"Housing market stagnating"
For the first time in years fewer homes are being sold.10 January 2008
NIEUWEGEIN – The housing market is stagnating. For the first time in years fewer homes are being sold. The market is slowing down because of a shortage of affordable homes. The Netherlands Association of Real Estate Brokers (NVM) reported this on Thursday.
3 percent fewer homes were sold in the fourth quarter of last year than in the same period in 2006. The so-called sale quote (the number of homes sold as a percentage of the number on offer) fell by 2.3 percentage points to 26.4 percent, bringing it to its lowest level in six years.
The number of homes for sale increased by 7 percent compared to the previous quarter. Homes are staying on the market longer as well. The average time on the market is 78 days, also an increase of 7 percent.
The brokers' association has noticed that it is especially more difficult for lower income households to purchase a home. "The bottom segment of the market is gradually footing the bill for the diminishing affordability.
This group of buyers in particular are being hit harder than others with other homeowner costs, like property tax, municipal garbage collection taxes and energy costs. These are rising significantly and are more of a concern for starters than for those moving up on the property ladder," says NVM chairman Ger Hukker.
Despite the stagnation on the market, house prices rose again. The increase came to 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to the previous quarter. The average sale price for a home now comes to EUR 247,000.
The brokers' association estimates that the price of an average home for 2007 as a whole was 4.3 percent higher than in 2006, which saw an increase of 3.4 percent from the previous year.
Average house prices will continue to rise in 2008, but not as fast as in previous years. The NVM expects an increase of about 2 percent.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news