New residents to get official warnings about aircraft noise

People moving into new homes close to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport will be warned about aircraft noise before they move in, and the warning will become part of sales contracts, the Haarlems Dagblad has reported.

Agreement on an official aircraft noise warning has been reached between junior infrastructure minister Sharon Dijksma, Schiphol airport, airline KLM and local and provincial governments, the paper says.

While no new homes are being built directly under flight paths, thousands of houses are being built in areas where noise is likely to be a problem. In particular, 4,500 new homes are being built south-east of Amsterdam close to the Buitenveldert runway.

Other projects in Zaandam, Badhoevedorp, Hoofddorp and Beverwijk will also have to take aircraft noise into consideration.

The paper says that by warning potential residents about the aircraft noise, the sector will not be faced with extra costs and further expansion of housing stock will be made possible.

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Is the end of the boom in sight? House prices in Amsterdam drop slightly

House prices in Amsterdam were down 0.5 % in the third quarter of 2017, compared with the three months to end June, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday, quoting figures from real estate agency association NVM.

The price of terraced homes fell by as much as 7% compared with the second quarter, the NVM figures show. Terraced homes are particularly common in parts of Noord, Zuid-Oost and Nieuw-West, all areas of the city that had been booming.

‘We may have reached the top of the market,’ Sven Heinen, chair of the Amsterdam association told the paper. House prices in the capital have risen steadily since the end of 2013, with annual increases of up to 25%.

‘Many people find it impossible to pay the current prices,’ he said. The average asking price for a home in Amsterdam is now €506,000, according to the NVM figures.

Year on year, Amsterdam house prices are still up 17% in the third quarter, but the number of transactions has also fallen 17%.

Nationwide, the number of transactions fell 5% overall, but prices rose by an average of 2% quarter on quarter. There were notable drops in the number of homes changing hands in Leiden and Delft, the NVM said.

House prices were up nearly 19% in Leiden compared with last year and rose 18% in The Hague and 17.5% in Almere.

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Big interest from home buyers in Open House Day


The Dutch property brokers’ semi-annual Open House Day last Saturday was deemed a success despite the uncertain weather and the limited supply of houses for sale, the Telegraaf reported on Monday.

A full 85,000 visitors toured the 18,000 houses listed in the event. Most visits took place at housing outside the big cites, the brokers group NVM said.

‘In the major cities houses are for sale for such a short time that participation in the Open House Day is less important. But the houses there which took part attracted a great deal of interest,’ an NVM spokesman said.

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Bomb-maker who filled Ymere flat with explosives can be evicted

A gavel in a courtroom.Photo: Depositphotos

A 27-year-old who furnished his rental apartment with home-made explosives, weapons and ammunition can finally be evicted after a court ruling, according to Ymere housing corporation.

The man was picked up by police in July, when neighbours suspected there was something fishy about the new inhabitant.

When his house and cellar area were searched, reports the Haarlems Dagblad, police discovered the explosives, neighbours were evacuated, and the weapons were disposed of in controlled explosions.

Local mayor Jos Wienen decided the apartment should be nailed shut for three months, but the social housing corporation had to go to court for permission to dissolve the lease and formally eject the tenant.

Ymere regional manager Gerrie Blok said in a press release: ‘This is in th e interests of all neighbours and nearby inhabitants. Safety is of the highest priority.’

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Property brokers see need for housing minister to ease shortage of homes


The incoming cabinet should have a minister for housing to ease the way through the growing housing shortage, the Dutch property brokers association NVM will tell parliament on Wednesday.

The NVM claims not enough new homes have been built over the past seven years and there is now a shortage of at least 200,000 homes in the Netherlands as a whole, the organisation told the Telegraaf

The brokers group said newcomers to the market suffered the most: the owner-occupier market in places like Amsterdam has been operating at capacity for years as has the rental sector. The result is that newcomers are stuck with housing that is too small or too expensive, and often both.

Parliament will discuss the housing shortage with brokers, developers and housing experts on Wednesday.

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Interest-only mortgages a looming disaster for people in their 50s: ING

Hundreds of thousands of people in their 50s who took out interest-only mortgages face major problems in getting a new mortgage because they have not paid off any of the principle debt, the AD said on Wednesday.

