Reform registration rights in Flanders: What can you expect as a buyer?

To make the purchase of a first family home more affordable, Flanders is planning a reform of the registration fees or the sales duties. You must pay these taxes when purchasing real estate or building land. From January 1st 2022, on, the registration fees for the acquisition of a first “owner-occupied” real estate will be lowered, while at the same time the registration fee for a second residence or investment property will increase. The so-called "portability" or “meeneembaarheid” of already paid registration fees will be phased out.

What could this mean for you as buyer?

You purchase your first and only “family home”: 3% registration fees

Buyers purchasing a first family home of which the authentic deed is executed after January 1st 2022, benefit from the reduced registration fee of 3%. This can be a house, flat, terraced house, or villa. The only condition is that the buyer does not own any other property and that he officially registers in the population register at the address of the newly bought property in question. From the signing of the sales agreement, you have up to four months to complete the deed at the notary's office. If, as a buyer, you want to benefit from the reduced rate, the deed of sale must be processed after January 1st 2022.

You are planning a major energy improving renovation of your first and only home: 1% registration fee

If you buy your first and only family home and you commit yourself to do major energy improving renovation works on your outdated and energy-guzzling property within five years, you can even enjoy 1% registration fees (previously 5%). For such a profound economic improving renovation or IER-file (“Ingrijpende Economische Renovatie”) you must involve an architect for the renovation and completely renewing of crucial installations. Think for example of heating, ventilation, cooling and hot water. In addition, at least 75% of the external walls must be insulated. For these works, however, you are eligible for an interest-free loan of up to €60,000.

You are buying a second property or a property as investment: 12% registration fees

For the purchase of a property other than your first and only family home, the general registration fees rate increases from 10 to 12 percent. The higher rate takes effect from 2022 and is applicable to purchases for which the compromise or purchase agreement is signed or concluded from January 1st 2022 on. Agricultural land and nature reserves retain the 10% rate. If you are planning to purchase a second home or investment property, it is therefore in your best interest to conclude the purchase agreement before the end of 2021.

What about the so-called "portability" or “meeneembaarheid” of formerly paid registration fees? Full abolition from 2024

The portability that allowed you to deduct the registration fees (with a maximum of EUR 13,000) you paid on a former house from the registration fees of your new house. This system will be completely abolished from January 1st, 2024. During the transitional period, you can choose between the old rate of 6 or 5% with portability or the new rate of 3% or 1% without portability when purchasing an only own home. For the new general rate of 12%, you can keep the portability for 2 years. Which system is eventually the financially most interesting for you should be thoroughly calculated by your broker, notary, or bank agent.
We always try to inform you as best we possibly can so that you can make the right decisions. This information is of a general nature only and should never be considered as conclusive professional legal advice. Contact our team or your notary for more information applied to your specific personal circumstances.

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Reform registration rights in Flanders: What can you expect as a buyer?