Marketbeats Q1/2020: key analytics on Belgian real estate market – Nobody move! Cushman & Wakefield’s back with its quarterly marketbeat of the Belgian real estate market. Up next: First Quarter of 2020.
Delve into the key parameters of the local market. Zoom in on what’s what in industrial, office and retail real estate, and get your asset strategy up to speed with crucial insights into what’s happening today – and what might affect the market outlook next.
The spread of coronavirus in Europe and the containment measures imposed in Belgium should result in a severe decline in GDP growth for the first half of the year. Little economic data since the outbreak is available yet, so assessing the impact of the lockdown remains very challenging. Its consequences on the labourmarket, however, is considerable.
Unemployment is expected to soar, but includes mainly economic unemployment due to the virus. Furthermore, both consumer and business confidence are down. The negative economic outlook is expected to be sharp but short.
Semi-industrial activity was logically at a very subdued level in Q1 2020, on the back of a record quarter at the end of 2019.
A particularly slow start to the year with 75,000 sq m in logistics take-up comes in stark –albeit –unsurprising contrast with one of the best ever quarters recorded in Q4 2019. Almost 60% of take-up was directed towards Flanders with Brussels and Wallonia equally sharing the rest.
A handful of semi-industrial investments took place to total EUR 37 million in Q1.
With 41,000 sq m of take-up recorded in Q1 2020, regional markets demand is exactly in line with its quarterly average. More than 24,000 sq m were taken in Flanders, and take-up of more than 15,000 sq m in Wallonia, with almost all recorded activity located in Liège.
The investment market was equally in line with the quarterly average in Q1 with EUR 64 million invested across both Flanders and Wallonia.
In Brussels, letting activity during Q1 was relatively slow with approximately 50,000 sq m registered. Indeed, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have started to weigh on the demand.
On the investment front, the first quarter of 2020 saw, by far, the highest investment activity ever recorded with already over EUR 2 bn invested. Indeed, this includes the historical transaction of the Finance Tower.
With around 65,000 sqm of take-up recorded in Q1, the year started slowly and if the pandemic will last long, the impact on the letting market will be important. Every segment follows the same path as basically the activity stopped brutally mid-March 2020.
A low 100 MEUR were invested in the retail sector in Q1 2020, following a strong EUR 1bn recorded in 2019.
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