Saturday 28 November 2020

Foundations, house prices and moving outside the city: the latest housing newsletter


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

First, the good news for first-time buyers

The budget might have been presented nearly two months ago, but it is worth first summarising the main news for housing market, which might impact on you as we near the end of the year.

As expected, the government is planning to scrap overdrachtbelasting – the transfer tax which you pay on the price of your new home – for starters aged 18 to 35 from next January – although, be aware, this has not yet passed through parliament.

The tax will remain 2% for everyone else if they intend to live in the property but if you plan to rent it out, or are a commercial investor, the tax shoots up to 8%. This means if you are thinking about buy to let, you may have to do your sums again.

There is also good news about the Nationale Hypotheekgarantie or national mortgage guarantee, which will next year cover properties with a purchase price of up to €325,000. The guarantee means that if people default on a NHG mortgage, a special home ownership fund will pay off the debt. You have to pay for the guarantee of course – it is currently 0.7% of the total mortgage. But it can be a useful thing to have, just in case things go wrong.

Yes, some house prices are still going up

Despite coronavirus, and the threat of job losses, average house prices in the Netherlands are still going up, reaching an average of €354,000 in the third quarter of the year, compared with the same period in 2019, according to figures from real estate agent association NVM.

However, this figure hides the fact that the prices being paid for homes costing more than €750,000 have stabilised and may even have gone down slightly for €1.5m plus properties, says Expat Mortgages’ Henk Jansen.

Both this, and the fact more properties in the big cities are changing hands, is part of the coronavirus-driven trend to move to the country, says Henk. ‘If you are sharing a 50 square metre flat in Amsterdam and you both have to work from home it can be very difficult.  I see now that people are moving to Almere, to places where you can buy a three bedroom house with a garden for €500,000.’

West Friesland, which is part of Noord Holland province north of Amsterdam, is also growing in popularity with people looking for more space. Expat Mortgage’s consultant Simon Bosschieter can help you if you are looking to explore new areas north of the Dutch capital to buy.

Upcoming webinars

If you would like to find out more about buying a new home in Friesland, or anywhere else in the Netherlands, feel free to join one of Expat Mortgages’ upcoming housing webinars and ask your questions. The next one is being held tonight (November 5) and the next are scheduled for November 11,19 and 25. The digital doors open at 5pm. Register here.

That sinking feeling, how are your foundations?

You may have seen stories in the press recently about a new label being introduced for homes focusing on the state of a property’s foundations, and the possible impact on property values.

As yet it is unclear if the initiative will have an impact on house prices, but it is, nevertheless, good for buyers, says Expat Mortgages founder Henk Jansen. ‘The construction of a house has a serious impact on both the value and the cost of renovation if something is wrong with it,’ he said. ‘This is an interesting step in the right direction.’

If you are a home owner, before you get too worried about it, you should remember this label is not a government initiative so there is no question about anyone being forced to shell out thousands of euros to have their foundations checked at the moment.

Tax help

The tax office has noticed that lots of home owners are making mistakes in their tax returns when it comes to dealing with their property, particularly if they have changed or increased their mortgage during the year.

To help home owners get it right, the tax office has now come up with a useful checklist of things to think about to make sure you are paying enough tax, as well as making sure you are not paying too much.

This year thousands of people have switched mortgages because of the record low interest rates, and this is something Expat Mortgages can help you with. Feel free to get in touch and find out.

Tools to help home buyers

If you are thinking of buying a house but not sure how much you can borrow? Get a rough idea of how much you can spend on that home of your dreams with this quick calculator

And 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 if your question is not on board.

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