Many people have a virtual hundreds of thousands of euros in equity tied up in their property because of rising prices, but that does not usually count towards a new mortgage, the paper said. Rather, mortgages are based on income and, for older people, future pension payments.

A survey for ING by Kantar TNS found half of people in their 50s don’t see the need to save up and pay off the principal debt. Around half of them have not saved up any money to pay off their mortgage, the AD said.

The Dutch central bank said earlier it estimated 200,000 people in their 50s could find themselves in financial trouble because of their interest-only mortgages, which enabled them to keep their monthly outgoings low.

‘Most home owners feel comfortable in their homes because they have built up a substantial increase in equity,’ ING mortgage expert Wim Flikweert said in the bank’s latest housing market briefing. ‘They’ve lived in their homes for a long time and their mortgage is relatively low. But it really is important that they have sufficient income at the point when their mortgage has to be extended.’

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Private home insulation subsidy scheme almost out of money

The €60m which the government set aside last September to help home owners make their homes more energy efficient has almost all been spent, the Volkskrant said on Monday.

Home owners were able to claim a maximum €15,000 towards the cost of floor, wall and roof insulation or more energy saving glass. In total, 9,000 home owners have been able to make use of the grants, the paper said.

It will be up to the next government whether or not to continue the subsidy scheme, which was part of a wider package of measures to try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by private homes.

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Dutch universities urged to act on foreign student housing crisis

Students in the Netherlands sometimes live in converted shipping containers.

Foreign students attending Dutch universities and hbo colleges are being forced to sleep on campsites, in hotels and even in cars because of the shortage of accommodation for them, national student union LSVB says.

‘Universities have actively recruited the students who have nowhere to live. They need to take responsibility and find a solution,’ Tariq Swebaransingh, chairman of the LSVB, said in a website statement.

‘Like their Dutch peers, many of them have been looking for somewhere to live for months,’ he said.’One British student slept on the sofa at our offices… but has finally decided to go back home because he had not found anywhere to live in four months.’

The organisation has opened a hotline where students can report their problems. One French student told the hotline she had lived in a flat via Airbnb for a month and then moved to a hostel. Unable to afford it any longer, she too has returned to France.

An additional problem, the Volkskrant said, is that many student houses don’t want to open their doors to international students. They argue that international students are not in the country for long enough to build up close ties.

The situation is so acute in Groningen that the city council has reopened a refugee centre where students can sleep for €16 a night.

Some 112,000 foreign students were studying in the Netherlands in the previous academic year, many of them part-time through the Erasmus programme. Unless they are willing to take action on the housing crisis, universities should stop trying to bring in foreign students on ‘false pretexts’, Sewbaransingh said.

Are you a foreign student with problems finding a house? Share your experiences below.

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Big Dutch banks lose more ground in mortgage market


The big three Dutch banks ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank now have 50% of the Dutch market, down two percentage points on the first quarter of the year, according to research by IG&H Consulting.

It is the third quarter in a row that the big three combined have lost market share, although Rabobank actually grew slightly, the consultancy is quoted as saying by news agency ANP.

Insurance group Aegon has now overtaken ING and ABN Amro’s Florius mortgage label and is in third place. Insurance companies now have 14% of the market and were particularly popular with first-time buyers.

‘Long term interest rates tend to be lower with insurance companies, allowing them to lend more to clients. This makes them attractive to people starting out,’ spokesman Joppe Smit said.

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Private investors snap up property in popular Dutch cities


More than one in 10 homes which come up for sale in the most popular Dutch cities are being bought by private investors who rent them out, often to students or expats, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.

In particular, investors are snapping up cheaper homes which are suitable for families and first-time buyers, the paper said. Last year, for example, 15% of homes sold for below €100,000 went to an investor, compared with just 5% in 2008, land registry researcher Paul de Vries told the Volkskrant.

‘The same homes are then offered as rental properties,’ he said.

Cities with a large student or expat population are tempting for private investors. In Maastricht, almost 20% of homes coming on the market are bought as an investment while in Groningen, Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Enschede and The Hague more than one in 10 properties changing hands end up being rented out.

In 2008, just 7% of home owners had more than one property but that has now gone up to just over 11%.

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