Homes take longer to sell, prices still rising

The Dutch housing market is stagnating with houses taking longer to sell but prices are continuing to rise, estate agents association NVM said on Thursday.

On average, a house was on the market for 78 days in 2007 representing a 7% increase on 2006.
The number of sales in the fourth quarter was also down by 3%, the NVM said.
In total, the number of homes which were sold as a percentage of the entire market fell to a six-year low.
Nevertheless, prices continued to go up in most parts of the country. Despite a 1.2% average rise in the final quarter of 2007, over the average cost of a house was 4.3% higher at €247,000 over the full year.
Regional differences continue to be felt. In Amsterdam, house prices increased over 10% but in Alphen aan den Rijn, for example, they were down by over 5%.
The NVM forecasts a 2% rise in house prices this year saying sales are slowing down due to a shortage of cheaper homes.
NVM chairman Ger Hukker told NOS tv that it is becoming increasingly difficult for people on low or middle incomes to afford their own home. ‘It is this group of home-buyers who are hit harder than most by other related costs such as property tax and energy price rises,’ he said.
‘These costs are also going up sharply and weigh more heavily on first-time buyers than people who are upgrading to a bigger home.’

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