Our team of local Research experts give you the lowdown on all the latest Belgian commercial real estate market trends and outlook.
Cushman & Wakefield’s MarketBeat series leverages compelling in-house datasets and market-leading knowledge to provide all the latest coverage and analysis of activity across Belgium’s office, retail and industrial real estate sectors. Every quarter our MarketBeat reports dissect the occupier and investment markets, delivering insight into supply, demand and pricing trends at market and submarket levels.
Economic conditions have suffered throughout the year in the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine. Europe is significantly impacted due to its reliance on energy imports. To fight soaring inflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) have passed successive rate hikes. While GDP held up well this year, price pressures have reached a high and a recession is looming. As a result, GDP growth is expected to drop to 1.1% in 2023. However, we anticipate just a little slowdown because Europe has already managed to reduce Russian gas imports without disrupting activity and is expected to gain from the same post-pandemic improvements.
In Q4, 84,000 sq m of take-up has been recorded, which brings the total in 2022 to 315,000 sq m.
In the last quarter of 2022, more than 500 MEUR was invested on the Brussels office market which brings the total invested volume for the year to approximatively EUR 3 bn, a record year for the investment market despite turbulent market conditions.
Rising rates have pushed up property yields, causing values to decline. Despite the rise in prime office yields, the spread with bond yields remains historically low, indicating further potential declines in property values.DOWNLOAD
Despite a minor (5%) decline in the total take-up for Flanders from the previous quarter, demand has continued to outpace the average take-up with 53,000 sq m recorded. The latter takes the total for 2022 in Flanders to 189,000 sq m.
Q4 witnessed six deals across regional markets which brings the total to 34 deals in 2022. The total recorded investment volume in Q4 was EUR 193 million, bringing the total to EUR 517 million for the year. Despite a slower occupational market, the regional investment market performed strongly compared to previous years.
Inflation remains a highly important matter in multiple industries. The ECB has raised its policy rate with another 50 bps in December, after raising it three times during the last two quarters to fight inflation.
Letting activity reached new summits in Q4 2022 with close to 230,000 sq m of take-up recorded, namely thanks to important transactions in the Out-of-Town Retail segment.
Thanks to a strong year-end, the total invested volumes in 2022 finally reached more than 730 MEUR. More than 100 deals were witnessed all over the year, the highest level since 2018.
The European Central Bank increased for the third time since July 2022 its base interest rate by 50 bps in December 2022. As a result, the main refinancing rate stands currently at 2.5% and this represents the highest increase since the creation of the Euro currency in 1999.
The semi-industrial take-up has not been able to match the level of 2021. The take-up for the Q4 is 399,000 sq m, bringing the total for 2022 to 1,131,000 sq m. Although 2022 had a lower take-up than 2021, this does not necessarily mean that 2022 was less successful.
The demand for logistic has increased in Q4 with 285,000 sq m, to reach a total of 1,192,000 sq m for 2022.
In Q4, no notable investment transaction was recorded in both semi-industrial and the logistic markets. Despite the slowdown from Q3 on, the first two quarters showed unprecedented investment volumes.
The uncertainty is still present as a result of the current economic situation. With time, the commercial real estate market started to adjust to these conditions, as evidenced by the slowdown in the fourth quarter. The prime yields for semi-industrial and logistic assets have been impacted by the higher interest rates that the European Central Bank decided to implement to combat inflation.