Rabobank: rise in house prices and sales to continue

The Dutch housing market will continue to grow in 2015. The number of homes sold is expected to reach between 150,000 and 170,000, while house prices will rise by between 1 and 3% compared to 2014. This is the view of the Rabobank economists in their Dutch Housing Market Quarterly published today.

Housing market economist Pieter van Dalen: 'The end-of-year rally which we experienced during the last few months of 2014 does mean that we can expect to see a dip in the number of homes sold in the first quarter of this year.'

The recovery on the Dutch owner-occupied housing market gathered pace during the fourth quarter of 2014. The number of homes sold rose substantially quarter on quarter: adjusted for seasonal effects, over 20% more than in the third quarter of 2014. Van Dalen: 'This was above all due to many households still wanting to take advantage of the temporary relaxation of exemptions from gift tax. This scheme in fact expired at the end of the year, leading many buyers to bring forward their house purchase plans.'

Although the Rabobank economist anticipates that this will cause the number of transactions to fall back in the first quarter of this year, the housing market will indeed grow further over 2015 as a whole, albeit more slowly than last year. 'In 2014 it was a clear picture of catch-up growth, following 2013 when the housing market had reached its lowest point. Growth this year will be somewhat more modest', according to Van Dalen.

He expects that the positive factors such as a further economic recovery, high consumer confidence, lower mortgage interest rates and the substantial number of new homes sold will be strong enough to support this growth. Van Dalen: 'These trends are expected to have a greater effect than the negative factors, such as ending or scaling back stimulus measures, the negative equity problem and credit-restricting measures.'

You can read the Dutch Housing Market Quarterly at: www.rabobank.com/economics

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