UpperKey is the all-in rental management service. Whether you’re an existing apartment owner or considering an investment into the Brussels property market, we’re here to help you maximise your revenues while reducing the effort on your behalf. Presenting a guaranteed rent system as standard, our clients know exactly where they stand. And once you’ve been introduced to the level of service, care and attention we take at every step, you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was worth managing your property any other way.
Brussels: Multicultural marvels and treasures on every corner
Don’t ever be fooled into thinking Brussels is just a simple hotspot for tourists sampling chocolate and beer. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t, as they really are masters in both camps, but there’s far more to this beautiful city than for just those few things it's typically credited.
Packed with outstanding architecture from a multitude of periods, over 90 museums, art galleries at every junction, incredible food and a vastly diverse and lively nightlife—Brussels is a fantastic city to visit, to live in or to develop a future.
With so many notable points of interest, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just another run-of-the-mill tourist playground. Yet, Brussels is a significant city that means serious business. It’s the main base of operations for the European Union, after all.
Offering property prices that are significantly lower than other major European capitals, is Brussels now where the smart investor is expanding their portfolio?
Property investment in Brussels
Brussels is the dependable boyfriend of the European property market. It’s strong, silent and stable. Dependable. The prices of property in this capital city didn’t stumble during recent financial crises; their market yields are superior to those of its similar kind, and it’s stood up to the test of time. It has great connectivity. It’s safe and yet still fascinating. It’s steeped in history but has a very modern chic city vibe. Brussels property market may not rock the boat with gasp-worthy news but does provide an exceptionally reliable market for investors.
Renting an apartment in Brussels
When it comes to renting an apartment in Brussels, or indeed, Belgium, the leases are long and favour the tenant. Their contracts come with their quirks—a 9-year term being the standard, for example—so if you’re going to enter the market, you’d be wise to understand just how they work.
Short or long term lease?
In Belgium, even a short-term lease can last up to 3 years. However, they impose penalties for early notice, so in many cases, it often makes more sense to enter into the more standard 9-year option that provides better flexibility.
A lease for life
Long-term contracts last from 9 to 25 years—sometimes ‘for life’—and offer less severe penalties for early release. Where a short-term lease will require payment for the full term of contracted stay, a standard lease would let you escape offering only 3 months’ notice and paying only 3 months’ rent. After the first 4 years of your standard lease, you can leave penalty-free, even when breaking your contract. Alternatively, the landlord will have to pay a penalty of several months’ rent when they give a tenant notice to leave.
Leasing furnished apartments in Brussels
Leasing furnished apartments is a good option for both the visitor and landlord. Unlike a private lease, the property is managed, so the visitor always has a point of contact for questions, services and support. The bulk of furnished apartments in Brussels are those with a service package. The location and typical visitor lends itself primarily to holiday rentals and short-term visits. Due to the business and industry within the city, those same serviced-property-rentals lend themselves just as well to the businessman operating between multinational operation locations.
Apartments or houses?
Given that Brussels covers a diameter of around only 20km, it’s a relatively small area for its excess of a million residents. The city population dictates the majority of its housing being apartment blocks, or old townhouses split into apartments. Belgians are typically a nation of homeowners. Only around 30% rent their property; yet, once you arrive in the capital that number doubles. Obviously, tourism plays a large part in those figures. Also, the number of expats entering the city for a shorter term or retiring to the province adds to the tally. Brussels does have its share of town-houses, most situated in the more wealthy areas as that type of space comes at a premium, but offers primarily apartment-based living, for its steady turnover of available renters.
Property & Rental Values in Brussels
How much money do you need to buy an apartment in Brussels? Given average apartment prices, buyers will need around £2.7k per square meter (€3.2k) to buy into Brussels’ property market. The lowest-priced properties currently stand at just over £2k/m2 with the top end at almost £3.5k/m2. (€2.5k–€4k)
Typical rental prices in Brussels
A single bedroom apartment in the city centre offers an average rent of around £847 /month. (€1000)
The bottom end of the market offers one-bed apartments at £640/month and top-end prices of around £1100/month. (€750–€1,3K)
A three-bedroom apartment in the city centre will achieve an average rent of around £1.8K/ month. (€2,2K)
At the time of writing, Brussels’ three-bed apartment rentals ranged from £1k to £1.5k per month. (€1.2k–€1.7k)
UpperKey works efficiently and effectively to provide great value, but also to maximise profit. By offering the generous guaranteed rent system Brussels apartment owners need, within current market prices, we’re confident that we’re the best you’ll find.
