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Batibouw trade fair focuses on affordable living

Published on 22/02/2013

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Belgians to buy their own home. 57% of Belgians would not purchase or build a house without a the home bonus, i.e. the tax deduction on their mortage loan. One in two Belgians buys an existing home as a newly constructed home has become unrealistic. The dream home has therefore become virtually unaffordable for most. These are the findings of a survey commissioned by Reynaers Aluminium and was presented at the Batibouw building fair which opened yesterday. Almost two thirds of the respondents said that they had to lower their initial plans concerning the type of home, the surface area, finishings and comfort. This means that most of them have no choice but to buy an existing home instead of building one.  Home builder Blavier’s survey further shows that the younger generation finds it even harder. The economic crisis and the stricter conditions banks impose for mortgage loans have further exacerbated the situation. 32% of the respondents with plans to build admitted to having a budget of less than 250 000 euros. With building costs often exceeding this amount and with one in five prospective builders under the age of 35 opting to build a new home according to the survey, these financial obstacles make it especially difficult for them. 28% of the younger generation still manages to finance their projects via additional financial assistance from their parents or family and 18% via a loan from family or friends. The Reynaers survey indicates that the three government support measures that would be most welcome are dropping VAT to 6%, maintaining the home bonus tax deduction on mortgage loans and introducing a tax cut on loans for investments in energy-saving measures. Belfius and Triodos Bank have signed an agreement with Flemish energy and housing minister Freya Van den Bossche SP.A to offer a favourable rate to loan applicants who intend to build an energy-efficient home. This initiative is well-timed as Flemish Building Confederation calculations show that stricter regulations with regard to energy efficiency will cause costs for newly built homes to increase by about 8,500 euros.