Jean Corman's analysis of the residential market in 2022-2023.

At the end of 2023, we take stock of the past year, noting that our agency, with its two offices in Uccle and Woluwé, has completed:


- 398 rentals, with an average budget of € 1,950 per month.

- 197 sales, with an average budget of € 1,120,000 for houses and € 685,000 for flats.


This translates into a 7.5% increase in Victoire's overall turnover in a Brussels market where the number of transactions has fallen by 15%, according to the Royal Federation of Belgian Notaries.


The analysis can be refined according to the following criteria:


Sale of existing properties :


Due to inflation, the suburbs, and in particular Brabants Wallon and Flemish, are experiencing a decline.


The southwest (Uccle, Woluwé and surrounding areas) and the upmarket districts of Ixelles are holding up well.


In so-called "bobo" districts such as Watermael-Boitsfort and Saint-Gilles, where prices had risen sharply regardless of the quality of the property, a price correction of 5% to 10%, added to inflation, resulted in a devaluation of more than 10%.

Conversely, price corrections are more moderate, particularly for defect-free properties favored by higher-income buyers (50% of Victoire's sales over the last 3 months have been for "cash").


Properties requiring renovation are more affected by the fall in prices than quality properties, mainly due to a less favorable EPB, requiring costly renovations to comply with standards.


Perceptions have also changed: during the Covid, everyone wanted to live in the countryside or have an outdoor space.


However, with energy prices soaring, the energy certificate has become a predominant criterion, although its importance is increasingly being questioned, not least because of the variations in calculations and criteria from one region to another and from one certifier to another.


Rental market under pressure:


In a market marked by shortages, Victoire achieved sales growth of 28%, supported by an increase in the average price of its portfolio and the number of lettings, with a growing proportion of flats at the expense of villas.


The profiles of expatriates sent to Belgium have changed, with a shift towards single people who prefer city life, which should eventually narrow the gap between supply and demand.

A year of recovery and stabilization in the new-build market:


In 2023, Victoire recorded an increase of almost 80% in new development sales.


Despite the challenges of 2022, buyers have adapted to the new financing conditions and prices. Although prices appear to be stabilizing, they will not return to their previous levels, with the only room for maneuver remaining in the price of land.


Supply of affordable housing:


The average rent in Brussels is € 1,205, over € 800 for a studio and € 1,850 for a semi-detached house.


To respond quickly to the demand for affordable housing, it is crucial to rely on private investors.


However, certain regulations are likely to discourage them, in particular :


- The winter moratorium, which prohibits the eviction of tenants during the winter months.

- The right of pre-emption for tenants, allowing them to buy the property if it is sold.

- The application of a stricter, even mandatory, rent scale, limiting the freedom to set rents.

- The elimination of the reduced VAT rate of 6% for demolition and reconstruction projects, increasing costs for developers.


It is important to remember that excessive protections can ultimately harm those they are intended to help, by discouraging investment in the affordable housing sector.


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