Belgium’s rent surge: Brussels hits record highs

The year 2023 has seen an unprecedented surge in rental prices across Belgium, casting a spotlight on the challenges and shifts within the real estate market. Among the regions, Brussels stands out with staggering figures that have set new benchmarks for the cost of living in the Belgian capital. This article explores the dynamics behind this phenomenon, its implications for residents and the housing market, and potential pathways forward in addressing the escalating housing costs.

brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Unprecedented rise in rental costs

According to the annual barometer released by Federia, the Federation of Francophone Real Estate Agents in Belgium, rental prices have hit all-time highs in 2023. Brussels leads the charge with an average monthly rent of €800 for a studio, marking a significant milestone in the city’s real estate landscape.

The capital has experienced an 8.6% increase in rental prices in 2023, following a 3.9% rise in the previous year. The cost of renting an apartment now exceeds €1,200 per month, with terraced houses demanding more than €1,860. In particular, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre boasts the highest average rent for an apartment at €1,413, while areas like Laeken and Jette offer slightly more affordable options.

Drivers behind the rent explosion

Several factors contribute to this dramatic escalation in rental prices. Charlotte De Thaye, General Director of Federia, points to a significant shift in housing demand as many households have postponed or abandoned their home-buying plans due to high-interest rates and a tight market, turning instead to rentals. Furthermore, De Thaye criticizes certain policy measures by the Brussels government as restrictive and counterproductive, urging for an increase in affordable housing supply to meet the growing demand.

Wallonia and Flanders: A similar trend

The phenomenon is not confined to Brussels; both Flanders and Wallonia have witnessed their share of rent increases, with rates going up by 6.4% and 4.3%, respectively. The Walloon Brabant region is particularly affected, with an average rent for all types of housing reaching €1,084. Conversely, Hainaut offers more moderate conditions, with rents for apartments and terraced houses remaining below €800.

Implications and future outlook

The soaring rental prices in Belgium, especially in Brussels, have profound implications for the housing market and the broader socio-economic landscape. The affordability crisis puts considerable strain on residents, particularly young professionals and families, exacerbating the challenges of living in urban centers.

To address this issue, stakeholders, including the government, real estate developers, and housing advocates, must collaborate to enhance the supply of affordable housing. Strategies may include incentivizing the development of new rental properties, revising zoning regulations to allow for higher-density developments, and implementing policies that encourage the renovation and repurposing of existing buildings.

Moreover, there’s a need for a balanced approach to regulation that ensures tenant protection without discouraging investment in the rental market. Policies that strike this balance can help stabilize rental prices while ensuring that the market remains attractive to both landlords and tenants.


The rental market in Belgium, with Brussels at its epicenter, has reached a critical juncture. The steep increase in rental prices reflects broader trends affecting the real estate market globally, including rising demand, limited supply, and the impact of policy decisions. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach that includes increasing the housing supply, ensuring affordability, and fostering a healthy, dynamic rental market. As Belgium grapples with these issues, the actions taken today will shape the housing landscape for years to come, highlighting the importance of thoughtful, strategic responses to the current crisis.