Throughout the pandemic, the Netherlands has been hotter than hot among high earners and highly skilled workers.

Rotterdam Has “Too Many Buyers for Too Few Homes”

Rotterdam, bisected by the Maas river in the South Holland province of the Netherlands, has the attention of both home buyers and corporations.  The city is home to Europe’s busiest port, a skyline filled with corporations such as Unilever and Shell, and a rolling, countrified landscape.

Soaring demand, shrinking inventory and low interest rates have pushed prices to record heights, according to Carola de Groot, senior economist for housing with Rabobank, a Dutch financial-services group.  “People could borrow more and buy more,” and as a result Groot said, “about 80 percent of the homes sold above their asking price last year.”


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Like elsewhere, as interest rates jump and the Ukrainian war strains the Dutch economy, the housing market in Rotterdam has cooled somewhat.  “Somewhat” in Rotterdam means that in January 2022, prices increased +21.1% and cooled to +19.5% in March.

More than 90% of the housing stock in central Rotterdam consists of apartments. Rising interest rates have not quelled demand as lines of 70-80 people wait to get a look at basic units now available for 300,000 euros.  Ploni F. Boumand-de Wolf, owner of the Bouman Makelaardij agency said, “Buyers are just changing their searches, so more of them are competing for lower-priced homes…there are simply too many buyers for too few homes.”

Bouman-de Wolf estimated average prices ranging from $300-$500/square foot for apartments depending on location and $500-$1,200/square foot for detached homes, again depending on lot size and proximity to one of the area’s lakes.

Leslie D.T. de Ruiter, managing partner of R365/Christie’s International Real Estate, said that the luxury end of the market has soared.  In the past five years, the number of Rotterdam homes selling for over one million euros has doubled.  The Dutch News website recently reported that the Netherlands now has 143,000 homes valued at more than one million euros, almost 10 times more than reported in 2013.

According to Nathalie de Widt, owner of the Rotterdam Apartments agency, “Rotterdam has gone up, but prices in Amsterdam can be double.”

Who Are the Buyers?

Despite immigrants making up more than half the population of Rotterdam, “the buyer pool…is 90% Dutch,” said Sebastiaan van der Velden, managing partner at Kolpa van de Hoek/Sotheby’s International Realty.  “Foreigners who come (here) mostly rent.”

A growing presence of multinational corporations is attracting high skilled workers from India and America.  de Widt said, “When (Americans) do come, they’re with families, looking for very big houses, in areas with good schools.”

The Basics of Buying

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers throughout the Netherlands.  Once a contract is finalized (buyers can terminate the sales agreement within three days), notaries do due diligence on the property, execute the sales agreement and register the deed for a fee of approximately $1,605 or 1,500 euros.

Foreign buyers have easy access to mortgages through Dutch lenders.

Recently, due to tight inventories, Rotterdam’s city council passed laws discouraging foreign investors to buy rental properties in the city by implementing higher transfer taxes and capital-gains levies.

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Thanks to The New York Times.

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