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Belgium's rents on the rise, especially for studios

15:50 17/09/2023

Living in Belgium is getting more expensive. That is the message of recent figures published by the Federation of Francophone Estate Agents (Federia) and its Flemish equivalent, the Confederatie van Immobiliënberoepen.

In 2023, rents are 2.5% to 3.5% higher than in 2022, with Brussels attracting the highest rates at €1,188 per month on average.

The biggest jump in price is for studios (+9.15%) where rents are now €799 per month, compared to €732 last year.

For Kristophe Thijs, spokesman for the CIB, the confederation of estate agents in Flanders, this shows that, post-pandemic, people are now willing to live in studios again, particularly in a city as expensive as Brussels.

Unsurprisingly the price of apartments varies according to commune. The average monthly rental of an apartment in the most expensive commune of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is €1,137 while in Jette you only pay €879. In Evere and Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, rents even diminished very slightly.

Flanders has not escaped the trend. The region reported a 3.5% rise in rental price for all types of accommodation.

This means you pay an average of €853 per month this year, compared to €824 in 2022. Again, studios saw the highest price rise (+14.4%) with flat rentals going up by 3.3%.

The most expensive area of the region is the Flemish Brabant, where the average monthly rent exceeds the bar of €1,000. East Flanders remains the cheapest commune with an under €800 average charge.

Wallonia, meanwhile, is still the cheapest place to live on the rental front. The average rental price went up 2.5% compared to 2022, with the overall annual increase this year predicted to be 3.3%. The average monthly rent is now €779, compared to €760 in 2022.

The price to rent semi-detached houses (three façades) went up the most, with an average monthly cost of €949 as opposed to €901 last year. It will set you back €817 to rent terraced houses and €728 for apartments.

The Federia figures reveal that all provinces saw monthly rent increases. Walloon Brabant, recording a 5.53% increase, is by far the most expensive province outside Brussels. Hainaut province reported the lowest rates.

Higher rents are due to more new constructions, and also the increasing demand, Brussels architect Kristiaan Borret told Bruzz. "For example, many people have moved to Forest recently, because it is still relatively affordable," he said.

In general, Borret said that if Brussels wanted to remain affordable, more social housing is essential.

“For every major real estate project, 25% of the homes should be social housing. This is already the case for some projects, but it is not a general rule for the whole of Brussels and there are 50,000 people on the waiting list.”

And while constructing more studios to achieve lower rental prices is the “typical response of the real estate market”, this is not a good idea, Borret said. “In Amsterdam, people have also started to live on a smaller scale, but this has not become cheaper. There are just more profits made.”

Written by Liz Newmark