Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: Surprise, You’re Settling Down

Credit: Orlando Whitehead/ Canva

“Are you still renting?”

This was a question I found myself being asked a lot for the first years I was in Belgium. Friends back home already had a foot on the property ladder, done with “paying someone for a house when you could be investing in bricks and mortar yourself”.

The logic was pretty solid, but I was only in Belgium for a little bit. Brussels in particular always feels like a place where everyone is moving around so much that it’s easy to lose track and realise you’ve been there six years.

Then you do start thinking about buying a house (I know I did), only to realise you have no idea what you’re doing.

So why am I talking about this? Well, things are about to change.

New rules on mortgage lending are due to come into force in 2022 and aim to tame the price explosion on the housing market.

So far, so good, right?

The rule essentially consists of having mortgage lenders set mortgage rates according to a survey rather than the price asked for a property. In other words, if a seller is asking €400,000, and a survey reveals the proper price to be €350,000, that is the price on which the mortgage is offered.

Yet this essentially means is that if the buyer wants to buy the property anyway, they will have to come up with the missing €50,000 themselves.

Buying a house is complicated, with various pitfalls, costs and surprises that are nothing to do with the house itself.

So while it’s best to keep an eye out for leaky roofs, busted drains, and a whole host of other things…

Have a read of this too, Alan Hope explains it better than I ever could.

What’s your experience been like? Let @johnstonjules know (or email me

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

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. Belgium’s famed Hallerbos becomes a nature reserve

The famed Hallerbos bluebell wood in the Flemish Brabant province is being granted the status of a nature reserve, Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir announced on Sunday. Here’s what that means.

2. FAQ: The Belgian Covid Safe Ticket

Belgium will lift the federal general face mask obligation and expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST), announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Friday. So, what does that mean?

3. Heritage Days bring 40,000 cultural visits in one weekend

This weekend, the Brussels-Capital Region held its 33rd edition of Heritage Days, or Open Monuments Days, in which 142 cultural sites in the city held activities around a central theme of “Meeting Points.” Read More.

4. STIB has given out 534 fines for not wearing a mask this year

Brussels public transport company STIB has issued a total of 534 fines between January and August of this year for people not wearing a mask while using the public transport network. Read more.

5. Belgian far-right party launches own app to ‘break censorship’

Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party launched its own mobile application, which was presented as a channel for “politically incorrect” information to be shared. Read more.

6. ‘Transforming Brussels’: Car Free Sunday a success

The weather was fine and many of the Belgian capital’s residents took to the streets to enjoy a variety of activities and workshops centred around alternative modes of transport. Read more.

7. Majority of companies want employees back in the office more often

Just over six in ten companies (60.9%) choose to have their staff return to the office at least three days a week since the recommendation to work from home disappeared in Flanders and Wallonia. Read more.

Latest news

EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...
Brussels café managers ask for security guards following stabbing over vaccination proof
Managers of cafes in Brussels are asking to be provided with security guards if they’re to continue enforcing rules surrounding proof of vaccination, ...
1.6 tonnes of drugs, 27 suspects: Belgian police bust major gang
The Belgian police and public prosecutor's office arrested 27 suspects and seized 1.6 tonnes of drugs, over €80,000 and a number of weapons in a ...
75% more sexual violence victims seek help in Brussels since summer
There has been a 75% increase in the number of people asking for help from the Brussels Centre for the Treatment of Sexual Violence (CPVS) since the ...
European Commission outlines possible action against the rule of law crisis in Poland
In a speech at the European Parliament plenary on Tuesday morning, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen listed three options for action against ...
PFOS contamination found in air around 3M factory
Months after unsafe levels of the chemical PFOS were discovered in the water and soil in the vicinity of a 3M factory in Antwerp, in addition to in ...
Belgium is global leader in plastic recycling and bioplastic innovations
Belgium is among the best-performing countries when it comes to innovation in plastic recycling and researching alternative plastics technologies, an ...
Lidl reopens all Belgian shops as strike actions end
Lidl has confirmed that all its shops in Belgium will reopen on Tuesday following six days of closure across various branches due to strike actions. ...
Brussels Christmas Market will once again return on 26 November
It may only be October, but the news that Brussels will get back its Christmas market this year means that seasonal celebrations with Glühwein ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Brussels Airport adds 10 flight destinations this winter
Some 130 destinations will be served from Brussels Airport this winter, the company announced on Monday, just a few days before the start of the ...
Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...