Real estate: experts announce a housing crisis, “some people live in containers in the Netherlands, will this happen?

Statbel also released its latest data on the property market in Belgium this Thursday. “Property prices continued to rise in 2023, but to a lesser extent than the previous year: the median price of detached or semi-detached type houses rose by 2%. For open-plan houses, prices increased by 2.5%. Apartments were 3.9% more expensivewe are learning. The Belgian median price for a detached or semi-detached typical house was €260,000. The price of the open type house was 369,000 euros. The Brussels Capital Region was the most expensive region. Houses of the closed or semi-closed type cost 495,000 euros. The price of open type houses was 932,500 euros. The Walloon region was the cheapest region with a median price of €176,000 for detached or semi-detached houses and €290,000 for open houses.

Expect half a million for a house in Brussels, prices are skyrocketing in Flanders

The increase in prices, which is therefore still very present and which slows down Belgian purchases. So much so that experts in this sector from all professions decided to send an open letter to our political leaders. Among the signatories we find Olivier Carrette, Executive Director of UPSI-BVS, Pascal De Decker, KU Leuven sociologist, Véronique De Mesmaeker, UWAIS coordinator, Charlotte De Thaye, Federia, Niko Demeester, CEO Embuild, Hugues Kempeneers, Managing Director Embuild Wallonia, Björn Mallants, managing director of housing company Woontrots, Lorenzo Van Tornhaut, real estate developer and visiting professor at KU Leuven and Jean-Christophe Vanderhaegen, managing director of Embuild Brussels.

The median price of detached or semi-detached model homes increased by 2%. For open-plan houses, prices increased by 2.5%. Apartments were 3.9% more expensive

The observation is clear: we are heading for an unprecedented housing crisis. But our political leaders seem to turn a deaf ear and the man on the street seems helpless. But if we do nothing, the right to (affordable) housing will be blocked. According to them, when the issue of housing is addressed, the debates remain superficial, even insignificant, and rarely go beyond the issues of bonuses and subsidies. To find a solution, experts are calling for an overhaul of the old rules and the introduction of a boundary-pushing approach“, we read.

According to them, all markets could suffer in the coming years. “Whether it is the social or private housing sector, the rental or acquisition market, the Brussels Capital Region, Flanders or Wallonia, the cause is common. Today it is striking that all our analyzes lead to the same conclusion: we are going to flounder! We are better off in the landlord market than other countries, but that’s where the comparison ends. In the Netherlands, the situation is even more desperate, with a total housing crisis. Some people actually live in shipping containers. Do we really want to get there?

This family project will offer three charming houses in a grandiose castle

Between rents exploding and purchase prices also rising, there is simply a fear that Belgium no longer offers enough housing for everyone. “Our country today has 75% owner-occupiers, 20% private tenants and 5% social tenants. But the landlord market is slowly but surely slowing down. Private tenants face increasing problems with affordability and quality, while social tenants face endless waiting lists. The problem: no holistic vision exists anymore. Housing policy is too often reduced to bonuses and registration fees. It hardly exceeds! However, housing concerns many aspects such as spatial planning, mobility, construction costs, drainage costs, biodiversity, accessibility, agricultural areas, anti-poverty, ageing, etc..”

Faced with the challenges of the coming years, no comprehensive plan seems to be on the table. “Our cities, long sources of innovation, are gradually finding themselves in narrow designs, forcing them to adopt a village mentality. Densification of housing? Yes, but not here. skyscraper? Yes, but not here“, they point.

A two-bedroom house 3D printed in just 18 hours in Porto, Portugal

In this election year, therefore, the signatories of this open letter believe that it is “it is high time to give shape to a more ambitious housing policy. Otherwise, there will be many victims of the joke: young people, single people, elderly people and especially those who are already at the bottom of the housing ladder.“.

With some examples to follow. “The political world must dare to try new experiments in housing. As in the case of the creation of Louvain-la-Neuve: the creation of a city from nothing. Or even better, like in the United States, create thousands of apartments, hundreds of houses, social housing, offices, hotels, etc. in two urban areas in no time. Create a relaxed regulatory framework to start various pilot projects and learn from them, whether positive or negative . It’s not impossible… or rather, it must be possible! Let’s dare to take drastic measures! Let’s dare to build higher and more compact, of course choose the right location and opt for public domain and quality green areas! Let’s dare to build social apartments from a truly social point of view and not just a financial one! Dare to create oxygen through taxation”, concludes this letter.

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