International Survey CENTURY 21 BENELUX: what will 250,000 euros buy you around the world?
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Belgian buyers are still getting value for money
As it does every year, real estate organization CENTURY 21 BENELUX held an international survey to answer the question of what sort of real estate 250.000 euros will buy today. Remarkably, our country still scores well in comparison to our neighbours with regard to the price/quality ratio: for 250.000 euros, you still get your money's worth. "The Belgian housing market's problem isn't quality of living," states Geoffroy de Wilde, director-general of CENTURY 21 BENELUX. "It's the tougher constraints on credit and the dwindling purchasing power which are causing an increasing affordability issue."
The past year, the average price of an ordinary home in our country fluctuated around 195,000 euros, just about the same figure as at that time last year. So in 2014, if you have a budget of 250,000 euros, you can find a reasonable-quality home. For that price, however, buyers will always have to make some sacrifices, either with regard to location, surface area or finish. For instance, a well-located home with a 250,000-euro price tag often requires some "freshening up"; similarly, a ready-to-move-in home will frequently have a smaller surface area. Generally, price and quality are in proportion, especially when compared to the neighbouring countries.
These are the results of CENTURY 21 BENELUX's international study. In Belgium, in practice, you'll find a nice, well-renovated 141-m² terraced house in Mechelen on the edge of town for some 250,000 euros. As Belgian homes go, more of a "compact" house than a large one, but move-in-ready and in a very central location in Belgium. In Leuven, the situation is analogous: for the same price you'll find a 150-m² single-family home, which still requires some renovation work; however, it is a detached house.
South of the language border, you'll often get more bang for your buck. Especially if you go further into Wallonia. Near Jodoigne, on the language border with Flanders, you'll find a nicely-finished family home with a garage, a spacious garden, a pond, a swimming pool, and even solar panels for 250,000 euros. In Dinant, you can buy a charming 366 m² city home with wide-ranging opportunities with regard to, for example, running a B&B. Or: a charming 186-m² 5-bedroom villa with a view of the countryside.
30-m² studio in London
Compared to Belgium, buyers from neighbouring countries often have to settle for less. That's especially true for the more urban regions. In Ormesson sur Marne, near Paris, 250,000 euros will buy you a 56-m² two-bedroom detached home, which still needs some work. For the same sum, you'll find a 30-m² studio in London and an old, semi-detached 100-m² home with three bedrooms in Liverpool.
If we extend our horizons somewhat, we get a highly variegated picture. In Beijing, 250,000 euros will buy you a 40-m² studio. It's small, but it does have hotel service. In Mexico, you'll be able to find a spacious 250-m² 3-bedroom home in a residential area, including 3 garages and a 220-m² garden. In a city like Prague, in turn, the same amount will buy you a 154-m², 5-bedroom family home with a private lake.
Correct price/quality ratio
According to Geoffroy de Wilde, top executive at CENTURY 21 BENELUX, the study proves that Belgians are still getting their money's worth when they buy a home. "Throughout the world, we're not unique in this, but in our region, this situation is slowly but surely becoming exceptional," says de Wilde. "If we want to hold on to that correct price/quality ratio, it's essential that the government continue to stimulate property acquisition. After all, Belgians are still buying homes as a long-term investment rather than as a form of speculation. So far, this still ensures a high-quality supply in the housing market, as far as both materials and surface area are concerned."
According to the top executive of CENTURY 21 BENELUX, if we complain about the real estate market in Belgium, it's not because we're not getting value for money, but because of the high pressure at the time of purchase. "Credit conditions are stricter, the own contribution is becoming more and more important, and furthermore, registration fees are higher here than anywhere else in Europe. Purchasing a home is no longer self-evident. Therefore, we can only call on the governments in this country to take the necessary measures. Starting with a reduction of the registration fees."
For more information as well as interview requests
Century 21 Benelux
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Bereal (Bepublic subsidiary specialized in real estate communication)
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See appendix 2 for the selected homes, including characteristics and pictures. Please let us know if you would like to receive higher-resolution versions of the pictures.