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High streets – the rental hit parade

Belgium has relatively few out of town shopping centres compared to other European countries, the result of a desire to protect the city and town centre retail landscape. Traditional high streets therefore remain important both in social and economic terms. We take the pulse of the current situation where rents are concerned.

The top retail high street in Belgium – in terms of rental values – is no longer to be found in the capital, Brussels, but in the country’s second city, Antwerp. What are the other characteristics which define the retail landscape in the country?
The evolution of prime retail rents in Belgium between 2007 and 2009 reveals a somewhat mixed bag, as certain towns and cities see their attractiveness – for reasons which have little or nothing to do with retail itself – rise or fall.

Prime rents
Dislodging Brussels Rue Neuve from top spot over this period is Antwerp’s Meir, an elegantly curving street running from close to the city’s Central Station right down to the historic centre of this major port city (Europe’s second port), some 550 metres. As the chart shows, rental levels on the Meir currently stand at € 1.700/m² /year, with Brussels’ Rue Neuve at € 1.600. In 2007, the respective figures were € 1.300 and € 1.500. This may be seen in the light of the Rue Neuve suffering some well-publicised security problems, while the Meir has witnessed a ‘normal’ rental evolution. The locations showing the next largest rental values are the country’s third largest city – Liège – along with Gent and Hasselt, the largest towns in Western and Eastern Flanders, world heritage site Bruges and Wallonian capital Namur, rents in all of these major towns being relatively similar.

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 | 10/03/2010


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