NOS News•today, 08:43•Amended today, 09:15
The mortgage debt of the Dutch rose to 804 billion euros in the second quarter of this year. It is the first time that the joint mortgage debt exceeds the limit of 800 billion euros.
This is according to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics. Mortgage debt rose by 10.6 billion euros compared to the first quarter.
Economy is growing faster
Mortgage debt has been increasing for years, but is growing less rapidly than the size of the economy. This means that the economy is growing faster than the total debt.
This was also the case in the second quarter of this year. At the beginning of this year, the mortgage debt was still 90.2 percent of the gross domestic product. In the second quarter it was 89.4 percent. The so-called debt-to-GDP ratio is now at its lowest point since 2004.
There have been concerns about the relatively high mortgage debt in the Netherlands for some time now. De Nederlandsche Bank, among others, regularly points out the risks. For some households, this means relatively high costs, making financial setbacks less easy to absorb, says the regulator.
The reason for this high mortgage debt is pointed out to, among other things, the relatively flexible lending standards in the Netherlands: you can take out a mortgage for the full value of your home. In other countries this is often 90 percent or less, says DNB.
‘Mainly due to rising house prices’
Peter Boelhouwer, professor of housing market at TU Delft, thinks the increase is large: “Between 2011 and 2019, the mortgage debt rose on an annual basis by 10 to 15 billion euros, which is now happening in one quarter. This is of course mainly due to the enormously increased house prices. people are taking out higher mortgages,” he responded this morning in the NOS Radio 1 News.
According to Boelhouwer, there are risks for consumers, although there are also safety nets such as the National Mortgage Guarantee. “If people go under water, the NHG takes on the residual debt. Due to the enormous rise in house prices, people who have to sell their house are not flooded as quickly as in times of crises.”
He also points to the declining number of payment arrears at Stichting BKR (credit registration). “Since 2014, you see that number drop from 113,000 to about 44,000 now.”
According to the professor, if people get into serious mortgage problems, it is often because someone has lost their job. “But yes, unemployment will not rise as much for the time being with all the shortages in the labor market, so that is reassuring.”
He also expects that if the mortgage interest rate rises further to 5 or 6 percent – “and that can happen just like that” – house prices will fall. “And then the total mortgage debt will level off on its own.”