Flemish new-build houses more than 10 square meters larger compared to five years ago

Waregem/Ghent, July 2, 2024 – The median surface area of new-build houses in Flanders has increased by more than 10 square meters over the past five years. Meanwhile, the surface area of new-build apartments has hardly changed. This is evident from a study by the New Construction Barometer, an initiative by neighbourhood developer Matexi and real estate data platform Realo, which maps the price developments in the Belgian new-build real estate market.

The median surface area of new-build houses in Belgium has increased significantly in the past five years. In Flanders, the area increased from 162 m2 in 2019 to 173 m2 this year, and in Wallonia from 161 m2 to 168 m2. In Brussels, where new-build houses constitute a limited share in residential property, the median surface area dropped from 215 m2 in 2014 to 174 m2 in 2024. The largest houses in Flanders are found in Meise, with a median surface area of 320 m2, and the smallest in De Panne with 115 m2.

Furthermore, the study shows that there have been no significant shifts in the median surface area of new-build apartments in recent years. In Flanders, the median surface area of two-bedroom apartments is around 96 m2, in Brussels 95 m2, and in Wallonia 94 m2. Two-bedroom apartments make up the vast majority of the new-build apartment market, accounting for almost 60% of the offering in Flanders and Wallonia, and 50% in Brussels.

There are also clear differences in the surface area of new-build apartments between cities. Aalst, Hasselt, and Leuven offer the largest apartments on average, with a median surface area of 105 m2. In larger cities such as Brussels, Ghent, Leuven, and Bruges, you find a wider range of apartment types, catering to diverse target groups such as students, young families, and the elderly. For instance, the share of one-bedroom apartments in Brussels is about 24%, significantly higher than in Flanders and Wallonia, where around 20% of apartments have one bedroom. The smallest apartments are located in Knokke-Heist with a median surface area of 85 m2.

Kristoff De Winne, Acquisition & Development Director at Matexi: "The analysis of the surface areas of new-build houses and apartments once again shows the need for a fundamental shift in housing policy. Despite significant challenges in terms of urban densification, affordability, and the increase in single-person households, which should lead to smaller surface areas, in practice, new-build apartments are not getting smaller. The city and municipal administrations, which are responsible for setting minimum surface areas through local building codes, hold part of the solution."

Prices in the new construction market continue to rise in the second quarter of 2024

The results for the second quarter of 2024 indicate that the Belgian new-build market is still experiencing a rising price trend. The prices of an average new-build house and apartment rose by 2.60% and 3.97% on a yearly basis, respectively. This price evolution aligns with a rising trend that has been evident for some time.

Regarding apartments, the national figures on a yearly basis are mainly driven by developments in Brussels and Wallonia, where apartments respectively became 4.98% and 5.85% more expensive. In Flanders, the increase remained limited to 3.49%. For houses, the rise was relatively modest in both Flanders and Wallonia, at 2.57% in Flanders and 2.84% in Wallonia.

Compared to the first quarter of this year, prices rose by 1.39% (houses) and 0.73% (apartments). In Brussels, apartments became 1.74% more expensive this quarter, while they remained stable in Flanders and Wallonia with evolutions of respectively 0.69% and 0.38%. Houses became 2.59% more expensive in Wallonia, against a more modest rise of 1.15% in Flanders.

Fabrice Luyckx, Data Analyst at Realo: "In the past, we saw that the prices of new-build houses were largely determined by rising construction costs. Today, however, we see that construction costs have been stabilized for some time, and this could initially also be found in the prices of houses. Yet, houses are becoming more expensive again. Especially in Wallonia, this increase is clearly coming through. Possibly, the stabilization of interest rates since the beginning of the year plays a role, encouraging buyers to re-enter the market. Additionally, the decrease in additional supply might also play a role in rising prices."

Read all information from the New Build Barometer on the website.