House prices shoot up 5.1% in only six months

Figures from Belgian notaries show a continued increase in house prices.  On average houses in Flanders shot up over 5% in price over the first six months of the year.  Flat prices rose 4.6%.

Bart Van Opstal of the Federation of Notaries points to continued strong demand from numerous perspective home buyers.  Purchases were up nearly 17% during this period compared to the same period in 2019. 

It’s above all houses in medium-sized towns that are in demand.  Flats too are selling like hotcakes.  There is demand from young people eager to benefit from low interest rates as well as buy-to-rent purchasers. According to Van Opstal investors keenly eye flats and especially new-builds with two bedrooms.  Studio apartments and one-bedroom flats are struggling as more and more people consider the possibility of working from home and the need for space.

Take account of inflation at 1.3% and the 5.1% hike in house prices during the first half of the year works out at a 3.8% rise in real terms.  For flats the rise in real terms is 3.3%.

Mortgage relief is said to have fuelled house prices over many years. Its abolition in 2020 doesn’t seem to have led to any reversal.

Young people are experiencing growing problems getting on the housing ladder.  26.8% of buyers were under 30 five years ago.  Today their share has fallen to 24.2%.  Notaries believe the fall would have been greater if we hadn’t had low interest rates.  People in the 31-to-50 age bracket are purchasing more properties than five years ago.  Many are looking for a definitive abode, while other purchases are seen as an investment.  

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