The cost of housing in Brussels

(prices at the end of June 2018)

The cost of housing in Brussels

(prices at the end of June 2018)

After two years of real estate deals in Belgium breaking all records, 2018 marks a period of stagnation, and even a slight downturn in terms of the second quarter. But the year's not yet ended! The pulse of house and flat prices in the capital is racing, so we've taken the Brussels property market's temperature for you.

A property boom: Belgians still love brick!


After record jumps in property deals in 2016 (up 8.5% across Belgium and 12.5% in Brussels), 2017 again broke all records, albeit with a rise of more modest proportions (of 4.6% nationally) but nevertheless bodes well for the state of the property market. We note a minor downturn in Brussels, but nothing that's not to be expected after the huge leap in 2016.

By the end of its second quarter, 2018 had booked a slight drop (of 0.4% nationally and 1.9% in Brussels) but the major surges in activity over the past two years, it remains at a sustained level overall.

So, why is interest in property on the up? Bart Van Opstal represents, the website for notaries public (who oversee conveyancing in Belgium), and points to a number of influences:'Low interest rates are undeniably a key factor. They've made it easier for many young people to get started on the property ladder. Real estate has also attracted interest as an investment, in new forms like garages, hotel rooms or student halls. Our ageing population is also playing a role: older people are selling off their homes to buy apartments or some form of assisted accommodation, like service flats, old people's homes and homeshare schemes'.

House prices

All three of the nation's regions note rising tendencies compared to 2017. Despite 2017 seeing fewer conveyances overall, there was growth in Brussels, the highest nationally (4.4%) with prices ending up back at 2016 levels after a minor dip in 2017. At the end of June this year, the average house price in Brussels stood at 447,475 euros. That's 176,000 euros higher than the comparable figure for Flanders and 262,000 euros up on Wallonia.

Apartment prices

Though, nationally, flat prices rose only slightly (1.9%) over the 12 months to June 2018, giving an average sale price of 219,137 euros), flats in Brussels saw a remarkable rise of 4.4% in the same period, which incidentally reconfirms the ever-sharper increases in flat prices in recent years, with the average in Brussels now standing at 239,513 euros (June 2018). Over a period of five years, flat prices in the capital rose by 14,000 euros on average (up 6.3%). This upward trend is mainly explained by the number of single persons and the ageing population, since the elderly are keener to live in apartments. Note that a three-bedroom apartment will generally set you back around 35% more than a two-bedroom one!

The capital's north-south divide

The tendency for the southern and eastern boroughs of Brussels to be more select (and hence dearer) continues. It'll come as no surprise that Ixelles, a borough of Brussels that's much sought-after by expats, takes first place as the most expensive borough in Brussels. In fact, nine of the top ten most expensive boroughs are in Brussels, with Lasne as the only non-Brussels municipality sneaking into the ranking, in second place.

The priciest boroughs in Belgium Average price in euro
1. Ixelles - Elsene 714,592
2. Lasne 576,154
3. Woluwe-Saint-Lambert - Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe 574,051
4. Woluwe-Saint-Pierre - Sint-Pieters-Woluwe 554,434
5. Uccle - Ukkel 534,720
6. Etterbeek 526,935
7. Forest - Vorst 448,596
8. Saint-Gilles - Sint-Gillis 443,940
9. Auderghem - Oudergem 436,103
10. Borough of Brussels 435,315

More info? Download the notaries report (French)

The future lies in brick

The real estate market continues to show excellent health in Brussels. To the unchanging, very low interest rate should be added the positive effect that the reduction in stamp duty is having, now at 175,000 euros (to offset repeal of the housing bonus). This lowers the notarial fees by about 22,000 euros. There should therefore still be plenty of prospective buyers waiting to descend on the capital.

More about the newrules regarding the reduction in stamp duty? Read our article about Housing grants and allowances in Brussels.

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