by Going Global
Real estate prices in Belgium are on the rise. According to figures released by the General Directorate of Statistics and Economic Information (GDSEI), average house prices, of all types, rose by 6.7 percent in 2010, after falling since the pre-crisis peak in 2008. Single family homes were up by 5.0 percent, with villas, cottages and bungalows by 6.0 percent. The average house price in Flanders, the district that includes Brussels, is 192,179 EUR, while average prices in other municipalities range from 115,000 to 366,000 EUR.
Belgium’s residential real estate market is one of the strongest in Western Europe, according to the most recent release of the Knight Frank Global House Price Index. Belgium’s housing market rose by 5.9 percent annually, trailing only France, Poland and Norway in Europe. Belgium’s gain far outpaced the 1.8 percent average yearly result realized by the countries surveyed. The strongest housing jump was recorded by Hong Kong, up by 24.2 percent for 12 months. Belgium’s housing market ranked 11th out of 50 countries worldwide.
Even though there are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Belgium, most expatriates choose to rent if they are to live in Belgium temporarily, because tax and notary fees to buy a house can add up to 18 percent of the purchase price. The Belgian real estate market is highly decentralized, and there are no property listing services such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that is common in North America. To learn about different properties, the buyer should contact several local real estate agents. Belgium licenses realtors; it is best to utilize one who is licensed.
In Brussels, the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center runs around 875 EUR monthly and outside the center around 565 EUR monthly, according to Numbeo.com. For a three-bedroom apartment, rent would be around 1,275 EUR in the city center and 1,075 EUR in other locations.