“Interest rates are very high, house prices maddening”: the struggle of young Belgians to become homeowners

“Interest rates are very high, house prices maddening”: the struggle of young Belgians to become homeowners

With an average interest rate of 4% for a mortgage and a deposit often required, it is not easy for everyone to become a homeowner in Belgium, even if the income is there.

The down payment necessary to obtain a mortgage, combined with high house prices and high interest rates, prevent many people – young couples in particular – from becoming homeowners in Belgium.

The equity required by banks for a first purchase of real estate is around 10%, to which must be added the 12% tax. For example, for a property at €200,000 an initial sum of €45,000 to be paid before obtaining the loan. Many young people do not have this amount.

Currently, the interest rate for a loan of €200,000 over 20 years is on average 4%. It was 1.5% 6 months ago.

Real estate prices also remain high in the country. According to Statbel data, the Belgian statistical office, on the basis of deeds of sale registered with the FPS Finances, the median price for a house with two or three facades amounted to €260,000, compared to €245,000 in 2021 (+6 %). According to Philippe Ledent, economist at ING, this increase is notably due to “investors with means present on the real estate market which push the prices upwards”.

“We will have to tighten our belts”

Amandine, 23, is a teacher and her husband works in human resources. Despite stable incomes, the couple encounters certain difficulties in becoming homeowners. “Interest rates are very high, house prices are frankly maddening…”she observes. The young woman does not give up and remains optimistic to carry out her project: to buy her house. “We’re going to have to tighten our belts, we’re budgeting for everything, we’ll be able to reach our goal, we’re putting a lot of money aside every month. We’re not going to say that we’re depriving ourselves, but we’re still being careful. ..”

But let Amandine reassure herself: the situation could soon change. According to projections by Philippe Ledent, “long rates will not increase much” and “property prices could decrease a little bit”.

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