Investing in real estate in Belgium has never been so coveted as it is now. While the crisis that we are going through insidiously casts its share of uncertainties on the majority of financial products, investing in property impertinently seems to bridge the sad times that confront us.
Rates of interest, the cornerstones of growth in demand for mortgage lending remain and will remain at their lowest for many years and the stability of the property market can only highlight its attractiveness.
All the traffic lights seem to be on green to reinforce the ravenous appetite of Belgian investors for property, who are seeking stability, asset diversification or even a boost to retirement savings.
However, if there are grounds for attaching a certain interest to property investment, the more than apparent fervour among a population, who can easily be said to have a love affair with property, clearly risks imbalancing a market already strongly affected by demand that is in constant growth, versus a supply that has dwindled. And if the need makes itself felt, the investor must arm himself as best he can before plunging heart and soul into a project that will surely weigh upon him over the long term. In fact, investing in real estate is like any investment: It is like becoming a hostage to fortune. It is speculating in the various perspectives offering themselves to us and relying on probable scenarios in the process of unfolding. Due to this fact and before contemplating any long-term property investment, it is always wise and crucial to take account of the three fundamental criteria for property as a financial product, namely:
- The location.
- The asset type.
- The energy performance rating.
Speculators would rather contemplate areas said to be “on the up”, or they put their faith in positive changes to the geographical area, in expectation of higher yields to come and considerable added value over the medium term. While the more conservative will only focus on already established districts, where little risk of falling values is to be foreseen and where the stability of the market can no longer be questioned. There is no good or bad profile for an investor. All depends on the expected prospects and in accordance with the latter, the choice of location will be determined.
The asset type
For example, an apartment of 300m2 with 1 bedroom will not attract the same range of candidates as a 100m2 apartment with 2 bedrooms, which will entice a larger group of prospects. Then again, a 4 bedroom house with 1 bathroom will not attract the same number of candidates as a 4 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms.
Before investing in real estate, there are therefore reasons to consider if it can quickly find a taker and whether at the optimum price.
The energy performance rating
This criterion will thus have an impact in years to come, while at the moment, it seems rather marginal. However and while considering that the property is a long-term investment, it would be wise from now on to ascribe standards to the building to predict the best performances in terms of yield and added value.
Finally, investing in real estate in Belgium is certainly taking a bet on the future. It is therefore essential adequately to consider those three criteria stated above in accordance with current trends, but also for those to come. Furthermore, it is important to consider each criterion without skimping on the two others, as it is all three being in harmony that will create the greatly coveted value and yield.