Banks abandon ‘difficult’ neighbourhoods

Banks have all but stopped extending mortgages in problem neighbourhoods of Rotterdam and The Hague, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday, quoting estate agents and notaries.

A number of run-down areas in both cities have been singled out for extra investment in term of housing, employment and quality of life. The government has made stimulating home ownership a central part of its urban renewal efforts, but this is now under threat, the paper says.
‘The lack of financing is threatening to paralyse these neighbourhoods,’ Rotterdam notary Vic van Heeswijk, who organises compulsory house sales, told the paper.


‘Banks only want to give safe mortgages. Difficult areas and difficult buyers are out of favour. It doesn’t say anywhere in black and white that urban renewal areas are no-go zones for mortgages but that is what is happening in practise,’ he said.
Rob Wassenaar, chairman of the Rotterdam NVM estate agents, said house prices were falling in these areas faster than elsewhere. ‘We are seeing bigger price drops in neighbourhoods where finance is more difficult,’ he said.
Mortgage market leader Rabobank denies it rejected mortgages on the basis of postcodes, as do other banks, the paper says.
Housing minister Eberhard van der Laan told Nos tv on Wednesday that he would look into the Volkskrant’s claims.

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