AMSTERDAM Nov 4 Dutch building group BAM (BAMN.AS) took a 127 million euro ($179.6 million) property write-down citing an increasingly depressed housing market, as the credit crisis continues to hit building projects and the readiness of people to take on mortgages. [ID:nLDE6A30IP]
Following are some facts about the Dutch housing market.
WIDER HOME OWNERSHIP
After World War Two, the Netherlands suffered from a big housing shortage, so the government and housing associations started massive building projects for rental homes.
With economic prosperity came a need for higher quality and non-rental houses while the break-up of the traditional family unit has also boosted the need for houses. Currently the split between rented and owned property is about even as home ownership is encouraged with the use of tax breaks on mortgages.
Demand for new houses in the Netherlands is expected to rise in line with the rise in the number of households, according to a recent report by the Phanos Capital group, a property investment fund.
It expects the number of households to increase by some 550,000 units per year in 2003-2010, dropping to 50,000 per year in the 2010-2020 period, reflecting demographic and socioeconomic factors.
TRANSACTIONS AND PRICES
In September, 10,411 houses and flats were sold in the Netherlands, down 6.4 percent from August and down 6.5 percent on a year ago, the land registry, which keeps track of property transactions nationwide, said in its monthly report.
House prices fell 1.8 percent in September from a year ago, as the pace of decline slowed from 5 percent in July 2009. The annual rise peaked in January 2000 at 20 percent.
Several big public-private new housing projects have been cancelled or scaled down for financing reasons in the wake of the credit crisis, including the Bloemendalerpolder for 4,500 houses south of Amsterdam and the Wierringerrandmeer in the northwest for 2,000 houses around a recreational lake.
In the office sector, some large projects had already been scaled down substantially. Amsterdam wants to save 200 million euros on its 400 house building projects including the IJburg II artificial island area in the large IJsselmeer lake.
The latest data for 2009 shows there are 16.58 million people in the Netherlands, grouped in 7.31 million households of which 2.62 million are single-person households. There were 7.2 million houses in 2009, when new building permits fell by 17 percent. The mismatch is in quality, size, location and price.
(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)