Overheated Dutch housing market starting to cool down: realtors

Sold sign in front of a home
Sold sign in front of a home. (Photo: ArturVerkhovetskiy/DepositPhotos)

The Dutch housing market is still overheated, but is cooling down slightly in the most heated parts of the market, realtors association NVM concludes based on the sales figures for the last quarter of 2018. "In some regions and especially in Amsterdam we see that the ceiling of continuous price increases is slowly being reached", NVM chairman Ger Jaarsma said, NOS reports.

For the first time in years, the housing price increase in Amsterdam was lower than the national average. In Amsterdam homes were 8 percent more expensive in the fourth quarter of 2018 than the same quarter the year before. On a national level, house prices rose by 10.3 percent. "The strongest price increase seems to be over", Jaarsma said. "Especially in the metropolitan, tight regions, prices have risen to such a high level that rises above 10 percent are no longer self-evident."

Due to the high prices, homes are less affordable, especially for lower income households, he said. The average transaction price involved in buying a home reached a record 298 thousand euros last quarter. Some consumers are even deciding against buying. According to Jaarsma, this can be seen by the fact that the number of houses for sale increased compared to the previous quarter, with 5 percent. This is the first time this happened in four and a half years.

NVM realtors sold 39,300 homes in the fourth quarter of last year, a decrease of over 8 percent compared to the same quarter in 2017. 38 percent of these homes were sold at above asking price. "In some regions on the outskirts of our country, buyers still have a wide selection, although this is also decreasing. But in the big cities people can only chose from just over 2 houses", Jaarsma said.

The NVM expects that housing prices will continue to increase in 2019, but less strongly than in previous years. The association assumes an increase of between 4 and 7 percent. Overheated areas will likely cool down, though the market in the large areas on the edges of the Netherlands are getting tighter.