Dutch house sales down for first time in 3 years

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In the past quarter the number of homes sold in the Netherlands decreased for the first time in nearly three years, according to realtors association NVM. The association attributes the decrease to a shortage in available homes on the market. There were 97 thousand existing homes for sale throughout the Netherlands last quarter - the lowest number since 2004, NOS reports. 

In April, May and June 56,900 homes were sold in the Netherlands, a decrease of 0.8 percent compared to the same quarter last year. 

The NVM calls for more homes to be built so that the housing demand can be met. "In order to prevent the housing market coming to a standstill and prices exploding, municipalities, developers and estate agents must put in their best efforts to provide housing for the soon to be 18 million Dutch citizens", NVM chairman Ger Jaarsma said, according to the broadcaster.

The biggest housing shortage is centralized in the Randstad, as well as in the cities of Groningen and Eindhoven. In Amsterdam housing sales decreased by 22 percent. Delft saw an 18 percent decrease and Leiden a drop of 17 percent. 

The regions that saw an increase in home sales are mostly outside the Randstad. Lelystad saw a 48 percent increase, Waalwijk and Drunen each 42 percent and Noord Limburg 36 percent.

The shortage in available housing is pushing prices higher. Compared to the first quarter of this year, home prices increased by 2.6 percent in the second quarter, and by 9 percent compared to the second quarter in 2016. The average home price now lies at 258 thousand euros, a new record. That price is over 25 percent higher than at the low of the financial crisis and 2 percent higher than the housing market peak in 2008. About a quarter of homes are now selling above asking price.

Price increases are even more exorbitant in a number of regions, especially Amsterdam. In the Dutch capital housing prices increased by 21.6 percent in one year. Zuid-West Friesland saw a 19 percent increase, Almere 16.4 percent, Zaanstreek 15.8 percent and Leiden 15.3 percent. 

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