- The observed annual inflation rate for house prices amounts to 2.5 % in the fourth quarter of 2018, just like in the previous quarter.
- The average inflation rate for the last four quarters amounts to 2.9 %.
- The house price index goes down by 0.5 % in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter.
Each quarter, STATBEL, the Belgian statistical office, calculates a house price index according to European regulations.
The annual inflation rate for house prices amounts to 2.5 % in the fourth quarter of 2018 and remains unchanged compared to the previous quarter. The average inflation rate for the last four quarters amounts to 2.9 %. The house price index stands at 110.34 points (2015=100) against 110.93 points in the previous quarter: it has decreased by 0.5 % compared to the third quarter of 2018.
The European Union Member States calculate the house price index according to a harmonised methodology which makes it possible to compare the evolution of house prices across the different Member States. The house price index measures the price evolution of private real estate. The index follows price changes of new or existing residential real estate purchased by households, irrespective of their purpose (letting or owner-occupying). The house price index measures the price evolution with the assumption that the characteristics of the property sold remain unchanged.
The index thus measures the actual price evolution without interference of qualitative changes. If the size of the property sold increases, the average price of houses sold will also increase, which does not necessarily mean that the house price index will have increased. Therefore, this index does not measure the evolution of the average sales price of real estate.
The house price index is based on real estate transaction data from the General Administration of the Patrimonial Documentation of the FPS Finances. The results for the latest quarters are considered provisional and may be reviewed during the following quarter when additional data become available.
The house price index can be broken down by new houses and existing houses. In the fourth quarter of 2018, annual inflation amounted to 1.5 % for new houses and 2.8 % for existing houses. The weights of these two items in the overall index amount to 20.1 % and 79.9 % respectively for the year 2018.
Comparison between Belgium and the neighbouring countries
Since Eurostat will only publish the neighbouring countries' house price index for the fourth quarter of 2018 on 11th April 2019, the third quarter 2018 is the most recent quarter to use as a basis for comparison. Belgium experienced an inflation rate of 2.5 % in the third quarter of 2018, a decrease compared to the 3.9 % inflation rate registered in the second quarter. The Netherlands experienced an inflation rate of 10.2 % in the third quarter of 2018, an increase compared to the 9.2 % inflation rate in the second quarter. In France, inflation amounted to 2.8 % in the second and third quarters of 2018. In Germany, inflation stood at 5.4 % in the third quarter of 2018, an increase compared to the rate of 4.9 % registered in the second quarter of 2018. Inflation for the euro area as a whole went from 4.4 % in the second quarter of 2018 to 4.3 % in the third quarter of 2018.
 Figures for the last two quarters are considered provisional and may be reviewed in later publications.