With less than 1% of warehouse space vacant, Belgium is one of the best locations in Europe for renting a warehouse. Because of this, the prices have been climbing for years and have been pushed up slightly in recent years. Today, the headline rent is 45 euros per square meter (up from 41 euros in 2017) and will probably be at least 50 euros per square meter by 2020. In Brussels, prime rents will be around 55 euros per square meter.
Market analysis of Belgian warehouse rental
The Belgium logistics market is experiencing strong growth, with over 600,000 square meters of new space expected to be built in 2019. The availability of space has decreased dramatically as warehouses are becoming larger, more sophisticated, and more diverse. While a shortage of space is a concern, the country is leading Europe with the lowest vacancy rate and the highest rental rates in Europe. At the same time, the demand for warehouse space remains high, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growth of e-commerce, which has made it necessary for businesses to stock up on strategic stocks.
Belgium has been a strong performer in recent years, with its warehouse take-up rising to record levels in recent years. East Flanders and Antwerp, which is close to the Brussels capital, are particularly strong regions, with over 50% of new warehouses being constructed in these regions. Last year, Belgian warehouse take-up reached an all-time high, at over two million square meters, up 8.0% from the previous year.
Location of warehouses in Belgium
The availability of logistics real estate in Belgium has decreased over the past decade, but the supply remains high. In 2017, the number of available warehouse spaces in Belgium was approximately two million square meters, which is eight percent more than in 2018. This has led to a significant boom in the warehousing market, but it is also showing its limitations. Currently, only one percent of warehouse space remains unoccupied, and this vacancy rate is the lowest in Europe. However, available space is leased in record time. In addition, Belgium recently lost many large warehouses to the Netherlands, but is slowly recovering.
Despite the recent recession, demand for logistics space is increasing and the supply chain is getting shorter, as more companies are turning to e-commerce for their products. While it is still difficult to estimate the amount of supply-chain work required to ship goods from one point to another, Belgium’s availability of space makes it an ideal location for industrial warehouses. It is relatively inexpensive to build a warehouse in Belgium and there is room for development. The Netherlands has been a contender in this market for several years, but Belgium is taking it head-on.
Cost of renting a warehouse in Belgium
The logistics sector in Belgium is booming, with more than 600,000 square metres of new space scheduled for completion in 2019. The country also has the lowest vacancy rate in Europe. As a result, warehouse rents are on the rise, with headline rents in prime Brussels locations reaching 55 euros per square metre. However, this is not a sign that the industry is suffering, as demand for warehouse space is high despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also expected that e-commerce is set to drive further demand for storage space in the country.
Utility costs vary by city. In some cities, utility charges can reach EUR200. Overall, utilities in Belgium are 21% higher than in Spain. In case of a problem, a landlord can issue a notice to the renter. Additionally, utilities are linked to the health index of Belgium’s State Gazette. The new index is the health index of the month preceding the month the rent is adjusted. However, landlords are generally more cautious when it comes to raising their rents.
Legal possibilities to make the rental of your warehouse subject to VAT
As of January 1, 2019 Belgian VAT rules apply to the rental of warehouse space in a B2C context. This means that the rental of warehouse space becomes subject to VAT without any option to opt out of the VAT regime. However, in the case of a B2B rental, the landlord must opt for the VAT regime. Here’s how to do it. It’s easy: just follow the steps below to make your rental of a Belgium warehouse VAT-exempt.
First, you should check the VAT rules for the rental of your Belgium warehouse. You can choose to use the current regime if the contract was already signed before January 1. However, if you are planning to rent the warehouse for the first time, you can opt for the new VAT regime. As long as the contract has been signed before the new VAT rules take effect, your rental of a warehouse in Belgium will be VAT-exempt.