Dutch house prices falling gradually

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House prices continue to fall in the Netherlands, but at a substantially slower rate than during the housing crisis in the early 1980s.

In its Quarterly Housing Market Report published on Monday, ING Bank predicts that house prices will be 15 to 20 percent lower at the end of next year compared to 2008.

ING notes that prices appear to be falling more gradually compared to the first half of the 1980s, while the slump of sales has been more rapid.

Estate agents are reluctant to lower the asking prices because many owners feel no compelling reason to sell. Unemployment is rising, but not as fast as in the 1980s. Mortgage interest rates, which were skyrocketing at the time, have now dropped.

Another factor, according to ING, is that, in the three years before the crisis broke, house prices had not risen as fast as in the late 1970s. Today’s homeowners therefore have far less leeway to lower their asking price without facing extensive residual debt.

(gsh/imm)

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