The number of homes on the market is the lowest since real estate agents association NVM began keeping the figures in 1995, the organisation said on Thursday.
Mid February, there were just 17,500 homes for sale in the Netherlands, and that means buyers have very little choice, the NVM said. As a consequence, house prices continue to rise and have now reached an average €433,000 for a newly-built property and €385,000 for an existing home.
Prices in the first three months of this year are up 15% on a year ago, the biggest annual increase in 20 years, the NVM said. More than 60% of homes went for more than the asking price.
The price rises have been particularly notable in the north of the country, as interest in moving to more rural areas continues. In Amsterdam, prices rose by 7%, half that of Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Nevertheless, the average price paid for a home in the capital is now €518,000.
‘Low interest rates, the enormous shortage of housing and the stable economic outlook are forcing prices up,’ NVM chairman Onno Hoes said. ‘A new minister with specific responsibility for housing and spatial planning is essential to turn this around.’
NVM-affiliated estate agents account for around 75% of all sales.
Several of the parties likely to be included in the next coalition government called for the return of a special housing minister in their election manifestos.
Developers, investors and local authorities estimate the Netherlands needs one million new homes by 2030. However, experts say, this can only be achieved if a minister for housing or spatial planning takes the lead to overcome the bottlenecks in local authority planning procedures.
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