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Antwerp and Brussels, the most important logistical centres in Belgium

As far as logistical property sites and storage facilities are concerned, Brussels still leads the field in Belgium, followed closely by Antwerp. However, this situation now seems likely to change in favour of Antwerp. In particular, two specific factors are set to play an important role: the decline of the number of suitable sites in Brussels and the relatively low property prices in Antwerp: up to 25% cheaper than in the capital. These are the key conclusions to emerge from a cross-Europe study carried out by property analysts DTZ Jean-Thouard.

According to this study, the Belgian property market has expanded dramatically during the last 20 years. For many buyers and lessees, Belgium has a preferential location at the very heart of Europe. The level of taxation in comparison with neighbouring lands is another consideration which has led many foreigners to move to Belgium.

The Brussels area remains the most important logistical pole, but its lead over Antwerp is small. In general logistical terms, Belgium possesses a so-called “golden triangle”, whose corners are situated at Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent.

As far as the future is concerned, the analysts at DTZ Jean-Thouard predict the growth of a further strong pole between Antwerp and Mechelen. The study concludes that this region is ideally suited to attract further logistical developments, thank to its greater availability of suitable sites, its lower prices and its wide range of fiscal incentives. Moreover, this part of Belgium has an efficient and effective transport infrastructure, with regional airports and well-developed road and rail networks.

The logistical property sector underwent few major changes in 2001. Rents remained more or less at the same levels as in 2000, amounting to 62 Euro per m²/year near Zaventem and 47 Euro per m²/year in the Antwerp district. This gives Antwerp a competitive advantage of some 25%.

The prices currently operating on the Belgian market are comparable with those in other neighbouring countries. In Germany rates vary between 60-72 Euro per m²/year and in the Netherlands between 61-73 Euro per m²/year. The French market has shown a strong upward trend in recent years, with rents rising by more than 20% during the period 1998-2000. This compares with 3-10% in other European lands.

Reported by
16 March 2002

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