Category Archives: Housing Market

House Prices Are Declining In Amsterdam For The First Time Since 2013

The Dutch Realtor association NVM came out with their quarterly report on the housing market in The Netherlands this week. For the first time since the third quarter of 2013 the price of the average sold house in Amsterdam declined year over year.

Amsterdam housing average sales price Q3 2019
Amsterdam housing average sales price Q3 2019

Furthermore the average price per square meter (m2) is declining from last quarter. No year over year decline here yet. It will be interesting to watch to see if the trend continues.

Amsterdam housing average sales price per m2 Q3 2019
Amsterdam housing average sales price per m2 Q3 2019

The average time a house sits on the market has also been going up to an average of 31 days.

Amsterdam housing average days a house is for sale
Amsterdam housing average days a house is for sale

Dutch House Prices Are Rising Slower

The Dutch Statistics Bureau CBS came out last week with a new monthly update on Dutch house prices. The data is showing that the speed at of which house prices in The Netherlands are rising is slowly declining.

Meanwhile the Dutch government has come out in the past few weeks with changes to the taxing of property investments in box 3 (investment properties will be taxed higher) and it has proposed a new law which will limit the amount of the WOZ-waarde (the value of a home used for taxation purposes) to be used as points to calculate whether a house will be classified for rent control or not. These two changes could potentially have a big impact on the prices of Dutch homes.

At this moment Dutch house prices were 5,7% higher in August 2019 than a year before. This is down from the 9,5% year over year growth of prices in November 2018.

Netherlands Average House Prices Year over Year Percentage Change
Netherlands Average House Prices Year over Year Percentage Change (CBS)

The average sales price of Dutch home has risen to a price of € 316,000. At the bottom in June 2013 the average sales price of house in The Netherlands was € 206.000. From the bottom in 2013 prices have risen a total of 53%.

Netherlands Average House Sale Price (CBS)
Netherlands Average House Sale Price (CBS)

The rise in prices has led to a decline in houses that are sold per month. As can be seen in the two below charts the amount of houses that are sold each month has been declining. This is also partly caused by a shortage of houses in the Netherlands.

Netherlands Houses Sold Year Over Year Percentage Change (CBS)
Netherlands Houses Sold Year Over Year Percentage Change (CBS)
Netherlands Amount of Houses Sold per Month (CBS)
Netherlands Amount of Houses Sold per Month (CBS)

At this moment the value of all houses sold in the Netherlands is not showing any signs of weakness but a drop can happen suddenly as the below chart shows.

Netherlands Value of Houses Sold per Month (CBS)
Netherlands Value of Houses Sold per Month (CBS)

U.S. House Prices vs. the S&P 500

Is investing in real estate more profitable than investing in the S&P 500 over a long period? This long term chart shows that for much of the last century investing in the S&P 500 returned much greater returns than investing in real estate did. This chart only misses one thing in my opinion. This chart does not show possible rental income and the re-investment of this rental income in other houses. At the same time it also doesn’t show possible costs and taxes associated with homeownership and thus with investing in real estate. Nonetheless it is a nice chart to view.

US House prices vs. S&P 500 long term
Long term US House Prices vs. S&P 500

Here is another chart showing US house prices from 1987 till April, 2019. This is the Case Shiller Index.

Case Shiller National and Composite Indices Nominal
Case Shiller National and Composite Indices

Here is the same Case Shiller index with year-over-year percentage change until April 2019. This chart is showing that the rise of house prices has declined the last few years. A cause for this has been the Federal Reserve which has raised rates from 2016 till 2019. This has caused mortgage rates to rise over that same period.

Case Shiller National and Composite Index year-over-year percentage change
Case Shiller National and Composite Index year-over-year percentage change

Here’s a chart of the average fixed rate on 15 year and 30 year US mortgages. It will be interesting to see whether the drop in rates will lead a pick up in house prices later this year. From the end of 2018 mortgage rates have been dropping lower as it has been anticipated that the Federal Reserve will lower rates (which they have done with 0.25% in July, 2019.

15 Year and 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States
15 Year and 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States

The Herengracht Index

Here’s two different charts of the Herengracht Index. The Herengracht Index is a very long index showing the value of house prices along the Herengracht in Amsterdam. The Herengracht is a street in the center of Amsterdam alongside the Herengracht canal and has since the beginning of the 1600s always been a street on which people have been eager to live.

“The Herengracht has been dug in three phases, of which the first was in 1585, the second in 1612, and the third in 1660. By 1680, nearly all the lots on the canal had been developed. The properties built during the first development phase between 1585 and 1612 were relatively small and insignificant, but from the second construction phase in 1612, the Herengracht was meant to be the most fashionable and beautiful of all the canals in Amsterdam. It has been Amsterdam’s finest location until present times.

Nearly all the properties on the Herengracht practice of trades was prohibited, many also were for residential use, but, although the contained the office of the owner. In this century, the buildings along the canal have been increasingly put to use as offices, especially in the more expensive areas. The first building specifically constructed for office use dates from 1858, while the first time an existing building was transformed into an office was in 1808. Especially in the first half of the twentieth century were many properties transformed into offices. For all properties, ownership of the building and the land on which it stands go together.

