Thursday 18 August 2022

Coronavirus begins to impact on housing market, fewer homes for sale


The number of homes offered for sale has fallen by 25% since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday.

Viewings are still taking place, but for no more than two people at a time, while some estate agents are using their mobile phones to show potential clients a property instead.

Housing website told RTL Nieuws that the site is attracting fewer visitors and that fewer approaches are being made to real estate agents. Nevertheless, estate agents have told the broadcaster that buyers are still placing higher bids on property than the asking price.

Home owners association Eigen Huis said its helpline is red hot with inquiries from people worried if they can still get a mortgage or if they can cancel an agreement because of coronavirus.

But appointments with notaries to finalise the paper work are still going ahead and there are no signs that the market has come to a halt, the organisation told the FD.

More mortgages are also being arranged digitally, Rabobank, the Dutch market leader, said.

‘As long as the coronavirus crisis remains limited to a number of weeks, I don’t see much movement in the housing market,’ Mark de Rijke of mortgage provider Hypotheekshop told RTL Z. ‘The demand is still far outstripping supply.’

But if unemployment rises and economic confidence declines, people will be less willing to buy a house,’ Rabobank housing economist Nic Vrieselaar told RTL Z.

Interest rates

There are signs both buyers and sellers are becoming uneasy. ‘We are are hearing the strangest things,’ such as the impact of corona virus being used as a condition in a sales deal, a spokesman for the Dutch real estate agents association NVM told the FD.

The Telegraaf reported on Thursday that four small mortgage providers have raised their interest rates slightly.

‘We expect more to follow,’ Oscar Noorlag of the Van Bruggen advice group told the paper. ‘It is a question of waiting to see what impact coronavirus will have on the number of mortgage requests… the margins will come under pressure in the coming days.’

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