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Dutch housing update: prices are down, interest is up – is now the time to buy?

A round-up of the latest housing news, brought to you by Expat Mortgages.

House prices and interest rates
There are now real signs that the overheated Dutch housing market is cooling down, as interest rates rise and buyers are faced with less borrowing capacity. So should you still be taking the plunge?

Interest rates have more than doubled since the start of the year and you will now pay over 4% for a 10-year fixed rate mortgage. That might seem a lot when you consider a year ago the rate was around 2%, but viewed over 30 to 50 years, it is still good value for money, says Expat Mortgages founder Henk Jansen.

In addition, he points out, many international workers come from countries where interest rates are higher, so won’t be so shocked by the 4%. ‘If you can afford it, and you plan to stay here for a couple of years, it still makes absolute sense to buy,’ he says. ‘After all, think of what you will end up paying in rent.’

Legal changes
There was little significant news for house buyers in the September budget, and no shocks about mortgage interest tax breaks – which which will continue to be reduced gradually as planned.

There will be a few more restrictions on borrowing from January, and this is likely to mean the amount you can borrow depending on your income will go down a little.

The big trend, however, is the end of the unconditional offer – Henk says – a phenomena that emerged at the height of the market and which meant cash buyers who did not need to arrange a mortgage often had an advantage over those who did.

‘They are completely out, and this is something I am very happy about,’ says Henk. ‘There are also signs that people are less willing to overbid, and that estate agents are willing to negotiate prices down for houses that have been for sale for some time.’

How much can I borrow
To get a rough idea of how much you can borrow, given interest rates have risen so much, check out the Expat Mortgages mortgage calculator. The company also has a brand new website, with everything you need to know about buying a home in the Netherlands – both the pros and the things to watch out for.

Going green
Energy bills are soaring and many home owners will be in for a shock at the end of the year when the annual reassessments take place. That means that energy efficiency is becoming an increasingly hot issue in the housing market – especially since energy labels are now compulsory.

‘A lot of people are now investing in things to cut their energy bills and improve their properties and this is something you can easily do by extending your mortgage,’ Henk points out. Contact one of the Expat Mortgage advisors to find out more.

Upcoming webinars
If you would like to find out more about the ins and outs of buying a new home, feel free to join one of Expat Mortgages’ upcoming housing webinars and ask your questions. The next one is scheduled for October 20 and the digital doors open at 5pm. Register here.

Henk also provides inter-company seminars for firms with large numbers of international employees to help them with the house buying process.

Any questions?
If you’ve got any questions about the process of buying a home in the Netherlands, you can always check out the FAQs on the Expat Mortgages website to see if they have the answers. Drop them a line – they have an open chat line – if your question is not covered.

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