The prices of apartments at the coast are going down for the first time in years, according to a survey of notaries carried out by Trends magazine.
As things stand at present, the cheapest place to buy an apartment at the coast is Middelkerke (photo), while near neighbour Nieuwpoort is the most expensive.
In 2018, the median price for an apartment at the coast was 216,500 euros, which was 2.5% less than in 2017. The drop in prices involved all coastal communes but one – Zeebrugge, where prices rose by 18.8%. The largest slump in prices took place in Blankenberge (10.7%) and Nieuwpoort (9.1%), and even the two communes which account for 40% of property transactions, Ostend and Knokke-Heist, saw prices fall by 0.3% and 1.2% respectively.
Knokke-Heist remains uncontested as the most expensive place to buy an apartment, with a median price of 368,400 euros. In second place comes Nieuwpoort, a good distance behind on 250,000 euros.
The cheapest apartments are to be found in Middelkerke-Westende, De Panne close to the French border and Blankenberge, which has the benefit of a regular train link with the interior of the country. The median price in those three communes was 175,000 euros in 2018. The median price is the price where there are 50% of properties higher and 50% lower.
If you want an apartment on the seafront, however, be prepared to pay more – around 30,000 euros more, in most cases. Again, Knokke-Heist is most expensive: the difference between a seafront apartment and one inland was a median 244,100 euros, or 66% of the lower price.
The overall drop in prices occurred at the same time as a 0.6% increase in demand for coast properties, explained by Ostend notary Bart Van Opstal in the magazine as attributable to the large number of older apartments on the market. “There’s a great deal of demand for new construction. The price of older apartments has taken a dip,” he said. According to the magazine, buyers count the cost of renovation – around 1,000 euros per square metre – into their price offer, which brings down the price as shown in the statistics, but not the real price as paid by the new owner.