Real estate: all the changes in 2021

A new year often brings with it new regulations. Reduction in VAT on demolition and reconstruction work, Q-ZEN standard, compensation for prosumers… To help you succeed with all your real-estate projects in 2021, BuyerSide takes stock of what’s new in the property sector this year.

The Q-ZEN standard for all new constructions in Wallonia

Major real-estate change for 2021: the Q-ZEN standard is being introduced throughout Wallonia. In practical terms, this means that all new constructions will have to be virtually zero-energy buildings. This new standard involves perfect insulation and tightness combined with efficient heating and sanitary systems that require only a small amount of energy. New houses therefore have to meet Ew values (overall energy performance level of the building) equal to or lower than 45 and an Espec (primary energy consumption) of a maximum of 85 kWh/m2/year. In terms of energy performance, this corresponds to a label A on the PEB scale (energy performance of a building).

Reduction in VAT on demolitions/reconstructions

Until now, the reduced VAT rate only applied to 32 urban zones. From 1 January 2021, it has been extended to cover the whole country and therefore falls to 6% instead of 21%. But beware: stringent conditions have to be met in order to benefit from this:

  • It must involve a so-called ‘own and sole’ family home;
  • The living area may not exceed 200 m2;
  • You have to live in the property for at least five years.

If you fail to comply with these conditions, you will have to reimburse the tax benefit for the year when you moved in and the years prior to the expiry of the five-year period. It should also be noted that the lower VAT rate applies until the end of 2022.

Compensation for Walloon prosumers

The prosumer rate came into force on 1 October 2020. Consequently, in order to take part financially in the use of the network, all photovoltaic or solar panel owners are asked to pay an annual flat-rate free amounting to an average of € 450. To offset this fee, Wallonia has decided to introduce compensatory measures. These will take the form of bonuses and will be rolled out in three phases:

  • In 2020 and 2021: the regional government is offsetting 100% of the cost of the prosumer rate.
  • In 2022 and 2023: the Walloon Region will continue to fund 54% of the fee The remaining 46% will be borne by the prosumer.
  • From 2024 onwards: prosumers in Wallonia will have to pay the fee in full. 

The ‘warm’ rent in the indicative rent grid

The year 2021 also marks the appearance of a new ‘warm rent’ module in the indicative rent grid in Wallonia. This can be used to give an estimate of the energy costs of a house or an apartment. The aim is to provide citizens with better information about their future home and encourage owners to improve their properties.

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