Housing prices leap as fewer homes go up for sale; Real estate agents fearful

Small home for sale
Small home for sale Photo: Kloeg008/DepositPhotos

The prices for existing homes in the Netherlands continue to rise. In the third quarter, the average price for an existing home was 7.2 percent higher than the same quarter last year. And after half a year of the housing supply seeming to stabilize, the number of homes available for sale saw a significant decrease in the third quarter, according to figures from the Dutch association of realtors NVM, NOS reports.

Over the past few months, more than 38 thousand existing homes entered the market. That is almost 14 percent less than in the third quarter of last year, and the lowest number in years. The average price of an owner-occupied home rose to 313 thousand euros in the third quarter, 7.2 percent higher than the same time last year.

The NVM fears that homes will become considerably more expensive in the coming period. "These days, you need an above-average salary for an average home", NVM realtor Gaby Balkema said to the broadcaster. "The existing owner-occupied housing market has become tighter with the risk that prices will rise more strongly in the long term."

The shortage of available houses is biggest in the city of Groningen. For every potential buyer in the city, there is on average 1.4 houses for sale. Nationwide, Dutch homebuyers have an average of 3.1 homes to choose from. Remarkably, there is more choice in the big cities of Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam than in the areas around them. 

It's not only the owner-occupied market dealing with price increases, rents in the Netherlands also continue to rise. Coalition party CDA worries that the increasing rents will lead to more people being evicted because of arrears. "Then they go to a social shelter with their children. That causes a lot of human suffering, but also high costs and then people end up in a similar house as where they have just been evicted from", parliamentarian Rene Peters said to RTL Nieuws. "I find that very unwise, expensive and also harmful."

The party therefore wants a ban on evection due to rental arrears. "I have called on the state secretary to ensure that municipalities make agreements with housing corporations. I think you should go so far as to say: if you cannot pay, we will ban an eviction and then we'll demand a solution", the CDA MP said. 

Despite the CDA's concerns, the number of evictions in the Netherlands decreased last year. People were evicted from their homes a total of 3 thousand times last year, most often due to rental arrears. That is a decrease of nearly 20 percent compared to 2017, according to RTL.