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Last Updated: May 03, 2016




A picture of stability - that's Belgium's housing market. Nationwide house prices rose by 1.37% during the year to Q4 2015, following 1.13% price rises in both 2014 and 2013, according to Eurostat. However, when adjusted for inflation, house prices actually fell by 0.06%.
  • Prices of existing dwellings dropped by 0.43% (-1.83% inflation-adjusted) during the year to Q4 2015.
  • Prices of new dwellings rose by 6.5% (4.99% inflation-adjusted) y-o-y in Q4 2015.

“The market is always very stable in Belgium and in Brussels,” says Anne Montanari of Brussels Sotheby’s International Realty. According to Victoire Properties' Jean Corman, property prices in Uccle have risen most, rising by 20% since 2008. Corman added that while house prices in Brussels and its suburbs rose by 50% from 2000 to 2008, property prices in these areas remain 15% lower than before the global economic downturn.

The average price of regular houses in Belgium was €202,796 (US$ 229,220) in Q4 2014 (later figures are not yet available):
  • In Brussels-Capital region, house prices rose by 5.17% y-o-y to an average of €381,558 (US$ 431,275) in 2014.
  • In the Flemish region (Flanders), house prices slightly rose by 0.89% y-o-y to an average of €215,447 (US$ 243,520).
  • In the Walloon region (Wallonia), house prices were up by 1.59% y-o-y to an average of €151,155 (US$ 170,851).

Belgium annual house price change graphDuring Belgium’s housing boom (2000-Q3 2008), nationwide house prices soared by 129% (86% inflation-adjusted). The housing boom was driven by low interest rates and increased competition between banks; and also by strong economic and wage growth.

Analysis of Belgium Residential Property Market »


RENTAL YIELDS
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2015



Gross rental yields in Brussels range have remained steady over the past year. Gross rental on apartments in Brussels range from around 4.56% to 5.53%, while yields on houses range from 4.46% to 5.01%. Meanwhile, the difference between the yields on small properties, which tends to be higher, and those on larger properties, has shrunk.

Square metre (sq. m.) prices of apartments and houses in the prime districts of Brussels have been increasing, according to the latest survey of Global Property Guide. So too have rents.

All of the apartments and houses included in our survey are located in the prime areas of Brussels. The prime areas we took were Laeken, Nieder-over-Heembeck, Auderghem, Ixelles, St. Gilles, Uccle, Woluwe-St. Pierre, and Woluwe-St. Pierre. Our survey included around 2,300 apartments and houses.

The biggest reason that investors in Belgium will be discouraged is that round trip transaction costs are high for buyers of residential property. See our Belgium residential property transaction costs analysis and our Residential property transaction costs in Belgium compared to other countries

Read Rental Yields  »



TAXES AND COSTS
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2015



Rental Income: Personal income tax range from 25% to 50%, depending on the taxable net income. The taxable net income is the cadastral value, increased by 40%, minus deductible expenses. As a result, the effective rental income tax is a bit lower than the headline rate, ranging from 9.22% to 23.07%.

Capital Gains: Capital gains tax of 16.5% is payable on gains on developed property held for less than five years. After a holding period of five years, no Capital Gains Tax is payable.

Inheritance: Inheritance tax rates in Belgium are progressive and vary according to the degree of kinship, region where the inheritance is opened, and the share inherited by each of the heirs.

Residents: Residents are taxed on worldwide income at progressive rates, from 25% to 50%.

Read Taxes and Costs  »



BUYING GUIDE
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2014



Closing costs are high in Belgium, between 14.60% and 27.60% of property value. The bulk of the cost is accounted for by transfer duties at 10% or 12.5%, depending on the property’s location. Roundtrip costs for new properties are much higher because of the 21% VAT.

Read Buying Guide  »



LANDLORD AND TENANT
Last Updated: May 30, 2006



Belgian law is pro-tenant.

Rents: Rents can be freely negotiated but rent increases above the inflation rate cannot be written into the contract. If there is a written contract, the rent will be automatically adapted once a year in accordance with the cost of living. Deposit payments must not exceed three month’s rent.

Tenant Security: Belgium’s landlord and tenant law is restrictive as regards the length of rental contracts. The main options for the duration of a lease are: a contract of 9 years and, alternatively, a contract for less than three years.

Read Landlord and Tenant  »



ECONOMIC GROWTH
Last Updated: May 03, 2016


Belgian economic growth disappointing

BelgiumThe Belgian economy grew at a moderate pace in 2015. According to the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), Belgium's GDP rose by 1.4% in 2015, slightly up from 1.3% in 2014. The economic expansion, ongoing since the second half of 2013, was attributed by the NBB to:
  • Favourable financing conditions in the euro area for both private individuals and corporations that encourage investment
  • Macroeconomic policies less single-mindedly austerity focused

Domestic demand has slowly picked up in the past two years. With oil prices at historic lows, the growth of purchasing power is propelling private consumption.

The economy is projected to expand by 1.3% and 1.6% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, according to Rabobank Group.

From 1997 to 2007, the country enjoyed healthy economic growth of about 2.5% per year.  But since the crisis growth has been weak.  GDP growth was 0.7% in 2008, -2.3% in 2009, 2.7% in 2010, 1.8% in 2011, 0.2% in 2012, 0% in 2013, and 1.3% in 2014, mainly due to the adverse impact of the eurozone debt crisis, according to Belgostat.

In 2015, the country's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3%, slightly down from 8.5% in 2014, according to the NBB. In January 2016, the jobless rate for men was around 8.8% while it was around 7.6% for women.

Belgium's inflation rate improved, and was around 2.2% in March 2016, up from -0.4% the same period last year, based on the figures from the NBB. The country had average annual inflation of 1.8% from 2010 to 2015, according to the IMF.

In 2015, the country’s budget deficit was estimated at about - 2.6% of GDP, according to the National Bank of Belgium. Belgium’s gross national debt amounted to 106.5% of GDP in 2015, the highest level since 2002.

Earlier this year, Belgium was shocked by terrorist attacks in the country's capital, Brussels. In March 22, 2016, three coordinated nail bombings were reported, two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and another one at the Maalbeek metro station. The incident left a death toll of 32 victims and 3 suicide bombers, as well as around 300 people injured. The act of terrorism, the deadliest in Belgium's history, was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).







  • Strong demand for rental units
  • Moderate to high transaction costs
  • Tiresome tenancy length limits
  • Moderate to high taxes
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY FACTS
Price (sq.m): €3,023 For a 120 sq. m. property, usually an apartment.
Rental Yield: 4.87% For a 120 sq. m. property, usually an apartment.
Rent/month: €1,471 For a 120 sq. m. property.
Income Tax: 9.22% Assumptions: Owners are a non-resident couple drawing US$ / €1,500 per month in rent, with no other local income.
Roundtrip Cost: 22.15% The total cost of buying and then reselling an apartment. Includes:

* all transaction taxes and charges:
* lawyers' and notaries' fees
* agents' fees

Assumptions: The buyers are non-resident foreigners. The apartment cost US$250,00 / €250,000.
Cap Gains Tax: n.a. Assumptions: The property was bought for US$250,000 / €250,000, and sold 10 years later, after a 100% appreciation.
Landlord and Tenant Law: Pro-Tenant Rating is based on a detailed study of each country’s law and practice.

Baltics Real Estate Market Overview 2016 - Colliers InternationalPoland Residential Market Q2 2016 REASPoland Residential Market Q3 2016 REAS



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