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More properties sold at coast and Ardennes following lockdown

02:00 05/09/2020
From Flanders Today

The home-selling sector in Flanders is enjoying a boom following the coronavirus shutdown, according to the two biggest real estate agencies.

In the past three months, sales of houses and apartments have increased, with Covid-19 playing a role in the types and locations of properties changing hands. The coast was the most popular location for buyers, with houses with private gardens the top choice.

Estate agents Century 21 and ERA said that the market took off in June, when coronavirus restrictions were eased and people who had been planning to buy property were able to complete the process. When lockdown was introduced in mid-March, viewings in person were not allowed and visits to notaries’ offices were restricted.

There was a notable increase in sales at the coast. “Some offices there have sold twice as many properties as the same time last year,” Kim Ruysen of Century 21 told VRT. “In general, we’re seeing an increase at the coast of 50 to 60% on last year.”

In the Ardennes, the increase was 35%, with people seeking second homes looking within Belgium instead of places such as Spain or Croatia. Buyers choosing existing properties were much more likely to choose a house than an apartment, while those buying new-builds were equally likely to buy an apartment.

“Today’s new apartments are often built in better locations, with shared gardens and larger terraces,” explained Johan Krijgsman of ERA. “So they are more corona-proof.”

Ruysen added that there is also a Covid effect among house-buyers: “We clearly see that the size of the terrace plays a greater role. And older people who were about to trade in their house with garden for an apartment are now more likely to renovate their existing home because of the value of the garden.”

Other areas have seen increases, but not across the board. In Flemish Brabant and Antwerp province, for example, sales have risen, while sales in East Flanders and Limburg have remained stable.

The average selling price is 7% up on the same period last year, according to ERA. Krijgsman expects prices to settle in the autumn, when the backlog of sales resulting from the lockdown is resolved.

Century 21 is already seeing prices stabilise, except in cities such as Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven. Ruysen: “The prices are the same, but there are buyers who are offering up to €30,000 above the asking price in order to secure the property they want.”

Photo courtesy Hoprom.be

Written by Flanders Today