Expats in Belgium struggling with soaring property prices

Published:  30 Dec at 6 PM
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If you’re considering buying property in Belgium, perhaps now is not the time!

Belgium is a popular choice for expats who’ve saved for a generous pension once retirement kicks in, but the development of its property market over the past decade doesn’t bode well for incomers. As this decade ends and another begins, Belgian property is expensive enough to spur media claims of overvaluation and house price inflation of up to 56 per cent. For Brits for whom Belgian beer, mayonnaise on chips and Belgian chocolates are a must-have in retirement, counting the pennies in order to afford these little treats as well as paying off a huge mortgage is bad news.

Since the ‘90s, rentals and property prices have soared by 300 per cent, with the news of political scandals involving developers indicating there’s not much will to change at the top level. Another spur to Belgium’s house prices took place following the 2008 financial crash, with investors flocking to bricks and mortar whilst property values in the rest of the Western world took a serious battering.

Home ownership is vital for Belgians, with some 73 per cent doing everything they can to buy their nest rather than renting it. However, there’s a good reason for this in that Belgian property doesn’t attract capital gains tax and taxation on rental property returns is refreshingly negligible, making real estate the perfect investment strategy. Unfortunately, for expats moving to Belgium, there’s no reason to think property price rises aren’t sustainable as investors still have capital and rentals are still popular.
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