Brussels’ favourite ‘work, rest and play’ districts
It doesn’t matter whether guests are visiting Brussels on holiday or considering a permanent move, picking the right district to make their base depends entirely on the experience they’re looking for. Getting around Brussels is simple. Public transport links are many and well managed, even for those who’d prefer to live further from the city centre and entertain a longer commute to the heart of the action.
The 19 Communes of Brussels
Belgium seems to have a wild desire to confuse visitors with its geography. Not only is Brussels the name of one of the 3 regions of Belgium, but it’s also the name of one of the 19 districts (or communes) that feature within. And to make things even more confusing, the largest of the 19 districts is also called Brussels. In a vague attempt to simplify matters, this district is widely referred to as Brussels City. So, there is that, at least. It still makes understanding what someone really means when they refer to ‘Brussels’ rather complicated until it all finally falls into place.
The city offers a quality lifestyle, mild weather, excellent education and healthcare benefits. Each region and commune has its own government leaders, as well as character, desirability and cost.
2. Oudergem / Auderghem
3. Sint-Agatha-Berchem / Berchem-Sainte-Agathe
4. Sint-Joost-ten-Node / Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
9. Elsene / Ixelles
11. Vorst / Forest
12. Sint-Jans-Molenbeek / Molenbeek-Saint-Jean
13. Sint-Gillis / Saint-Gilles
14. City of Brussels
15. Schaarbeek / Schaerbeek
16. Ukkel / Uccle
17. Watermaal-Bosvoorde / Watermael-Boitsfort
18. Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe / Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
19. Sint-Pieters-Woluwe / Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
Where are the best places to live and stay in Brussels?
If you’ve already entered the property market of Brussels, you’ll have done your research—and exploration—and should know precisely the kind of opportunities and guests made available for your apartment(s). New or potential investors should consider the many areas and their investment options seriously; understanding who will be attracted to each district and the potential that each market delivers.
Brussels City Centre – the best stay for first-time visitors
The heart of Brussels operates around Grand Place. It also has the highest number of visitor attractions including the Royal Palace, multiple museums, the Brussels Stock Exchange and a wealth of nightlife attractions. Ideally, for short stays or weekends, the Brussels visitor wants to be as close to the action as possible, so the city centre is the prime estate.
With excellent links from the airport through to the main train station, you could easily walk to your hotel—or anywhere else. Brussels is the perfect size for exploring on foot. Whether the visitor is dipping into the tourist traps, the culture, the nightlife, or a short-term work visit, nobody is ever disappointed with their stay in the city.
Sablon – for visitors seeking less of the typical tourism and a little more of the real Brussels
Visitors will find plenty of Brussels’ renowned culinary and chocolate delights here, an abundance of European charm. Yet, they won’t be buried in quite so much of the city centre’s souvenir shops and waffle stands. Take your choice of the Grand Sablon or Petit Sablon squares; sit back and soak up the culture with perhaps one of Belgium’s world-famous beers. Sablon is a top choice for anyone looking to slip a little bit further away from the abundance of traditional tourists.
Les Morolles – a haven for vibrant nightlife
One of the oldest areas of Brussels, Les Marolles is increasing in popularity and status. There are fewer tourist areas, as Les Marolles is primarily residential. However, it’s popularity due to the flea markets and antique stores present a different type of visit than other more touristy areas offer. Les Morolles is a great place to see how locals really live, especially when you consider that this area has some of the best nightclubs in the city.
Saint Gilles – steeped in art, culture and the youth of Brussels
Saint Gilles is a prominently Bohemian neighbourhood, so it's one of the more popular areas with younger visitors to the city. If you love art and culture, then Saint Gilles is for you. Rents and accommodation can be more affordable, being further from the prime tourist attractions. The calendar is always brimming with things to do and see for the musician, writer, and artist in everyone. The other distinct advantage for visitors is that its location makes it close-by and handy for all the other visit-worthy areas. It’s an ideal base of operations neighbourhood.