The number of properties has gradually decreased over time. Originally, there were 614 lots, but already during the first development phase, lots were combined to allow for the construction of bigger buildings. This has continued until the present, and there are now some 487 properties.” Source: A Long Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973

Herengracht Index

Herengracht Index

Herengracht Index

Herengracht Index

Herengracht Amsterdam overview
Birdseye view of the Herengracht in the center of Amsterdam

Amsterdam housing prices in euro per m2 from 2002 till 2018

This animation (gif) show the property value in euro per m2 of houses in Amsterdam from 2002 till 2018 based on the sale price. The color ranges in the legend are adjusted to the annual inflation rate in The Netherlands.

Housing prices in Amsterdam have doubled in most parts of the city. Notice how the prices in Amsterdam reached a low in 2013 after the financial crisis. I’ve posted before about how Dutch housing prices dropped a total of 20% from 2008 till 2013. It’s which was It’s easy to spot the boom bust and now boom home price in Amsterdam in this visualisation.

Charts via .gif made by me.

Huizenprijzen Amsterdam gif. Housing prices Amsterdam gif. Home prices Amsterdam. House prices Amsterdam. Property value Amsterdam.
Animation of the annual change in house prices in euro in Amsterdam per square meter (m2) based on the sale price

Dutch House Prices Have Remained Flat The Last Few Months

Dutch house prices have remained flat the last few months. The price index has been stuck near 85 since April of this year. According to CBS year over year home prices dropped 4% last month. Home prices are now 20.3% below the record of August 2008.

Prices of existing owner-occupied dwellings

CBS: Prices of existing owner-occupied dwellings

CBS: Price index of existing owner-occupied dwellings

CBS: Price index of existing owner-occupied dwellings

Corrected for inflation house prices haven’t moved either as Mathijs Bouman showed with another chart on Twitter. According to the chart below home prices corrected for inflation are at the same level as in October 1999. In a post I made about Dutch house prices in June of this year I also noted that the price, corrected for inflation, was the same as in October 1999. While we can speculate about what home prices will do next right now it looks like we have found a temporary bottom at the very least.

Dutch house prices corrected for inflation

Bouman: Dutch house prices corrected for inflation

Dutch House Prices Adjusted For Inflation Are Near The Level Of The Last Top in The 1970s

The Dallas Federal Reserve updated their International House Price Database with the number for the first quarter of 2013 last week. They are tracking house prices since 1975 so this provides for nice opportunity to see where we are standing on a long term basis.

In a in a recent post I mentioned that house prices in the Netherlands are now at 1999 levels adjusted for inflation (blogpost).

These new released numbers from the Dallas Fed show that the Dutch Real House Price Index (house prices adjusted for inflation) are approaching the levels of the last top in 1978. Although I never expect (and hope) that house prices will approach the same level as the bottom of 1985 but it wil be interesting to see if prices will go lower than the top in the 1970s. My argument for this is that Dutch society went in a few decades from having almost only single-income households to now the majority being two-income households. In 2009 the CBS reported that two-income households made up 57% of all households. Two-income households make more money than single-income households. Because of this the amount of money the average household can spend is a lot higher these days and thus they are able to afford a higher price for their house. Source: CBS (PDF)

Dutch house prices adjusted for inflation long term nederlandse huizenprijzen gecorrigeerd voor inflatie lange termijn

Just for reference here is also the chart with the Dutch House Price Index from the Dallas Fed.

Dutch House price index dallas fed long term nederlandse huizenprijzen index lange termijn

House Prices In The Netherlands Are Now At 1999 Levels Adjusted For Inflation

House prices in the Nethterlands have been declining since the end of 2008. The total decline has been 20.6% since the top according to CBS.

house prices netherlands month over month decline

In nominal terms house prices are now at 2002 levels.

houseprices index cbs netherlands

Thanks to @mathijsbouman I now have a chart that shows that the average price for a house adjusted for inflation in the Netherlands is now at a level last seen in october 1999. A little calculation that I made based on this chart comes out at a decline of 28% from the top.

House prices netherlands Nederland Adjusted for inflation huizenprijs gecorrigeerd voor inflatie

Interesting about this is that a few years ago the tax on buying a home has been reduced from 6% to 2% so one could argue that prices of houses are even lower than 1999 levels.

The decline has wiped up all the gains that were made in the housing market by using special constructions to finance mortgages such as interest-only mortgages. A product that became popular after 2000 and which helped home prices to increase. Now only mortgages are available where people have to pay of the loan.

Thanks to the decline of house prices the percentage an average household has to spend every month for their house has dropped from 30% of net income to 20% of net income.

betaalbaarheid nederlandse koopwoningen percentage netherlands households spend on housing

Before 1999 home prices rose mainly because many households went from buying a house on one income to buying a house on two incomes. People would buy houses based on 6-7 yearly income instead of 4. It will be interesting to see if that trend will change.