Rabobank: 165,000 homes no longer underwater

An empty farmhouse for sale in The Netherlands. Source: Wikimedia/HardscarfAn empty farmhouse for sale in The Netherlands. Source: Wikimedia/Hardscarf

Mortgages of 165,000 homes in the Netherlands are no longer “under water”, according to Rabobank. Currently, there are around 900,000 underwater homes in the Netherlands, down from 1.1 million at the beginning of 2014.

A home is said to be under water when more is owed to the bank for a mortgage than the current market value of the property. When mortgage holders regain their footing, they are better able to change residences without taking a loss.

Mortgages coming out from under water are a clear trend, says Pieter van Dalen, a housing expert from the economic bureau of Rabobank. Until the previous year, the number of underwater properties was constantly increasing since the start of the crisis.

“We owe this development on the one hand to a rise in housing prices,” Van Dalen told AD. “But also to the record amount of mortgage repayments. Just at Rabobank, it was four billion last year.” Rabobank predicts that this year another 139,000 homes will emerge from under water. Analysts expect a similar number of re-surfacings in 2016.

“We know that out of those 165,000 people, around 40 percent will move somewhere within the next two years. If they move, it is good for the housing market and the economy,” Van Dalen is quoted saying.