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Brussels market still restructuring

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A noticeable decrease in take-up characterised 2013, with a total of some 330,000 m² in Brussels and its periphery, down by 17.5% compared to the previous year and substantially below the ten year average of around 500,000 m² annually. Despite the decrease in take-up, the vacancy level has stabilised at around 10%. Various factors appear to indicate an improvement in the vacancy situation for 2014.

The considerable decrease in take-up is essentially translated by a decrease in the average surface area taken up (around 845 m²), while the number of transactions remained stable compared with 2012. The lack of activity from the public sector also needs pointing out here, as it decreased by almost 35% compared to the previous year. A few sizeable transactions enabled take-up to be less disastrous than it might have been. Among these are 40,500 m² in the Square de Meeus by the European Parliament, 34,000 m² by Deloitte in Gateway at the airport in Zaventem, 17,600 m² by Axa Belgium in Marnix 1.

Despite this decrease in take-up, vacancy has stabilised at around 10% for the whole of the Brussels market. While it has remained low in the central districts (6.4%) – which is a positive factor in view of the fact that these districts account for almost three quarters of the stock – vacancy continues to hover around very high levels – some 22% – on the periphery.

There are many signs which appear to point to an improvement in vacancy for 2014: an improvement in the economic situation, even if it remains fragile, greater demand from the national and international public sectors, along with the low level of new buildings set to come to the market in 2014 (just 39,000 m² which is not yet pre-let). Quality buildings remain the most sought-after by occupants and investors but they are few and far between and this situation is not expected to improve until after 2016.

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 | 05-07-14



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