Estate agents were closed and prospective buyers weren’t able to visit properties during the lockdown. The same goes for estate agents who weren’t allowed to visit properties with a view to an estimate or to take photos. In April sales were down nearly 24%. In May they slumped nearly 30%. But the recovery is underway with sales up nearly 9% in June.
The crisis hasn’t dented prices: the average house now fetches 267,040 euros – up nearly 2% on the year. Flats go for 242,024 euros on average – up nearly 6%.
Notaries have recorded a greater demand for flats with more expensive, new-builds particularly popular. This explains why flat prices are rising more quickly than house prices.
Many flats are being bought by investors keen to beat inflation or older people downsizing. Both groups are well-off and are pushing up prices.
Bart Van Opstal of the federation of Notaries won’t be drawn on whether higher demand in June will stick. The jury is still out on whether the real estate market will be immune from the corona crisis.
“If unemployment spirals, there’s a big chance sales will be down. The direction of interest rates too will have a big impact.”