I was asked a tricky question today after work: if Brussels is the capital of Europe, and lots of people are moving there, why are flat rental low in comparison to other western European capitals?
Here’s a wild guess of an answer… Just like anything else in Belgium, this must be due to the language divide. Brussels is a principally francophone city with 1 million inhabitants, and maybe 100.000 people there working on something EU related. Now, some 4 million Belgians work in Brussels, so some 3 million commute each day. The vast majority of these commuters will be Flemish, as they are the only ones with adequate language skills to get the officially bilingual jobs in Brussels. However, such people would prefer to stay living in Flanders, rather than the francophone city – better for the kids, schools etc.
This means that as the Flemish gain the upper hand in the labour market in Belgian-Brussels, so the pressure on the housing market in Brussels lessens, so the employees of EU-Brussels manage to get flats to live in at relatively low prices. Reasonable?