Avenue Louise – for those travelling on a budget
Despite being an affluent area, full of fine dining and some of the more glamorous shopping Boulevards in Brussels, Avenue Louise is still a suitable option to find a reasonably priced place to stay. This is a more modern Brussels—close by and similar in feel to its neighbour, the European Quarter. Whatever the visitor’s budget, they’ll find cafes, restaurants, bars and shops to suit their pocket.
Ixelles – creative culture and student city nightlife
Close by to Avenue Louise is trendy Ixelles. For a district that houses 2 universities, it’s no surprise that the atmosphere is young, hip and arty. There are plenty of parks for the artists and writers to sprawl out and picnic. And of course, with more younger residents, affordable nightlife is abundant too. The area is one of Brussels’ most expensive. Chic style and townhouse living, trendy bars and restaurants, make Ixelles the affluent ‘village inside the city’.
Saint Gery – the true centre of café life in Brussels
Saint Gery is the foodies’ haven. During the summer months, pop-up cafés materialise from nowhere, and residents gather for live music performances in the streets. Saint Gery is another Brussels area renowned for its active nightlife. Also worth a mention, and a visit, is the bar and exhibition centre in the converted indoor market Les Halles Saint Gery.
Koekelberg – the family-friendly option for visitors to Brussels
Escaping the city centre, Koekelberg is off the beaten tourist path. It’s around 30 minutes from the city centre, but for visitors looking for a quiet residential area with plenty available for the kids, this provides an excellent base. When you get bored of the Belgian Chocolate Village (who could ever get tired of Belgian chocolate?), or the Brussels Aquarium, there are still plenty of activities nearby, and alternative destinations easily reached using the excellent public transport.
Schaerbeek – peace and quiet for culture-loving explorers
Schaerbeek offers its visitors a handful of peaceful attractions, just like its botanicals gardens. It’s a multicultural locality, providing a real mixture of market sights and smells.
With a large population of North African, Eastern European, Asian and Turkish immigrants, it all adds to the feel and culture of the area, and the selection of fabulous cuisine available. But be careful—Schaerbeek is also the home of Brussels’ red light district, so some of the streets can be a little shadier than you’d enjoy, especially if you drift in by accident at night.
Tourist numbers for the city
According to recent figures, Brussels broke all records for tourism in 2019. Its increase in city centre overnight stays rose by an outstanding 11%. Tourism in Brussels rose from 8.8 million in 2019 to 9.4 million guests this year. That’s a very significant increase of 7%.
International tourism in Europe dipped over the past decade; tainted by terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and further attacks in Brussels and Zaventem in 2016. The figures show that confidence is growing, but that’s not the real reason for its recent success.
The number of conferences held in and around Brussels hit record numbers last year, bringing with them a record number of business tourists. Pleasure tourism is still the main draw for the area, but this increase in business tourism isn’t too far behind.
How long do visitors stay in Brussels
It would seem that the majority of visits to Brussels are typically only for a few days.
Mini-breaks, weekend getaways, and those impressive conference and festival figures lend themselves to shorter visits, but that doesn’t mean Brussels isn’t a great place to stay for longer—or that it isn’t a fabulous investment in a thriving tourist market.
Maximising property investments with guaranteed rent in Brussels
By accessing the tools and services UpperKey bring to every apartment we manage, our clients stand to gain more from their Brussels investments than they’d ever hoped. Our standard policy offers one of the most competitive guaranteed rent practices in Brussels. Not only does this remove risk, it adds the certainty of income every investor hopes for.
Our guaranteed property rental programmes are working for apartment owners all over the capital. Just read our testimonials to find out how they’re working out for apartment owners just like you. The additional bonus experienced by our clients, is the amount of time they recover when passing the physical duties over to our team. Whether you choose to reinvest the time you’ll gain into additional business or investment practice, or whether you’d prefer to utilised it for more leisurely pursuits, that’s entirely up to you. We’re confident that we’re the best choice of the guaranteed rent companies and agents in Brussels. We’ve proved it time and time again, and with owners in every one of Brussel’s 19 Communes.