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Cash in on Euro parliament with Brussels buy-to-let

IF you think that politicians in this country have a good life, then take a look at the European Parliament. It is estimated that, if they have little shame, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) can take home €200,000 (£173,000) a year.

The first reaction to this might well be outrage. But the second should be, how do I make this work for me? The answer is, with buy-to-let property. Brussels is home to nearly 800 MEPs, not to mention the countless diplomats, NGOs, employees, administrators and other assorted hangers-on. All of them live in rented property, and have tonnes of cash to spend. As more countries join the EU, the numbers will only increase.

Indeed, Brussels is a great place to own rental property even beyond the Eurocrats. As is the case in much of Europe, renting is also common for natives, too, and a large proportion of the population (around 60 per cent) live in rental accommodation. NATO, which is also based in Brussels, is also going to grow in the near future.

In terms of red-tape, the European Parliament has not yet tied up the country’s property market. Belgium is a good place for buy-to-let: there is no tax payable on rental income and property owners pay no Capital Gains Tax on residential property if they hold it for more than five years.

In addition, the Belgian property market is very stable as it is not reliant on the wider economy, meaning that there is no boom-and-bust cycle. This has also kept down prices. As a guide, a property in Brussels will cost about half what a comparable one would in London. There is also a massive pool of properties and plenty of dilapidated old buildings in the city that are ripe for regeneration, if you are looking for projects.

Most new-builds are in and around the European Quarter and offer returns in the region of 5-6 per cent a year. Developer the Thornsett Group is selling properties in two developments at the moment, the Leopold Village in the European Quarter with 108 apartments of one to four bedrooms, shops, restaurants and bars. Flats also remain at its Boniface Square development.
www.leopoldvillage.com
www.bonifacesquare.com

LEOPOLD VILLAGE
Just four stops from the Eurostar terminal, this development has flats in three buildings, one 12 storeys high. Construction ends in 2010. Prices range from €179,000 for a studio to €380,000 for a three-bedroom apartment. Penthouses start from €1.05m.
Contact the Belgian sales office on +32 2 280 30 34 or see www.thornsettgroup.com.