The residential real estate market plays a significant role in the Belgian economy and in the Belgian financial system as it closely interconnects financial institutions, households, and the real economy. Many past financial crises have shown that unsustainable developments in residential real estate markets can be the source of financial sector vulnerabilities and crises, requiring close monitoring and – if necessary – macroprudential measures to identify and address emerging imbalances. The article summarises the main elements of the presentation “Residentieel vastgoed en financiële stabiliteit” (Financieel Forum Oost-Vlaanderen, 30 mei 2022) which, in turn, was a preview of the National Bank of Belgium’s Financial Stability Report published on 7 June 2022.
A thematic article in this publication provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of recent developments in the Belgian residential real estate market. The Financial Stability Report also provides an update on the rationale and effectiveness of the macroprudential measures that the National Bank of Belgium has taken to mitigate risks to financial stability linked to the Belgian financial sector’s significant exposure to the housing market. It shows amongst other things that the Bank’s prudential expectations for mortgage lending standards, introduced in 2020, seem to have achieved their dual objective: reducing the share of riskier loans in new mortgage loan production while maintaining access to credit for solvent borrowers, including (young) first-time buyers.
ERA, the Belgian market leader in the residential real estate sector, with 25+ years’ experience in developing consumer-oriented products and services, and 250+ new construction projects has carried out more than 10,000 transactions in 2021, including some 6,500 sales and 3,500 rentals. ERA has a network of 130+ agencies with more than 550 local professionals to make the residential dreams of their customers come true by selling, buying or renting their home. Moreover, our company's growth ambitions will expand the office network even more to 150 agencies by 2025 to be close to our customers. With our extensive knowledge of the local real estate market, we are also an interesting partner for developers and investors to reach the right local customers for their projects.
We share our expertise, among others, in our annual ERA Barometer, which is an analysis of the evolution of the housing market and residential prices, based on our huge database of figures from the past 10 years of the Belgian real estate market. Next to that our CEO Johan Krijgsman shares his knowledge in multiple media interviews. In his recent interview on Trends Talk from Kanaal Z, he elaborated his view on the affordability of housing in the current market.
ERA’s headquarters are situated on the biggest marketplace of Belgium, in Sint-Niklaas, in Huis Myle, a renovated listed historic monument bought and restored by CEO Johan Krijgsman and his partners after almost two decades of vacancy. More information can be found at ERA.BE.
“Everybody deserves a great place to live”, the just cause of Matexi for more than 75 years. As a neighbourhood developer Matexi creates real estate projects that meet the needs of the present, without jeopardising those of future generations. Each project contributes to a more sustainable society by adding value to the neighbourhood that inspires to make more of life together and offering affordable future-oriented housing to the customers who will live there.
Matexi is a real estate transformer ‘par excellence’. The neighbourhood developer acquires land and neighbourhood sites - increasingly, derelict industrial land, old factory buildings and vacant office buildings - and transforms these into great places to live, in close interaction with all stakeholders involved.
This process requires a substantial investment of people and resources. Even though these may be challenging times for the real estate sector, due to the energy crisis, rising material costs and high inflation, the need for additional comfortable, energy-efficient, and affordable housing remains high. With major price reductions not to be expected any time soon, the neighbourhood developer underlines there is a glass ceiling to the rising material cost and interest rates that the real estate sector can bear.
This is the keynote speech given by Karel Baert, CEO of Febelfin, during the event “The Search for Talent in the Financial Sector” (Brussels, 29 June 2022) organised by the Belgian Finance Centre (BFC) in close collaboration with Assuralia and Febelfin.
Op 29 juni 2022 organiseerde het Belgian Finance Centre (BFC) in samenwerking met Assuralia en Febelfin, een grote debatavond met als focus "The Search for Talent in the Financial Sector". Karel Baert, CEO van Febelfin, was de keynote spreker op het evenement. Dit artikel is een samenvatting van de highlights van het panelgesprek.
De Autoriteit voor Financiële Diensten en Markten (FSMA) publiceerde op 23 juni 2022 haar jaarverslag. Naar aanleiding daarvan organiseerde de FSMA een Webinar over recente evoluties in haar toezicht en controletechnieken. Het Webinar, waarvoor ruim 2.000 personen zich inschreven, focuste op twee grote onderwerpen: de vastgestelde evoluties en verbeterpunten qua toepassing van de MiFID-wetgeving en een innovatieve opsporingstechniek van zogenaamde Closet Indexing.
This article summarizes the key-messages of the presentations given by Freddy Van den Spiegel (Professor VUB), Gert Peersman (Professor University Ghent) and Bruno Colmant (Partner Roland Berger) during the BFF Webinar ‘Towards a “new normal” for the monetary system?’ on 20 May 2022.
The debt which is acquired by the ECB under the PSPP is de facto already mutualized. The ECB could transform the liquidity surplus that has resulted from its purchasing programmes into new tradeable securities. The issuance of securities by a central bank is a market friendly instrument of open market operations, which already is used by many central banks all over the world. This would be a much smoother way of reducing bank liquidity than the other option: reselling its portfolio of bonds acquired under the PSPP. Second, a sizeable issue of ECB-securities will create a deep and liquid market for EMU-wide common safe assets, which gives the ECB the opportunity to conduct its open-market operations in the future exclusively in its own securities. Moreover, the presence of a well-developed market in a European common safe asset would greatly reduce the fragmentation risk of the eurozone. The debt acquired under the PSPP could remain on the Eurosystem’s balance sheet into eternity, meaning that the relevant public debt ratios of all member states decline substantially. To eliminate public hazard and to make sure that this de facto bail-out will never be repeated, it should be included in the TFEU that in the future the ECB is no longer allowed to purchase public debt of any member state. This is the package deal: member states must accept a much stronger EMU with more market discipline and a well-developed market in common safe assets. The bonus: a reduction of public debt ratios by approximately 25%.
The Towards Sustainability Initiative has engaged more than 100 financial institutions from over 10 countries to take their sustainable product offerings to the next level. End 2021, more than 700 products have achieved the Towards Sustainability label, representing 550 billion EUR of European and international assets managed according to the Towards Sustainability Quality Standard. In just two years since its launch end 2019, the Towards Sustainability label has become the market standard and benchmark for sustainable financial products in Belgium and increasingly also in many other European countries. Towards Sustainability has deliberately chosen to be a broad label, which aims to make its impact by appealing to a large group of diverse financial institutions on the one hand and being suitable for retail and institutional investors with different profiles on the other hand. In this way, it aims to gradually make the entire market of financial products more sustainable.
Anyone can invest sustainably. And it doesn't have to be complicated, nor does it require a lot of money. Those are the convictions of Siem de Ruijter (UCLL) and Jasper Vekeman (VFB) that led them to launch Duurzaam Beleggen Academy (Sustainable Investment Academy) earlier this year with a new e-learning platform and website. Their mission is to train as many people as possible in sustainable investing to put them on the road to a more sustainable financial life. The standard training, build on webinars and e-learning, aims for a retail audience. In addition, the Academy organizes special sessions, live or online, tailored for finance professionals.