There is good news for people wanting to buy a home in the Netherlands: new figures from the Dutch national statistics office CBS show that house prices are continuing to fall and the trend which started last August is continuing.
House prices had been rising steadily since 2013 but in February, they were 0.8% lower than in the same month of 2022 – the first annual decline in a decade. Month on month, the change was 1.5%, taking the average price now paid for a home to just over €410,000. In January prices rose slightly, in what experts say was a seasonal blip.
Last August, the average price paid for a home in the Netherlands was €446,000.
Prices may be lower but as yet, that has not led to a surge in sales. The land registry office (Kadaster) reported almost 12,000 transactions last month, which is 15.5% below the number of deals agreed in February 2022.
Buyers may be waiting to see what happens to both house prices and interest rates. Economists have suggested that house prices will go down by a further 6% in 2023, in line with 2022, and may fall again next year.
In addition, buyers may also soon have a wider choice of properties to choose from. There is increasing evidence that more landlords are selling their apartments when tenants leave because of the government’s plans to regulate up to 90% of the rental sector.
Investors have warned for some time that the move will lead to hundreds of rental properties being sold off. And now, Dutch media is reporting that private landlords, especially those with only a few properties, are putting them on the market rather than renting them out.
Landlords argue the government’s plans to cut rents and bring in extra taxes for landlords are making it impossible to book a reasonable return on rental property. As many as 150,000 homes could be affected by the new rules.
If landlords do sell off much of their property, it means it will become increasingly hard to find somewhere to rent, and prices in the non-rent controlled sector are also likely to be forced up. Even more reason to take the plunge and buy a property!
Rental property outside the social housing sector only accounts for 8% of the Dutch housing stock. By contrast, some 57% of apartments and houses are lived in by their owner.