Young people can afford to buy houses, National Bank of Belgium finds

Young people can afford to buy houses, National Bank of Belgium finds
Credit: Belga

Buying a house has not become more inaccessible for younger people in Belgium, the National Bank of Belgium has found, despite a recent survey which found young people felt buying a house was currently “impossible”.

Two-thirds of non-home-owners between the ages of 21 and 35 in Belgium said they felt buying a home is currently impossible, and 10% said they believed it would never be possible, according to a recent survey of 2,000 people in Belgium commissioned by Immotheker Finotheker.

“In recent months, a negative impact on access to the mortgage market for young people has been reported on. This is not confirmed by the figures, partly because the NBB has specifically taken this justified concern into account by providing more flexible guidelines for the specific segment of ‘first-time buyers’,” the NBB said in a press statement for its “Financial Stability Report 2021” published on Monday.

It added that, despite the coronavirus crisis, the share of young people receiving mortgage loans in 2020 remained stable at around 35% of all new mortgage loans.

“All in all, while the Covid‐19 crisis and its consequences for the economy may have led some (young) borrowers to postpone their real estate projects, the NBB’s prudential expectations seem to have achieved their two-fold objective of reducing the share of riskier loans in the new mortgage loan production and maintaining access to credit for solvent borrowers, including first‐time buyers,” the report read.

The amount of money young people bring to the table when buying a property has increased significantly, as the number of loans covering more than 90% of the property’s value for first-time buyers has decreased from 45% in 2019 to 30% in 2020.

In particular, loans, where first-time buyers put 10 to 20% of the value on the table themselves (or with parental support), are clearly on the rise.

Half of the current homeowners said they received help from their parents or other family members, 37% received some money and 16% were able to borrow from their parents. With a few exceptions, the average amount received from parents is €58,031.

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