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Property prices in Brussels rise less than in other regions‎

00:47 09/02/2022

The price of apartments in Brussels increased by 2.2% last year, compared to 2020. This was less than in Flanders and Wallonia, where they rose by 5.9% and 2.9%, respectively. The increase was stronger for houses, but here too it was more limited in Brussels than elsewhere. The most expensive real estate municipality remained Ixelles, according to figures from the Federation of Notaries (Fednot).

The number of real estate transactions was 11.1% higher in Brussels in 2021. In Flanders, 14.7% more transactions took place, in Wallonia 14.3%.

A house in Belgium costs about €270,000 (median), an increase of 8% compared to 2020. In Brussels, the increase was smaller (+5.2%) with a house costing about €462,750. In Flanders, it was a larger increase (7.1%) but according to the median, a house still costs less (€300,000) than in the capital. In Wallonia, a house costs 'only' €192,000 (+6.1%).

In the Brussels region, Ixelles is the most expensive municipality to buy a house. The median price for a house was €690,000, an increase of 15% compared to 2020. More than three-quarters of the houses in Ixelles cost more than €462,750 (the median at regional level). Last year, Uccle was in first place with a median price of €630,000.

"We note that the price increase in the already expensive southern municipalities seems to have no end, and that at the same time the northern municipalities are rising unabated," said Stijn Joye, notary of Fednot.

"The median prices for a home in Brussels are approaching the €500,000 mark, and that means that for one house in two, no discount can be enjoyed on a first purchase." Anyone who buys real estate in Brussels for the first time does not have to pay registration fees on the first €175,000 euros. That advantage does not apply if the purchase price is above half a million.

The cheapest municipality in the Brussels region to buy a house remained Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, where a house cost €330,000, according to the median (+9.1%). In 2020, it was still €302,500.

Only in three Brussels municipalities did the price of a house go down. These were Saint-Gilles, where a house cost €469,000 (-8.1%), Etterbeek at €577,500 (-3.8%) and Laeken at €337,500 (-10%). The municipality where prices rose the most last year was Jette with an increase of 21.2% to €394,000.

The increase in houses (+5.5%) in Brussels was higher than that of apartments (+2.2%). "We see this as a confirmation of the 'lockdown effect'," says Stijn Joye. "Buyers prefer a house, preferably with a garden or terrace. That of course gives more comfort for teleworking, and in good weather you can go in the garden or on the terrace."

While apartment prices have risen least in the capital, apartments remained more expensive than in Flanders and Wallonia. An apartment cost an average of €250,000 in Brussels last year, which was an increase of 2.2% compared to 2020. In Flanders it was about €233,000 (+5.9%) and in Wallonia about €180,000 (+2.9%).

For an apartment, both Ixelles and Woluwe-Saint-Pierre were the most expensive municipalities with a median price of €350,000 in both. The three cheapest municipalities – and also the only municipalities where the median price was still below €200,000 – were Anderlecht (€188,000), Koekelberg and Laeken (about €197,000 in both).

Finally, a garage in Brussels now costs around €26,000, an increase of 4% compared to a year earlier. The national median price was €25,000.

However, the inhabitants of Brussels who buy a house are on average younger (41 years) than the home buyers at national level (43 years). Yet people in their twenties have a harder time buying a house in the capital than elsewhere in Belgium. Only 20.7% of buyers in Brussels are 30 years of age or younger, while nationally this is 24.3%.

"Few young buyers have been given the opportunity to enter the expensive Brussels real estate market before the age of 30," says Joye. "The waving of registration fees on a first purchase cannot fully compensate for the difference in price."

Finally, it should come as no surprise that the ratio of houses to apartments in a large city such as Brussels was very different from the national average. While in the capital only 36.4% of the real estate sold was a house (compared to 63.6% apartments), the share of houses throughout Belgium was much higher (72.7%) than the share of apartments (27.3%).

Written by Nick Amies