At the end of last year, economists were predicting house prices in the Netherlands would fall by some 6% this year. But figures published by the national statistics agency CBS and the Kadaster land register show that they actually rose in January – by 1.5%.
For people looking to buy a house in the Netherlands, news of the increase may come as a surprise. After all, house prices had fallen since August, taking the average price of a home down from €446,000 to €401,000 by the end of the year. But in the January CBS figures, the average price paid is up again at €424,000.
The figures have also surprised CBS, which says it does not yet have a reasonable explanation, although the Christmas break may have had an impact. And it will take several months to establish what the trend for 2023 will actually be.
ABN Amro economists have predicted a 6% drop in 2023 and a further decline of 4% in 2024, and the January rise may just be a blip in the downward trend.
Nevertheless, some young buyers are opting to make a move now rather than wait and see what happens. First-time buyers accounted for 40% of house sales in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Kadaster figures, and the increase was particularly notable in the bigger cities, where first-time buyers were responsible for 46% of sales.
So where are the best places to buy? According to the Kadaster, the average price of a home is below €250,000 in just four places in the Netherlands: Pekela, Kerkrade, Brunssum, and Heerlen. At the other end of the spectrum, the average price has topped €1 million in Bloemendaal, Laren and Blaricum.
If you are looking to buy a house in Amsterdam, figures from the NVM real estate agents’ association suggest prices fell in the capital by 10% last year, and the number of homes on the market almost doubled. There are even houses to be found for under €350,000, but the choice is limited.
It is also worth noting that the CBS figures are different to those published by the estate agents’ association NVM because they are based on completed transactions which have been registered with the Kadaster. Statistics produced by the NVM, which suggest house prices fell 6.4% in the final three months of last year, reflect the deals signed by the association’s 4,000 members.
For keen house price watchers, the CBS will publish its February house price report towards the end of March, and the NVM’s next quarterly update will be published in April.