Cuts to registration duties: Brussels lowers cost of buying a house

Cuts to registration duties: Brussels lowers cost of buying a house
Credit: Belga

The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region has approved the draft ordinance modifying the regional system of registration duties, making purchasing a property cheaper if it will serve as the buyer's primary residence.

Under the new scheme, three changes are made to the abattement (a discount on registration duties, which is the regional tax the buyer has to pay on top of the purchase price of a property) of registration fees. Firstly, the current reduction will be increased from €175,000 to €200,000.

The second change introduces an extra abattement in case of a major energy renovation of the house. For each energy class that a building is improved by, a further €25,000 reduction will be added (provided there is an improvement in the energy value of at least two jumps).

Thirdly, the Capital Region is raising the ceiling on the sale price of a home to qualify for an abattement from €500,000 to €600,000.

Maintaining a strong middle class

The changes to the reductions in registration duties were agreed during the government negotiations, announced Brussels Finance Minister Sven Gatz in a press release. He celebrated the changes, stating that they will make buying a home more accessible.

Gatz stressed that the aim is to "maintain a strong middle class of young people in our super-diverse metropolis who want to invest in a home of their own."

Every year, more than 7,000 families (nearly two-thirds of home buyers in the Capital Region) already take advantage of this reduction in registration fees to settle in Brussels for a longer period, or even permanently.

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Those wishing to benefit will have to take up residence in the property within three years (instead of two years) from the moment the new scheme comes into force, which is for agreements concluded from 1 April 2023.

For buyers applying for a renovation abattement (the additional reduction for an energy renovation), the time to domiciliate in the property will even be extended to five years to provide for extensive works. This takes into account the delays to home improvements caused by economic difficulties in the construction and renovation sector.

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