Whereas the coronavirus pandemic spurred some Antwerp residents to flee to the suburbs or rural areas, “we undoubtedly didn’t see a panic, and comparatively few individuals made the Hamptons resolution,” stated Mr. de Ruiter, referring to everlasting strikes by some prosperous New Yorkers to Lengthy Island enclaves. “Belgian persons are extra laid again. The perspective was, ‘Let’s sit this out and see what occurs.’” The town’s property market remained resilient consequently, he stated.
Based on StatBel, the pandemic “had a restricted impression on the variety of property transactions” in 2020, with the lowered gross sales quantity “offset by a powerful fourth quarter.” In Antwerp, transactions fell 12 months over 12 months from 3,502 houses offered in 2019 to 2,422 in 2020. As Covid restrictions recede, 2021 has been busy for brokers. First-quarter 2021 house gross sales elevated by 14.7 % in Antwerp and 11.2 % nationally, in keeping with notaris.be, the affiliation of Belgian notaries.
Demand for gardens and outside terraces has been the pandemic’s most important impact on Antwerp’s property market, stated Mr. Vertommen, the itemizing agent. “Irrespective of how a lot cash they’ve, everyone seems to be seeking to improve their main residence to incorporate some outside area,” he stated. “Earlier than the pandemic, it was parking areas. Now, it’s gardens or terraces.”
Who Buys in Antwerp
Antwerp’s property market is “80 % native and Belgian consumers,” Mr. de Ruiter stated. International consumers largely come from the Netherlands, drawn by the shared language and decrease housing costs. North American consumers are “incidental,” Mr. de Ruiter stated.
Frederic van Bleek, the chief director of Engel & Volkers Antwerp, stated he has seen a rise in purchases by expatriate Belgians returning house after the pandemic. “They’re on the lookout for safety, and so they wish to purchase their essential home within the metropolis,” he stated.
Mr. Vertommen, the itemizing agent, stated that whereas most of his international consumers are Dutch, he has offered to Israeli, Lebanese and German purchasers, who are sometimes linked to Antwerp’s diamond trade.