A Q+A about the Amsterdam housing market. Life can often feel like a roller coaster ride even at the best of times. We all lead such busy lives and the weeks and months seemed to just fly in a flash. Until that is early 2020 when the clocks stopped. Lockdowns, restrictions and working from home made life feel like it was working in slow motion. As we move through 2021, it feels like there is more hope than before.
One notable part of the economy that lots of people were keeping an eye on is the housing market. Much to the surprise of many people, demand in the housing market remained strong during this crisis. House prices continued to creep up. Just recently it was announced that demand for mortgages was at record levels. We wanted to understand more, so we asked Indra from the Dutch Real Estate Company for some insights.
Nothing goes up forever and even the corona situation did not dampen the market. Expats continue to put down roots in The Netherlands. This is the dream for so many people. We wanted to learn more about what is going on in the housing market. So we created this information Q+A with Indra. For years now Indra helps expats with their housing needs. We get to hear about her services and views on the housing market. Indra, thank you for your time in answering our questions.
Q1. Indra, the world has drastically changed in 2020, how do you see the Amsterdam housing market in 2021 and beyond?
Indeed the world has drastically changed in 2020! The effect on Amsterdam housing however has been limited. The tightness on the market is mainly the result of two things. Firstly the historically low interest rates, borrowing has never been this cheap. Secondly the shortage of available houses, for 2021 the estimated shortage of housing is 285.000 and will only be rising due to builders not being able to keep up with the growth of the population.
Both of these are not likely to change over the course of the next few years. The one thing that has changed the market is the fact that a sizable portion of expats has left, and fewer are arriving. This however has had no effect on the housing market for buyers due to the earlier mentioned factors. It has had an effect on the renting market, in which we see a declining demand and therefore a decrease in rent.
Q2. You have helped many people I know to acquire their homes. Please tell us more about Dutch Real Estate Company and how you help people.
We are a full-service real estate agency, in the widest sense of the word. Meaning we help our clients from A to N (N for notary) and beyond, which is especially for expats an enormous relief. Most expats live extremely busy lives and on top of that don’t know the market, so we make sure to guide our clients every step of the way. Even with the help of a real estate agent can not knowing the market well create an unwanted situation.
Most agencies charge a commission-based fee for purchase. Since the market is exceptionally tight at the moment overbidding is the norm. By how much we have to overbid however is less certain. It is not surprising that first-time buyers can start to wonder if they overbid by too much on the advice of their broker since it is in most cases in the broker’s interest to offer as much as possible to inflate their own commission. For that reason, we decided to charge our clients a flat fee for purchase, to be completely transparent.
Q3. What are the main issues expats have when wanting to enter the housing market?
The main issue is the fact that most people rarely know where to start. The beginning of the process is the most important part, where we select and view properties in line with our client’s wishes. Making sure these wishes are realistic and getting a foot in the door with selling brokers is where we make the difference.
Q4. The post-purchase hand holding is also interesting. Expats have such busy lives and take extreme care in their choices when doing building or refurbishment projects. How do you help in that situation?
Not only do we guide our clients through the purchasing process, upon request we can help both with furnishing and renovating as we have our own team of specialists from every trade. This gives our clients a vast advantage in the early part of the process since we can widen our search and look for properties that are not yet to their taste in terms of finishing, or even shells. Planning and executing a renovation by yourself can be a stressful event. Our clients can be as involved as they prefer to be in a renovation. So they can decide to make most of the decisions themselves, or let us completely take over and be 100% stress-free.
Q5. Do you see a return to normality in 2021 – 2022? How do you see things changing for expats in the coming years?
With the predictions from the government regarding the vaccine campaign we might indeed see a part of the expats who left return and more coming in overall later this year. We can’t be sure about this though since the pandemic could be causing a fundamental change in how businesses operate location wise.
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Thank you Indra for your answers and these great insights into the Amsterdam housing market and how you help expats.
For more information about Indra, see the Dutch Real Estate Company website.
Address: Maasstraat 188, 1079 BL, Amsterdam
Phone: 020 772 3460
For more like this, see our blogs articles about living in Amsterdam.