Overheated Dutch housing market a problem for first-time buyers

The overheating Dutch housing market is making it harder for first-time buyers to enter the market, according to realtors' association NVM. The downsides of an improving housing market are becoming more visible, the association said based on its third quarter figures, NU.nl reports.

According to NVM, sellers get rid of their property "relatively easily", while buyers have more trouble. Especially first-time buyers. Houses are being sold more quickly and supply is decreasing. This is particularly a problem in the overheated areas like in the Randstad, where supply is low and demand is high.

"The sellers stand to gain from the shrinking supply and buyers have less choice", NVM president Gert Jaarsma said, according to the newspaper.

In the third quarter NVM counted more than 41 thousand homes sold - a 15 percent increase compared to the same period last year. For the whole market, NVM estimates that 53,500 homes were sold. NVM attributes the increase to the low mortgage rates and rising home prices.

The average selling price was 250 thousand euros in the third quarter  - an increase of 7.4 percent compared to last year and 1.3 percent higher than in the second quarter of this year. There are still major regional differences in house prices. In some areas the price increase was marginal, while the overheated areas saw 10 percent or more increase.

"The development of prices in the NVM region Amsterdam is starting to get problematic with a plus of 22 percent annually", Jaarsma said. He expects it won't be long before Amsterdam house prices will be 50 percent higher than the low point in the summer of 2013. Regions like Utrecht, Zuid-Kennemerland, Waterland and Zaanstad also saw price increases of at least 20 percent compared to a year ago.

Th supply of homes is steadily decreasing, according to NVM. Midway through the third quarter NVM had 101 thousand properties listed for sale. That is 9 percent less than in the previous quarter and almost 25 percent less than in the third quarter last year. In the past quarter home buyers could choose from an average of seven homes. In the same quarter of last year it was 11. In the third quarter of 2013 it was 28.