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Belgium in Brief: Garages Before Houses

Credit : Belga

Property prices in Belgium continue to soar, but this doesn’t seem to deter people from entering the real estate market.

Since 2019, the comparable year available, house prices increased by 6.6% across Belgium, while in the last five years, this price has risen by more than a quarter (26.2%).

But there’s more to it than simply houses getting more expensive: a noticeable change has taken place in the type of property bought.

According to the latest Real Estate Barometer of the Federation of Notaries (Fednot), demand for land and garages was much higher during the first nine months of this year than for residential properties.

The “relatively limited increase in residential property sales may have something to do with the price increase in the previous quarter,” according to notary Bart van Opstal, spokesperson for

He added that people are now also less likely to buy an existing house and choose to build (or have one built) themselves.

“That may have to do with the pandemic, but also with a conscious choice to build energy-efficiently, in accordance with the strict insulation standards,” van Opstal explained.

However, the notaries added that a temporary cooling of the property market may be seen in the fourth and last quarter, particularly in Flanders, 2020 in Flanders.

“It is not impossible that buyers will be wary in the coming months as a result of the announced change in the registration tax. If people would buy less, prices might also rise more slowly,” said van Opstal.

Have the increased property prices put you off buying a new house or investing in a second residence? Or are you more likely to wait it out in the hope that prices will drop again?

Let @johnstonjules know (or @LaurenWalkerH, as she wrote it today) 

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Rising property prices don’t deter buyers

During the first nine months of 2021, people continued to flock to the property market where the number of transactions increased despite rising prices, in turn further pushing up costs. Read more.

2. Belgium may remove step between paying doctors and reimbursement

Doctors and dentists could soon choose to only charge patients for co-payments – the non-refundable part of medical expenses – meaning people would no longer have to fork out the fixed fee before being reimbursed. Read More.

3. Ecolo shoots down four-day week proposal

Government coalition party Ecolo – French-speaking greens – has said it will not support a proposal from Open VLD to move to a four-day working week. Read more.

4. Combining flu and Covid vaccines possible, but caution advised for youth

Belgium’s Superior Health Council (HGR) announced that combining the Covid-19 vaccination with others, including flu shots, is possible but that care must be taken for young people. Read More.

5. Brussels no longer dark red on European travel map

After more than a month, the Brussels-Capital Region is no longer coloured dark red on the travel map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Read more.

6. BNP Paribas brings in bodyguards to protect staff at North station

The bank BNP Paribas Fortis has employed bodyguards to accompany its staff to and from the nearby North station in Brussels, after complaints of an unsafe environment. Read more.

7. Jürgen Conings: Russia was behind disinformation

The internet-driven conspiracy theories surrounding the death of rogue soldier Jürgen Conings in June this year were stoked by Russian intelligence, according to Michel Hofman, chief of the Belgian defence staff. Read more.

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