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Lower fees for homebuyers in Brussels will help retain young middle class, study shows

15:53 11/07/2022

The reduction of registration fees for the purchase of a home should help keep the middle class afloat in the Brussels region by allowing more families to purchase homes. Those were the findings of a study conducted by the Brussels Institute of Statistics (IBSA), reports Bruzz.

The Brussels government approved a draft by finance minister Sven Gatz in May that reduced registration fees on the purchase of a home that serves as the buyer’s primary residence.

It resulted in three key changes: the increase of the current abatement from €175,000 to €200,000, the introduction of a "reno-abatement" in case of a major energy renovation of the house (€25,000 per jump of energy class, provided there’s an improvement of at least two jumps), and the raising of the ceiling for the abatement from €500,000 to €600,000.

The reduction in registration fees was intended to help maintain young middle class families willing to invest in their own home in Brussels. It’s a realistic outcome, determined the study.

“This report from the IBSA confirms that we are right on target with the objectives of the new ordinance that aims to make buying a home in Brussels less expensive,” said Gatz.

“With the reduction in registration fees, we can strengthen social cohesion in the neighbourhoods of our metropolis; increase the share of a young middle class in our population; and also strengthen the revenue side of the regional budget.”

More than 7,000 households, or just over half of home buyers in the Brussels region, use the abatement every year, with nine out of 10 users already living in Brussels and 62% of those buyers under the age of 36.

Half of these cases concern first-time home buyers in Brussels. They are also more likely to be single and on average are younger compared to buyers in the rest of Belgium.

Price hike for property

But when it comes to finding an affordable home, Brussels’ buyers are in for a challenge: the median cost for a house in the Belgian capital increased by 15.1% in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, according to data from Statbel.

Real estate prices are rising all over Brussels, with sharper increases (+28.9%) for detached homes. Apartments aren’t spared either: the median price for an apartment in Brussels was €249,000 in the first quarter, compared to €170,000 euros in Wallonia and €230,000 in Flanders.

In contrast to Flanders and Wallonia, Brussels remains the most expensive region for all types of housing, and the increases in housing costs are also disproportionately higher than elsewhere in the country. 

Photo: © Belga/Benoît Doppagne


Written by Helen Lyons