The amount Dutch home owners owe on their mortgages reached almost €670bn by the end of last year, or 111% of the country’s gross domestic product, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.
This is the highest percentage of all the eurozone countries, the CBS said.
At the same time, the total value of private residential property is twice as high as the mortgage debt at €1.4 tln. Private households also have enough in savings and pension reserves to pay off the entire mortgage debt if necessary, the CBS said.
A popular form of mortgage in the Netherlands is the savings-based spaarhypotheek. This involves building up a guaranteed savings lump sum which is used to pay off the entire loan at the end of the mortgage period.
However, thousands of households are now in negative equity on an individual basis, the statistics agency pointed out. Up to 30% of all home owners may owe more on their houses than their home is worth according to some calculations.
The Dutch mortgage tax relief system, which allows households to deduct all their interest payments from tax for 30 years, had boosted the amount home owners can borrow. However, the system is likely to be made less generous from next year.