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    Higher home prices give first-time buyers pause

    © Belga

    Belgians are waiting longer to buy their first homes due to increased real-estate prices, the Immotheker Finotheker consultancy firm found in a study on home purchases between 2007 and 2019.

    In 2019, the average age of couples purchasing their home for the first time was 36 years, whereas it was 31 years in 2007; and unmarried persons now enter the real-estate market an average age of 37 years, as against 34 years in 2007.

    Between 2007 and 2019, the average price a couple paid for their first home went from €211,855 to €282,261, a 33% increase, according to Immotheker Finotheker.

    There is also competition between generations, the consultancy firm found. Members of the Y Generation, people under the age of 40, are obliged to delay the purchase of their first home, while the over-40s – the X Generation – who have much more of their own resources, have been pushing real estate prices up.

    The average X-Generation couple has 122,000 euros of its own resources, 27% more than the average Y-Generation one. Yet, they both prospect in the same real-estate bracket – homes going for 250,000 to 350,000 euros, Immotheker Finotheker’s John Romain explained.

    The consultancy also found that people tend to finance a greater portion of their home purchases from their own pockets. For couples, this portion increased by 24.8%, going from 57,757 euros in 2007 to 72,081 euros in 2019, according to Immotheker Finotheker’s figures. Among single buyers, the amount increased by 27.3 % from 53,747 euros in 2007 to 68,396 euros in 2019.

    However, though interest rates have dropped sharply, borrowers are paying back more. In 2007, the average couple spent 1,010 euros on its monthly mortgage. By 2019, the amount had climbed to 1,094 euros.

    With the National Bank of Belgium urging banks, in its latest recommendations, to be more careful in giving out mortgage loans, “it will be more difficult to take out a mortgage in 2020,” Immotheker Finotheker warned.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times