House sales in Netherlands drop 43 percent

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Sales and prices of houses in the Netherlands have fallen in the third consecutive quarter.

THE NETHERLANDS – Sales for houses are down 43 percent in the first quarter as compared to last year, announces the Dutch Association of Estate Agents.

This is the third consecutive quarter in which sales and prices have fallen.

Houses remain on the market for a longer time – an average of 105 days as compared with 84 days – and average prices have fallen by 3.1 percent.

In the regions in the northern province of Groningen, in the east near the Hansa town of Zutphen and in the south around Eindhoven, house prices have fallen by almost five percent.

In South Limburg, however, prices went up by two percent.

NRC Handelsblad reports that asking prices are also going down with one in three sellers lowering their prices several times.

The slowdown in sales is mainly affecting expensive houses. Their prices are dropping faster than houses in the cheaper segment of the market.

At the same time the number of households unable to pay their mortgages and fixed living costs has increased.

In the first quarter of 2009, 25 percent more homeowners incurred arrears than during the same three months of 2008. Payment arrears can eventually lead to forced sales.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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