Despite Violence, Real Estate Prices Continue to Soar in Brussels

High Demand and Low Supply Overshadow Concerns Over Shootings

Brussels, Belgium – Despite a spate of shootings in recent weeks that have rocked neighbourhoods across Brussels, the city’s real estate market remains resilient, with prices continuing to rise steadily. 

The surge in violence, often attributed to feuds between drug trafficking gangs, has raised concerns about safety and security. However, the allure of Brussels’ real estate market appears undiminished, fueled by high demand and limited supply.

The 2024 tally of shootings has already reached 21, a cause for alarm for many residents. Yet, the numbers pale in comparison to previous years, with 85 incidents reported in 2022 and 108 in 2023. Despite the headlines, real estate prices have remained largely unaffected, indicating a robust market sentiment.

Saint-Gilles, a commune at the epicentre of recent incidents, has maintained its status as one of the most sought-after areas for property investment. 

With average rental prices soaring by 17% last year, Saint-Gilles stands as a testament to the resilience of Brussels’ real estate sector. Real estate agents report no significant decrease in interest from potential buyers or renters, attributing the violence to isolated incidents targeting individuals involved in the drug trade.

According to Sébastien Mullenders of Myimmo, prospective buyers and renters perceive these events as isolated occurrences rather than systemic issues affecting the entire community. 

“People see these events as isolated incidents. They are not disrupting the market in any way,” Mullenders stated. However, stakeholders in the real estate sector remain vigilant, cognizant of the potential impact of growing concerns over security on Brussels’ image as an attractive destination for property investment.

Kim Ruysen, CEO of Trevi, emphasizes the importance of reinforcing the perception of security to reassure the public. “We need to reinforce the perception that everything is under control,” Ruysen asserts. 

Failure to adequately address these concerns could negatively impact the real estate sector, potentially deterring investors and buyers alike.

Brussels’ housing market stands in stark contrast to trends observed elsewhere in Europe. While housing prices experienced a significant downturn in many European cities in 2023, Belgium continued to witness modest growth, albeit at a slower pace than in previous years. 

Immoweb’s annual report released in February predicts that this upward trend will persist throughout the year, driven by persistent demand and limited housing supply.

However, the housing situation in Brussels remains precarious, with the OECD describing it as an “acute” crisis. Despite the city’s relative wealth, the average household income lags behind, making it challenging for many residents to afford homeownership. 

Rent prices have surged by 20% between 2004 and 2018, significantly higher than the OECD average of 3.3%, exacerbating the affordability crisis for renters.

With 60% of Brussels’ residents renting their homes, policymakers face mounting pressure to address the affordability and security concerns plaguing the city. Failure to enact meaningful reforms could exacerbate existing inequalities and further strain the real estate market.

In conclusion, while concerns over safety persist in Brussels following recent shootings, the city’s real estate market remains buoyant, driven by high demand and limited supply. 

However, stakeholders must address growing concerns over security to safeguard Brussels’ reputation as an attractive destination for property investment. 

As the city grapples with an acute housing crisis, policymakers must prioritize measures to enhance affordability and security for all residents, ensuring that Brussels remains a vibrant and inclusive urban centre for years to come.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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