Property prices soared in Charleroi last year

Property prices soared in Charleroi last year
Credit: Belga

Between the first quarter of 2021 and the same period of this year, surprisingly, the strongest surge in house prices was recorded in the former industrial city of Charleroi in Wallonia, where the price of one square metre increased by 20%, and the selling price by 15.3%, according to Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique.

Analysing data from real estate websites We Invest and PriceHubble, the newspaper noticed that the property market had experienced “very marked activity and fluctuations” since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In total, We Invest and PriceHubble analysed 11,086 for sale advertisements and 20,044 rental advertisements as part of a study of purchase price and rental trends on the Belgian market,” We Invested told La Libre Belgique. “The analysis covers data from real estate ads published online in seven cities (Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent, Liège, Leuven, Mons, and Namur) between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2022.”

Belgian real estate dynamics

The results of this survey reveal a complex, and often contradictory, image of the Belgian real estate market. In some areas, prices have gone up significantly, and they have fallen in others.

While Charleroi witnessed significant price increases last year, between the first and second quarter of 2022, prices have fallen once again, with price per square metre falling by 11.1% and 13.9% for selling price.

Conversely, in Brussels, prices fell significantly between the first quarter of 2021 and the same period this year, dropping 6.7% per metre squared and 5.5% for sale price. In the first two quarters of this year, prices grew again, with the price per square metre increasing by 9.1%.

Rental prices are on the up across the board. Good news for investors, and bad news for tenants.

“As far as rents are concerned, some cities such as Ghent and Namur are proving to be very stable between 2021 and 2022 (respectively +1.16% and +0.67% change.) Others show a moderate increase in rents (Leuven +2.35%),” the real estate website said.

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Unsurprisingly, despite a -8.3% reduction between 2021 and 2022, in the first half of this year, rental prices in Brussels rebounded by 9.1%. Brussels is by far the most expensive place in Belgium to rent, aggravated by a shortage of housing. The most significant rent increases were recorded in Mons, which increased by 9.6%.

For now, the Belgian real estate market still has all the hallmarks of a bubble, ready to burst in the future.

“The situation remains under tension on the new residential real estate market, where there is a slowdown,” We Invest told La Libre Belgique.

"To these factors add the rise in the cost of energy, inflation, and the increase in interest rates, which are putting the real estate sector to the test, particularly the residential sector which is ‘overheating’ and continues to develop into a ‘housing bubble,’” the real estate group warns.

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