Update on housing prices in Brussels in 2019

Notaries report: published January 2019

Update on housing prices in Brussels in 2019

Notaries report: published January 2019

The latest ‘Notary Barometer’, published at the end of January 2019, confirms that the Belgian property market is in excellent health. In the past twelve months, the sector has experienced its most significant growth in five years, with house prices rising 4.7% nationally and by over 5% in Brussels.

Low interest rates fuel young people’s appetite for bricks and mortar

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Aside from the sharp rise in property prices in 2018, a key finding of the most recent annual ‘Notary Barometer’ is the average age of home-buyers.

‘Demand remains high across all the regions’, says Notary Renaud Gregoire, spokesperson for the Notaire.be website. ‘People under 35 in particular are taking the opportunity to buy a house and to take out a home loan at an attractive interest rate.’ Over 40% of buyers were indeed under the age of 35 at the moment of purchase, despite the downward trend in consumer confidence and a rising consumer price index. In other words, real estate is still a very popular investment.

House prices

Unsurprisingly, the Brussels-Capital Region remained far and away the most expensive part of the country in 2018. The average house price in the capital is 452 721 euros, 79.9% more than the national average (251 584 euros). Houses in Flanders are 10.2% more expensive than the national average, while prices in Wallonia are 24.8% cheaper. Breaking through the 450 000-euro barrier for an average house in Brussels represents a significant 5.3% rise compared to 2017. The increase over five years was 7.9% (as opposed to over 10% in Wallonia and Flanders). In other words, 2018 saw substantial growth in house prices in Brussels. However, if we take account of inflation, which stood at 7% in the period 2014–18, property values in Brussels only rose 0.9% in real terms.

Apartment prices

Average apartment prices have risen steadily over a five-year period in all parts of Belgium: the national average was 220 095 euros in 2018 (up +10.1% on the 2014 level). The biggest increase compared to 2017 was recorded in Brussels, where the average price of an apartment rose to 240 250 euros in 2018, up 2.4%. All the same, the capital is not the most expensive place to buy an apartment: despite a slight fall in 2018, the province of West Flanders and its coast remain the most expensive location in the country: apartments change hands there for an average of 248 310 euros.

Looking at the number of bedrooms, we find that nationally a three-bedroom apartment is 33% more expensive on average than a one-bedroom flat. This differential rises to as much as 41.7% in Brussels, where the average price for a three-bedroom apartment is 335 336 euros (compared to 181 198 euros for one bedroom and 236 674 for two).

More info? Download the notaries report (French)

  • Cost of housing 2019

Fixed or variable-rate: what type of home loan should you choose?

The property market in Brussels remains very healthy. Interest rates are still very low, while the reduction in stamp duty on the first tranche of 175 000 euros (to offset repeal of the housing bonus) is also having a positive effect, reducing costs by just under 22 000 euros. There should still be plenty of prospective buyers therefore eyeing the capital.

Be that as it may, what type of home loan should you choose to fund your future purchase? In a period of very low interest rates, it’s obviously tempting to go for a fixed rate: rates aren’t likely to go any lower, after all. On the contrary, many analysts expect them to start rising in the not too distant future. All the same, variable-rate mortgages enjoyed some renewed success in 2018.

  • There are several reasons for choosing a loan like this:
    A variable-rate loan is cheaper than a fixed-rate one.
  • Even if interest rates increase, a variable rate is legally capped at twice the starting rate. Given how low those initial rates are right now, a variable-rate loan could still be beneficial over its entire term.
  • You repay more capital during the first years with a variable-rate loan. If you decide to sell the property or to renegotiate the loan before the official end date, you’re better off if you have already repaid a lot of capital (as opposed to interest).
  • Even if this amounts to a (calculated) bet on the future, the variable rate means you will benefit from lower monthly repayments at the beginning, even if you will have to pay a little more later (assuming interest rates rise), by which point you should theoretically be better off. This is an attractive formula for young people, therefore, who tend to have less money coming in when they first take out a home loan.

Are you planning a real-estate project? Verify online if it is realistic!

Not sure what kind of loan to choose? Talk to our experts about which choice is the best suited to your situation

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