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Niche lab: how can niche markets impact the future of real estate?

An ageing population, blended families, millennials who only want to live in the city, … Project developers and promotors are constantly having to reinvent themselves to come up with answers to new needs.

Urbanisation has pushed property prices in large cities to new heights, widening the gap between supply and demand. In order to guarantee affordability and liveability we must use the available space more intelligently. All these developments create a wealth of opportunities for alternative forms of accommodation, such as co-living, which caters to the growing interest in the concept of sharing. The booming popularity of co-working also fits in with this trend.

In all segments of the real estate industry new tools and formulas are emerging that enable owners to capitalise on empty or underused spaces.

Student digs, healthcare properties, social housing, co-working and co-living, vacation homes, … all niche markets that answer specific needs or shortages and that real estate players capitalise on.

What are the potential new niche markets? Should we create communities that generate energy, water and food in their own homes and gardens? Or will we soon be living in greenhouses, churches or old school buildings?

koenraad belsack

Student Housing

Koenraad Belsack
CEO Upgrade Estate

dirk bakker


Dirk Bakker
CEO & Head of Hotels EMEA, Colliers International Hotels BV

Michel Vanstallen

Healthcare & Reconversion religious assets

Michel Vanstallen
CEO Imoya, Gedelegeerd bestuurde Dorian Groep

Philip Borremans

Reconversion religious assets

Philip Borremans
Head of Real Estate PMV

lucia marcuzzo


Lucia Marcuzzo
General Manager Central Europe at Levi’s

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Cancellation of Realty Belgium edition of 17 & 18 September in Knokke

The 12th edition of Realty Belgium – the biggest Belgian real estate summit that was to be held on 17 and 18 September this year at the Knokke-Heist casino and Albertstrand – will not take place in 2020.

The Realty event's organiser Easyfairs Belgium has decided to cancel this years's edition due to the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 virus and amid growing uncertainty about whether the summit could take place in September. Last week the aldermen's college of Knokke-Heist decided that all major events planned until 31 August are to be cancelled. At the end of May, it will be decided what will happen to events to be held from September onwards, such as Realty Belgium.

Because there is uncertainty about whether or not Realty can go ahead, the partner exhibitors are unable to make a final decision on their participation and no tickets can be sold to real estate professionals just yet.

The international real estate fair Mipim, wich was to take place in Cannes in March, has recently also announced a two-day networking event for het sector in Paris in September. Professional real estate association UPSI-BVS, a long time Realty partner, has announced that it is cancelling all its events for 2020 as well. All these external factors have meant that Easyfairs Belgium will not be able to guarantee a first-rate, high-quality event for the Belgian real estate sector in 2020. It has therefor decided to cancel the September 2020 edition of Realty and Immo Invest Days.

Realty and Immo Invest Days would like to thank its partners and the real estate community for their understanding and their support over the last weeks.