The average price for a flat on the dike of Knokke, what is seen as the Belgian coast's more "up-market" area, has surpassed €1 million, as the continued popularity of buying property near the sea is pushing up prices across the coastline.
Compared to 2020, the number of real estate transactions increased last year by 13.4%, according to the most recent coastal barometer of the Federation of Notaries (Fednot). This increase in real estate activity was in line with that of Belgium overall (+14.3%).
"Our coast remains attractive for property buyers. Holidays in our own country are increasingly a trend. Many buyers consider a purchase by the sea a safe investment," Notary Bart van Opstal, spokesperson of Notaris, said.
The number of transactions increased by almost one-fourth in Oostende (Central coast), while it fell by 3.8% in Bredene (located right next to Oostende).
Overall, the trend has pushed up prices of flats located near the coast, especially those right on the dike, of which the average price is now €365,956.
"Apartments on the waterfront were particularly sought after last year. That is why the average price increase was a lot higher," Fednot's notary Bart van Opstal said in a statement.
Location is key
The price for such a flat in Knokke, the most eastern of the Belgian coastal towns, increased by 15.7% to surpass €1 million. Meanwhile, the price for such a flat remained the cheapest in De Panne, where it costs an average of €229,857 (+8.6%).
Last year, Knokke had already been named the municipality with the highest price per square metre (m²) in Belgium, as the average cost for living space per m² is more than double that of the Belgian average (€5,242 per m² for a flat and €4,055 per m² for a house).
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Overall, the East Coast was the most expensive place to buy a flat (€434,821 in municipality and €514,302 on the dike, while the Central Coast was the cheapest (€234,687 and €276,561 respectively).
Logically, Knokke was also the most expensive coastal municipality to buy a flat in, with an average price of €589,022 (+3%).
Large increase in price for additional room
The average price for a flat at the coast (not on the dike per se) in 2021, was €302,225, up by 7.5% from 2020. The largest increase was recorded in Westende, where the price increased by 18.4% to an average price of €182,247, however, this municipality remained the cheapest location to buy a coastal flat.
Meanwhile, those who made the switch from a one- to two-bedroomed flat had to take into account an additional rise in cost of 57.5%, and those who opted for an extra bedroom had to fork out an additional 66.7% in 2021.
"Buyers who could afford it financially went all out for spacious flats. The supply is relatively limited, but these flats were particularly sought after. That also explains the steep price rise," van Opstal concluded.