Rising trend: Belgians are moving towards smaller but more efficient homesPublication date 21 August 2019
As the saying goes, Belgians are born with a brick in their stomach - that is to say, an instinctive urge to build a home. This is a well-known fact and gives us cause to reflect in light of the imminent ban on building on plots of open land, known as the “betonstop”. As a project developer, we are engaged in thinking about this issue, so we can do more with less space in the future.
Converting old, run-down buildings or sites in or on the edge of cities is one of the things we focus on. We are seeking a better balance between grey and green, and thereby creating the homes of the future.
It is currently estimated that nearly half of Belgians are living in an apartment. Of course, the word “apartment” here requires a hefty margin of interpretation, since the interpretation of an apartment is vastly different in 2019 to what it was in the past. There are now studio flats, loft apartments, penthouses, and also apartments with their own roof garden. The variation is vast and always growing.
Demographic and financial cause
We are all going to live closer together in less space. There are various different reasons for this rising trend. On the one hand, there is the financial aspect. Interest rates are at a historically low level, but this does not detract from the fact that property prices are high and rising. On the other hand, there is the demographic context of this. There are more and more single people and single parent families choosing a smaller home or apartment because a full-size house just for themselves is too big or too expensive. The combination of these two factors has resulted in a rise in people choosing a newly constructed apartment with all the modern convenience that brings. Additionally, and certainly no less important: with an apartment, the fixed costs and living expenses will be substantially lower than with a house.
Smaller but more efficient homes
The average living area of an apartment has fallen from 85 m² to 75 m² just in the last few years. Reducing space does not mean reducing comfort, however. As residential units become smaller, it also forces us to think more efficiently about the available space and improving the layout of that space. CAAAP developed the SmartOne principle for exactly that. In this concept, all the technical areas are combined around 1 central boiler and you have more flexibility for how you use one big, open space. A budget-friendly solution to the scale of first-time buyers, investors and young families. Be sure to check www.leanderhof.be to explore these new homes and apartments.
Choosing a quieter life
Living in the city usually means living closer to your place of work or to public transport links. This means less time wasted and less stress travelling between home and work, and a more peaceful work-life balance.
A more compact way of living is going to be inevitable in the future and Belgium is gradually joining in with this new way of living. As a project developer and inner-city innovator, we are engaging with this issue to handle the space we take up more efficiently and to make better use of the living space we have available.