Brussels Property Market and Real Estate Guide
(Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium)
The cosmopolitan city of Brussels is both the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union. In addition, the city has become an administration centre for international organisations including NATO, with a commensurate number of embassies, consulates and related institutions. Comparatively high prices in the property market reflect this development.
Brussels is divided into two sections, Upper and Lower, with 19 districts within the municipal area. An excellent transport system includes six metro lines and trams, with major roads radiating out from the historic city centre via inner and outer ring roads. The city's housing stock varies from beautiful period and Art Nouveau terraced town houses through post-war and ultra-modern, to apartment blocks in all styles.
Although less expensive than central Paris
, properties in the upmarket inner city districts command high prices, as does the European District, home to international organisations and a large number of foreign residents. The residential district of NATO / Woluwe is also pricey and popular with incomers.
Most property in Brussels is privately owned. Although Flemish and French are the main languages, English is not uncommon due to the city's international connections. Several local estate agents maintain comprehensive bilingual websites covering rentals and sales across the city.
Renting Serviced Apartments
Serviced apartments and aparthotels offering short- to long-term lets are found in all areas, catering for tourists, business people, international public and private sector employees, embassy staff and conference delegates.
Rates vary, dependant on area, size, comfort rating and length of stay. Renting a serviced apartment is usually cheaper than renting an equivalent hotel room, and rates in aparthotels can reduce considerably for longer stays. A deposit is required in advance, and may not be refundable.
Buying Apartments and Houses
There are no restrictions on foreign purchase of property in Belgium. Expats who intend to stay for more than a year may consider buying an apartment or house. Although prices have fallen in the last two years after a dramatic 85 per cent surge since the year 2000, the market is at presently static.
Dependent on location, a studio or one-bedroom apartment is affordable, with house prices beginning at least a third higher. A large, period maison de maitre (town house) in the centre or a quality detached property with grounds in a elite residential area like Ixelles will be out of reach for the majority.
Additional costs are high, although the solicitor's fee is set by law. Expect to add on a registration fee of 12.5 per cent of total value, plus process fees. Once signed, the compulsory purchase agreement is legally binding: the exclusive purchase option is not. For more information, check the Belgian government's website at http://www.diplobel.fgov.be
Real Estate Agents
Estate agents must be registered with the Professional Institute of Real Estate Agents. A number of agents provide comprehensive one-stop services to foreign buyers and have bilingual websites.
Check out the following Brussels real estate sites:
Address: Avenue de Tervueren 418 - 1150, Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 772 15 30
Victoire has a large online portfolio of properties for rent and sale, and specialises in high-end services to incomers.
Home in Brussels
Address: Avenue de la Renaissance Iaan 41 - 1000, Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 732 00 00
This agency specialises in rental properties, but also has homes for sale.
Century 21 Brussels
Address: Avenue Madoux 149 - 1150, Woluwe-St Pierre/St Pieters-Woluwe, Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 733 21 21
Century 21 has a large number of offices in Brussels plus a comprehensive online search facility.