House sales fall as rising prices and short supply put squeeze on buyers

House sales fell in the second quarter of 2017 as steep price rises combined with a shortage of homes for sale left potential buyers facing slim pickings.

Figures produced by estate agents’ organisation NVM showed 97,000 homes were put up for sale between April and June, excluding newbuilds, the lowest number since 2004.

The number of sales completed fell by 0.8% against the same period last year to 56,000. The downward trend was sharpest in Amsterdam, where 22% fewer homes were sold, followed by Delft on 18% and Leiden on 17%.

The NVM said there was an urgent need to build new homes to relieve the pressure on the market. ‘Municipalities, developers and agents need to put their best foot forward to prevent the housing market grinding to a halt and prices exploding,’ chairman Ger Jaarsma told NOS.

The organisation also voiced concern about the rate of price rises in places such as Amsterdam, where houses have gained 21.6% in value in the past year, as well as southwest Friesland (19%) and Almere (16.4%).

Outside the coastal cities there were strong rises in the volume of house sales in some places. Lelystad recorded a 48% increase, while Waalwijk and Drunen both saw rises of 42%.

The average house price has climbed to €258,000, 2% higher than the previous peak in August 2008. In the following five years prices tumbled by more than 20% as the bubble burst and banking collapses triggered a recession in western economies.