If you are planning to stay in Amsterdam for an extended period of time you may want to consider buying your own house or apartment. There are no limitations to foreigners owning a property in the Netherlands. However, as Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in the whole world, prices might be crazy, especially in the city center. How much does it really cost to buy a house in Amsterdam then?
House prices in Amsterdam surpassed the peaks seen before the crisis in 2008. The price per square meter in the city center (as of March 2019) is around 7,000 Euro. Outside the center – 4,800 Euro and outside the Ring – around 2,500 – 3,500 Euro. There are also additional expenses you have to incur: transfer tax, civil law notary etc. (in total 5 – 6% of the value of the property value).
As you can see, buying a property in Amsterdam is quite expensive. Even if you decide to move a bit far away from the city center. Unfortunately, according to some research, it is highly likely that house prices will continue to go up in Amsterdam over the next few years. In fact, the Netherlands has the second fastest rise in house prices in whole Europe.
Real estate market in Amsterdam
Housing is currently one of the most hotly debated topics in Amsterdam. Mainly because the price increase is sparking tensions. After financial crisis in 2008, prices in Amsterdam decreased approximately 25% from the peak. Many property owners faced mortgage greater than the value of their property. However, over the last years the housing market has picked up. And it has been doing it extremely fast. One of the possible reasons is that more and more expats move into the city – this makes Amsterdam’s houses go for record prices. The median transaction price this year has been 448,000 Euro (NVM data) which is a new record. On average, house prices in Amsterdam rose around 8% in the Q4, 2018 compared to the year earlier. Of course, price depends on the size of the property and the exact location.
Property type versus its price
Not surprisingly, apartments in the city center are the most expensive. Prices vary between 6,000 – 8,000 Euro per square meter. On the other hand, a large house in the city center goes for approximately 1 Million Euro. Prime canal-belt addresses fetch up to even 5 Million Euro which is just insane. A 2 – 3 room apartment in De Pijp area will cost around 250,000 – 400,000 Euro. For those who want to pay a bit less there are small apartments in an outer suburb – prices start from 180,000 Euro.
You can also find small houses in e.g. Amstelveen for as ‘little’ as 350,000 – 380,000 Euro (to buy a big one in the area, you should be prepared for an expense of around 500,000 Euro). If you decide to move to Harleem, the prices will be a bit lower than in Amstelveen.
Click here to check how the property value in the city of Amsterdam has been changing in the last couple of years.
Not only does price of a property depend on its type but also on its location. It may turn out that you will need to compromise in order to get the right balance. Usually young single people tend to choose apartments close to the city center as long as they can afford it. Couples with children often prefer the out-of-the-center locations like the outer suburbs or even a town outside of Amsterdam.
The busiest part of the city. Besides prices, there is one huge disadvantage – you hardly can find a quiet back street. The most expensive properties in the city center are canal houses (some of them were built in the 17th century). There is also an option to choose the Jordaan district – you can have amazing canal view and a nice, communal atmosphere here. The district is quite popular but prices are still very high.
Outside the city center
Outer suburbs can look promising to those who want to save some money but still live relatively close to the city center. The most popular districts in the area are Amsterdam Oud-West and Amsterdam Out-Zuid. The first one is a very dynamic neighbourhood, full of trendy café bars, restaurants and design stores. The second one is very posh with many jaw-dropping villas and elegant restaurants. There are also De Pijp (a very multicultural area) and Rivierenbuurt (a very classy and green neighbourhood, just perfect for families). Young, active and modern people will be probably happy to consider some new developments in the IJ waterfront.
Those districts are much cheaper than the city center. Still, there are easily accessible from the center by public transport. The most popular neighbourhoods are: Osdorp, Amsterdam South-East and Slotervaart.
Other towns outside Amsterdam
Perfect for those who have a family and are looking for a big house. One of the most recommended districts is Amstelveen (close to the airport). There are also Harleem, Hilversum and Zaandam. They offer a variety of properties at affordable prices. All of them are located around 15 – 30 minutes by train from the city center. The properties there are larger and prices are significantly lower.
Costs of buying a house
The price of the house is not everything you have to pay in order to have your own place on Earth. When you buy a house or an apartment in Amsterdam, some extra costs apply. They apply for both the buyer and the seller. However, in this article I will just focus on fees on the buyer’s side. Those are the following:
- Transfer tax – a person who buys a house in the Netherlands have to pay 2% of the property value to the government. However, you do not have to pay it if you buy a newly built property or if the seller you buy a property from bought it less than six months previously. Transfer tax applies to the value of the property itself (it means that if you buy al old house any things left behind are not included).
- Civil-law notary – depending on the notary, you will pay between 1,000 and 3,000 Euro to transfer property to your name. The notary is necessary if you want to register the sale of the house and the mortgage.
- Valuation – depending on the size of your property, this will cost 300 – 800 Euro. This cost is paid when there is a mortgage needed to buy the property.
- Financial advisor – usually 2,000 Euro is the minimum.
- Sometimes bank guarantee is needed. This applies if you cannot provide a 10% to the seller. Bank guarantee is usually 1% of the amount of the guarantee.
- Closing fee – it is charged by the bank. Usually this is 1% of the mortgage amount.
- If you decide to find a real estate agent, this will cost you approximately 1,000 – 3,000 Euro (or charge between 1 – 2 % of the property value).
- If you are a foreigner (like an expat) you may consider an interpreter’s help. The costs of an interpreter start at 200 Euro.
Does it make sense to buy a house in Amsterdam?
It has been a hard time for those who want to buy a property in Amsterdam. The prices have been growing rapidly and there has remained a shortage of affordable apartments. However, prices may be still going up so buying a house may still be a good investment. Mortgage interests are quite low and most people are eligible for tax relief on the interest. What is more, you will own real estate and its price may increase again. You also have to know that many expenses related to buying a house in the Netherlands are tax-deductible.
On the other hand, even if buying a house in Amsterdam has many pros, there are some cons to consider. Besides of the price of the property there are many additional costs you have to pay. On average, extra costs are around 5 – 6% of the purchase price. What is more, a buyer will have to add the deemed rental value of their property to their taxable income which means they have to pay taxes on it.
I think that it all depends on how long you plan to stay in Amsterdam. If you want to spend at least 4 – 5 years here, you should definitely consider buying a house here. Rental prices are crazy and approximately 4 – 5 years are like a ‘break-even point’ between buying and renting. Besides, renting a house is also linked with many risks and problems.
Buying your own house in Amsterdam might be a great satisfaction and a good investment at the same time. Expats in the Netherlands usually stay here for a short period of time, but if you plan to live here for several years, buying a house should be a serious idea to consider. Prices of properties in Amsterdam has gone insane, that’s true, but you do not have to buy an apartment in the city center after all. There are many great options outside the city center and in the outer suburbs where you can find a house right from your dreams at a more reasonable and affordable price.