10 May 2023 - 3 min Reading time
Increase of 45% in consumer credits for energy-saving purposes in the first quarter of 2023
The Belgian Professional Association of Credit (Beroepsvereniging van het Krediet/Union Professionnel du Crédit - BVK/UPC), representing 95% of the consumer credit market, has analyzed the evolution of consumer credit in the first quarter of 2023. In total, 185,400 credits were granted in the first three months of the year, an increase of nearly 13% compared to the same period last year.
Most notably, there was an increase in the number of credits for energy-saving purposes, which rose by 45% compared to the first quarter of the previous year. Credits for energy-saving purposes are consumer credits used to finance "green" investments such as heat pumps, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, insulation, etc. The number of credits for energy-saving purposes granted in the first quarter of 2023 doubled in the past two years and tripled since 2018, increasing from 4,400 to 15,400 credits. The total amount of these credits for energy-saving purposes reached a historical record of €261.5 million in the first quarter of 2023, reflecting the increasing importance Belgian households place on ecology and the impact of new regulations on energy efficiency.
There are several reasons for the increase in credits for energy-saving purposes. Regulations are becoming stricter, and the energy crisis has made Belgians more aware of the energy performance of their homes. Lenders are responding by providing green credits at attractive interest rates. To achieve Belgium's targets, the amount of investments in renewable energy must continue to increase. Therefore, it is essential that this can occur within a stable and coherent legal framework.
"Credits for energy-saving purposes are by far the fastest-growing category of credits in Belgium. We anticipate that the trend in the first quarter will continue throughout the year, making 2023 a record year for credits for energy-saving purposes."
In addition to the record amount of consumer credits for energy-saving purposes granted in the first quarter of 2023, other categories of consumer credits also gained popularity in the first three months of the year. Classic renovation loans increased by 4% (to 12,600). Credits for household appliances (allowing the replacement of older, energy-consuming appliances) also increased by more than 14% (to a total of 43,300 credits). After a decline in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, credits for new cars increased by about 6.5% (to a total of 31,100). Credits for used cars increased by 19.5% (to a total of 33,000). For the first time, more credits for used vehicles were granted in the first quarter of the year than for new cars. However, the total amount of these credits for new cars (€695 million) is still higher than the total amount of credits for used cars (€542 million).
Despite these recent increases, the total number of credits granted in the first quarter is still well below the 2018 level. After a sharp decline in 2020 and 2021, consumer credit has shown significant resilience. Compared to five years earlier, the number of consumer credits for classic renovations has increased by more than 40%, and the number of green credits by more than 250%. Renovation loans are the only category of credits that has recovered well from the Covid crisis, and in the first quarter of 2023, a higher total amount was borrowed than in the first quarter of 2019.