As it does every year, the Fédération royale du notariat belge (Fednot - Royal Federation of Belgian Notaries) is publishing its real-estate barometer. The first quarter of 2021 saw a continuation of the sharp rise in the number of transactions in Belgium. Prices, too, are increasing, albeit at a slower rate than in 2020.
Increased activity despite the Covid crisis
While the health crisis had a significant impact on the real-estate property market in 2020, the first figures from the notaries’ barometer indicate that the same applies for the start of 2021. If we compare the first quarter of 2021 with that of 2020 (excluding strict lockdown and on the basis of the same number of working days), we note an increase of 11.2% in activity at national level. Whereas a substantial rise in activity may be seen in Wallonia (+8.9%) and in Flanders (+14.7%), Brussels has recorded a fall of -6.2%. The experts believe that this ‘slump’ should be relativised. Indeed, the figures indicate that the start of 2020 was exceptional. If we look at 2021 from the perspective of 2019, we note an increase all the same. So the Brussels market is far from being left behind.
Real-estate prices continue to rise
When it comes to prices, the increase seen in the past few years is continuing. The rise is, however, less pronounced than in 2020. The average price of a house now stands at € 281,705 (up 1.5%), taking account of inflation. This is a national average, because according to the experts, prices are rising more for much sought after types of property/locations: “On the ground, we are clearly seeing that houses are going at very sustained prices. The supply is fairly weak at the moment. As soon as a desirable house (good geographic location, good condition, large garden, etc.) comes on the market, many interested buyers come forward and quickly make offers, very often above the asking price”, explains Renaud Grégoire, spokesman for notaire.be.
More specifically, all the provinces of Belgium, with the exception of the province of Hainaut (-1%), are seeing average house prices stabilise or rise. The sharpest increase can be seen in Walloon Brabant, at +2.6%, making this the only Walloon province to record an average price higher than the national average price. And it even comes second after Brussels in the ranking of the highest average prices in Belgium.
Apartments are more expensive in Brussels and in Flanders
The first quarter of 2021 was also marked by an increase in the average price of apartments. It would appear that in 2021, the difference between the average price of a house and that of an apartment has lessened slightly. Whereas in 2020 the gap was € 33,000, in the first quarter of this year it was just € 31,000.
In Wallonia, you will have to spend on average € 186,827 (-0.8%), compared with € 255,173 in Flanders and € 279,832 in Brussels. So over the past five years, Brussels has recorded the strongest growth in the average price for apartments: +16.4%. This means that today you have to spend around € 37,000 more than five years ago to buy an apartment, taking inflation into account.