In this article we will discuss the evolution of the logistics sector in Belgium and a market analysis of logistics real estate in the country in the second half of 2018. Among other topics, we will cover availability, taxation and the evolution of this sector. Listed below are a few tips to consider when looking for a warehouse in the country. Hopefully, these tips will help you find the ideal space for your business. Please share your experiences with us in the comments below!
Market analysis of logistics real estate in Belgium in the second half of 2018
A study of the Belgium market suggests that there will be more space available for new warehouses this year. The country is expected to add 600,000 square meters of warehouse space – nearly 1,644 square meters per day. Another 400,000 square meters are planned for 2021 and 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic and the e-commerce boom are fueling the demand for space.
The study finds that Antwerp, Ghent, and East Flanders are the most active regions for new warehouses. In fact, half of the total number of new Belgian warehouses were constructed in Antwerp and East Flanders. However, some were located on the border with Brussels. Last year, warehouse take-up in Belgium hit a record high: more than two million square meters. This represents 8% more space than the previous year.
Venlo will remain the most attractive location for logistics facilities users in the second half of 2018. However, locations in Central and Eastern Europe will also become more attractive. For example, Germany ranked high in terms of proximity to customers and suppliers, while the Netherlands ranked fourth. The Rhein-Ruhr region scored higher than the second region overall, while Blue Banana is home to the majority of attractive locations.
The warehousing sector in Belgium is booming. In 2018, around 600,000 square metres of warehouse space were leased in Belgium, an eight percent increase on the year before. With demand for space continuing to rise, rents are beginning to follow suit. In fact, the current vacancy rate for available warehouse space in Brussels is at the lowest in the past four years. Meanwhile, available space is being rented out in record time. In fact, Belgium’s logistical sector is expected to be even more prosperous in the future thanks to e-commerce.
The availability of small warehouses in Belgium is increasing as the demand for logistics spaces continues to rise. There are more than 10 new developments planned in the coming years, and most will include at least 10 modest-sized warehouses. However, there are still a few remaining small warehouses in the country. These small warehouses are often located in the more affordable, central locations. The availability figure for logistics real estate in Belgium is around 1% in Q4 2021.
Located in the heart of Europe, Belgian tax law is conducive to the taxation of small warehouses. The VAT rate is comparatively low compared to other European countries, and the deductible construction costs of small warehouses are fully deductible. Moreover, the tax-deferred capital gains regime allows companies to spread the cost of depreciation over a longer period, typically 25 years. In addition, Belgian tax law also allows the landlord to deduct the input VAT on construction costs, and to extend the VAT clawback period to 25 years. CIT on capital gains on Belgian real estate is 25% and can be offset against carry-forward losses or deductible costs. However, it is important to note that reinvestment of capital gains requires that they occur within a three-year period. In Belgium, however, if you invest in a building
Besides this, the Belgian tax administration offers a special tax regime for distribution centers. The Belgian tax administration offers a simple cost-plus taxation system in which taxable income of a distribution center is based on a percentage of its operating expenses. Moreover, the Belgian tax administration agrees not to question the transfer pricing practices among its members. These advantages are enough to make Belgian taxation of distribution centers an attractive option for many companies.
Evolution of the sector
Compared to other European countries, Belgium is the smallest in terms of warehouse space. However, this does not mean that the Belgian small warehouse sector is not thriving. In fact, there are a number of successful small warehouses in the country, including some of the biggest in Europe. The evolution of the logistics sector has led to the development of bigger and more automated warehouses. In Flanders alone, Heylen Warehouses is building a 150,000-square-meter logistics hub in the Port of Ghent. In addition, there are at least seven other super warehouses in the pipeline.
In Belgium, just 1% of all available space is not in use. The country is a leader in Europe for the lowest vacancy rate. Available space is fully leased in record time. However, prices have increased slightly. In 2018, headline rents were 43 euros per square meter, and by 2021, the average rent is expected to rise to 45 euros per square meter. This figure represents a slight increase from the previous year’s 41-euro mark. The prime rent in Brussels will be around 55 euros per square meter.