Hamsterhuren: the new living concept

Imagine: You get the opportunity to save your house rent in order to be able to buy the house in which you live at a later time. This wonderful concept we call today 'hamsterhuren' was already launched on the market in 2017. Gilen Woonprojecten is the family business behind this project. Nowadays they already can’t deliver the demand for this formula…

The target group

Nowadays it is no longer self-evident for young couples, singles or families with modest incomes to buy their own homes straight away. Most of them choose to rent. The high renting-prices in Belgium mean that it is no longer possible to save for housing. As a result, buying your own home is often inaccessible to many Belgians. 

Hamster rentals: What's in the name?

Hamsterhuren gives this target group the opportunity to contribute their house rent up to 5 years when they buy their house or when they take out a mortgage loan. Anyone who joins this project has no obligation to purchase (in contrast to the concept of huurkopen) and has up to 10 years in which to reflect on the situation starting from the day you moved into the home. The criteria for apartments and houses that qualify for hamsterhuren are quality, energy efficiency and sustainability. Probably all the properties will be newly-built homes because they have to meet the high EPB standards. Owning a house is the best buffer for the future, they say. With the criteria in mind, this investment is very stable in value.

Transparency about the purchase price of a Hamster rental home

At the start, the contract clearly describes the selling price of the property. This will always be in accordance with the market price, taking into account the location, value of the land, number of habitable square metres, the level of finishing and the EPB certificate. The renting price will always be in line with the market. There is also clear and transparent communication about the registration fees to be paid on the land value of an apartment or house and the VAT to be paid on the construction itself, says Christophe Ivens, director of the real estate company Canius Realty that manages the hamster homes. The houses that have already been offered and rented are in the price range of 250.000 to 300.000 euros.

Soon Hamster rentals throughout Belgium

In 2017 the family business Gilen Woonprojecten started with this concept. The first hamsterhuur homes were located in Limburg (Sint-Truiden) where the company is located. They could not follow the demand and were looking for a way to roll out the concept throughout the whole country. The company set up the real estate investment fund Canius 1 in order to be able to offer this formula on a national level. Lauren Gilen explains that in this way they have the opportunities to buy houses from other developers, which means that they are not dependent on their own production capacity. Belfius Immo, a subsidiary of Belfius Bank, took a stake of between 25 and 50 percent in this project. This investment will make it possible to purchase or deliver 200 homes and apartments throughout Belgium by 2020. Manager Thierry De Wever of Belfius Immo does not exclude the possibility that this number will increase further if additional investments and/or new collaborations follow.

Supply and demand

Christophe Ivens is observing everything on the new website hamsterhuren.be where already 3570 showed their interest in a hamster house. Based on these registrations, locations for new projects will be selected in order to create the supply where the demand is the biggest, says Christophe. 


Hamsterhuren has the ambition to facilitate the transition from renting to buying. An interesting concept for young families, singles or low-income families who will have the opportunity to buy their own home relatively quickly in order to acquire a part of their future. It is important, however, that everyone does his own math. It is important to be careful not to 'divide' too much in the costs of 21 percent VAT on new construction and then (indirectly) on the registration costs on the sale of an existing home', warns the article in the newspaper De Tijd. In April of this year, 7 new homes were built in Deurne, which means that there are currently 48 in Belgium. In May there will be 16 hamsterhuur houses in Willebroek and 7 in Engis. Finally, in June, the first 7 houses will be built in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw.

More information can be found at: https://www.hamsterhuren.be/


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