to sell in increasing numbers, while their value seems to have remained relatively stable.
The growth of Belgium’s property market
This rise in real estate transactions is a fairly recent phenomena, and the country has not experienced anything remotely similar in recent years. Statistics reveal that there has been an increase of 8% in comparison with the market prices recorded during the first three months of 2017, and growth of 5.5% when compared with price levels in the last quarter of 2018.
The increase in transaction activity has also had a knock-on effect which has been felt elsewhere in the financial sector. Indeed, the number of people now applying for new home loans has increased exponentially. This is undoubtedly due to the availability of a very reasonable interest rate which looks attractive and affordable despite the residual perceptions of general turbulence in the property sector.
Similar increases can be tracked when looking at how the numbers have gone up at regional level:
• + 5% increase in Brussels
• + 8% increase in the Flanders region
• + 8% increase in Wallonia
Looking at some more specific examples, Brabant is the only province in Wallonia to have seen an increase in its real estate activity in each of the last four quarters. However, in Namur, even though the transaction rate increased by 14.6% in the last quarter, there had been a significant downturn in 2018 – which means some of this increase is likely to be down to a market readjustment. And in Hainaut province, the growth rate has not exceeded 1.3%.
Apartment transactions in detail
In Wallonia, the price of an apartment in 2019 is 175,344 euros, which is 20.9% less than the national average. The figure is significantly higher in the Flanders region where an average apartment is worth 226,641 euros.
Let's look a little more closely at the 2018 figures for three Belgian regions:
• Wallonia: prices have risen by + 0.5%
• Flanders: prices have risen by + 1.1%
• Brussels: prices have risen by + 1.1%
Note: The average price of an apartment in Belgium during the same period was 221.656 euros.
Across the whole country, the average price of an apartment went up by 9.7% in the first months of 2019. Thus the price of a Brussels apartment increased to 243,166 euros.
House price movements in detail
While house prices increased by 0.7% in Flanders, house prices in Wallonia rose by just 0.5%. During the first three months of 2019, an average house cost around 254,000 euros, which translates into an increase of 1% as compared with the comparable period in 2018. And if we look at prices over the five-year period between 2014 and 2019, the average value of a house has increased by a total of 27,000 euros.
Let's also look at how property prices are shaping up in the capital, Brussels. As may be expected, buying a house here is 81% more expensive than the average house price elsewhere in Belgium. And in this region, the asking price of a detached property can be as much as 458,771 euros.