Saturday 06 June 2020

Coronavirus has little impact on housing market, but more choice for tenants

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The housing market has so far experienced few problems because of coronavirus, with sales remaining steady and more rental properties on the market, according to Dutch real estate agents association NVM.

Since mid-March, some 2,500 to 3,000 properties are changing hands every week via NVM agents and that is broadly in line with the pre-crisis situation. ‘It would appear that home hunters still see possibilities,’ NVM chairman Onno Hoes said. ‘In addition, interest rates are low and this is also the right season.

House prices also appear to be rising slightly, with the square metre price rising by an average of 1%, the NVM said.

The first week after the ‘intelligent lockdown’ started it went dead quiet here and several clients withdrew their bid on the property they were bidding on,’ financial advisor José de Boer told DutchNews.nl. ‘But after one week everything seemed to go back to normal and currently we are busier than ever.’

‘I cannot explain why houses are still going over the asking price (and substantially at that),’ De Boer said. ‘I guess it is because we still have such a shortage of houses and apartments in the Netherlands and interest rates are still relatively low.’

Henk Jansen of mortgage advice group Expat Mortgages told DutchNews.nl that his clients are still keen to buy. ‘In the webinars we organise we are now being asked two new questions: what do we expect the interest rates to do (do we expect them to go up) and what do we expect the house prices to do (do we expect these to go down?).’

‘I think some people are afraid they will lose their jobs and coronavirus will have a (huge) negative impact on their financial situation,’ Jansen said.

‘But I don’t think it’s specifically the expats who are afraid at the moment. If you work in the hospitality industry or any business that is severely threatened by coronavirus I see understandable worries, but not, in general among people working for the international companies we’re helping.’

Rentals

At the same time, the NVM notes that the number of properties available for rent has risen by some 13% compared with pre-crisis levels, as homes which are rented out permantly via platforms like Airbnb come on the market.

And the rise is as high as 120% in popular domestic tourism centres such as West Friesland, the NVM said.

NVM-affiliated estate agents also say that the percentage of international workers renting non-rent controlled accommodation since the crisis began has gone down from 21% to 14% nationwide.

However, in the five big Dutch cities, international workers are now signing 44% of leases for more expensive properties, compared with 55% before coronavirus hit.

Rental housing platform Pararius earlier noted a similar trend.

The International Community Advisory Platform is carrying out a new survey on housing and international workers. Click here to take part.

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