Press release: Building land more than a quarter more expensive since 2019
Building land prices in Belgium have increased by 27% since 2019, reaching 180 euros per square meter, mainly due to exceptional price hikes in 2020 and 2021. Significant differences still exist between the regions. Analyses from the real estate data platform Realo provide new insights into the price evolution of building land in Belgium, as no data is available after 2014.
Despite the cooling of the housing market, where prices have remained relatively stable for a year, the price of building land increased by an additional 3.5% in 2022. However, it's the preceding years that saw the price of building land skyrocket. Since 2019, the price of building land in Belgium has risen by a staggering 27%, while apartments and houses increased by 15% and 17% respectively during the same period. Particularly, the years 2020 and 2021 were exceptional for building land prices, with annual increases exceeding 8%. In comparison, the price of building land only rose by 6% throughout the whole period from 2014 to 2019.
Fabrice Luyckx, data analyst at Realo: "In 2023, prices didn't increase further, but we expect this to be a temporary phenomenon, as the prices of building land are projected to rise further due to increasing scarcity in the market. Since the 1990s, the number of available building plots on the market has been consistently declining at a steady pace in both Flanders and Wallonia. Furthermore, the announced 'bouwshift' in Flanders will lead to fewer parcels being used as building land, further intensifying market pressure."
Wallonia: more land for less money
Today, a building plot in Belgium costs 180 euros per square meter. There are significant differences between the regions: in Flanders, a building plot in the second quarter of this year cost 245 euros per square meter, whereas in Wallonia, it was only 114 euros. Moreover, building plots in Wallonia are generally much larger: an average building plot in Wallonia is nearly 1200 square meters in size, while building plots in Flanders are typically around 725 square meters. Both regions experienced a relatively similar price trend in recent years, but the period 2020-2021 was particularly exceptional in Wallonia with annual price increases of 10%. In the Brussels-Capital Region, there are not enough building plots available to share meaningful figures.
Just like in the housing market, the Flemish Diamond (Brussels - Antwerp - Ghent - Leuven) remains the most expensive area in Belgium to purchase building land. It's noteworthy that building land in East Flanders costs nearly as much as in the typically pricier Flemish Brabant (273 euros per square meter). Prices in Limburg are significantly lower than the rest of the Flemish Region at 176 euros per square meter. In Wallonia, relatively higher prices are observed in Hainaut (averaging 110 euros per square meter), while the province consistently ranks as the cheapest in the housing market. The province of Namur is now the least expensive at 87 euros per square meter.
No data available after 2014
The figures provide a significant addition to the publicly available data on building land. Statbel, the statistical office of Belgium, no longer publishes building land prices after 2014, according to its own statements because it's impossible to distinguish between building land and other types of land (agricultural land, forest land, industrial land, etc.) in the available data. Additionally, these figures are not transparent regarding the characteristics of the sold building plots, which means that atypical building land cannot be taken into account.
Realo's analyses use data on building land from 2014 onwards and also take into account the characteristics of building plots, such as size, location, accessibility, and shape. As a result, these new figures provide valuable supplementary data to the currently available information and can also create a more objective view of price trends.
More expensive building land pushes up new-build prices
The sustained increase in building land prices partly explains why new construction prices did not decrease while the rest of the housing market cooled down. The latest figures from the New-Build Barometer, published by Realo in collaboration with neighbourhood developer Matexi, revealed that new construction apartments increased by 4.74% in a year, and new construction houses by 6.57%. Besides the increased construction costs, developers also have to factor in the expense of more expensive building land.