Buying an apartment in Amsterdam can be quite a challenge. Not only is there still a nation-wide housing shortage, Amsterdam is also one of the most popular places to live. How can you still buy a nice property in the capital of the Netherlands? We’ll show you how and where to buy an apartment in Amsterdam.

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Overheated Dutch housing market

To buy or not to buy? Many expats have doubts about buying an apartment in Amsterdam. The prices are sky-high and it doesn’t look like anything will change soon. Not to mention how fast you’ll have to be if there’s a house or apartment available. Is it still possible to buy an apartment in Amsterdam? The short answer: yes, although you’ll have to be quick. However; don’t let the beauty of the apartment blind you. Get proper advice from an expert who knows how the market works.

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Buying an apartment in Amsterdam: the location

You can think of a location before you visit a real estate agent or discuss it with your real estate agent during your first appointment. Where in Amsterdam would you like to live? Do you have to live as close to the city center as possible, or are the suburbs also interesting for you? Keep in mind that the housing market is quite overheated, so it is recommended to have a second and third option as well.

  1. Living in Amsterdam city center

The city center is the heart of the city and the place where you’ll usually find the tourists. The charming canals and small alley’s make it a great place to live. And if you’re not fond of busy streets: there are also quite a few back streets that are just off the beaten tourist path, but still within close proximity of all the well-known attractions and services.

What kind of house or apartment can you get in this neighborhood? The 17th century canal houses are rarely available on the market; most of them are owned by companies. If they decide to sell you can easily look at a few million for a canal house. Some canal houses are split up in multiple apartments, which might be going for 300k and up, prices of more than a million are possible.

  1. Living in the Jordaan

Just next to the city center is the Jordaan-neighborhood. There are songs about this neighborhood and it still is the neighborhood where the real ‘Amsterdammers’ live, with quirky, nice people with a big heart. The independent shops, picturesque canals and lively café’s make it a great place to live.

What kind of apartment can you get in this neighborhood? For an apartment of 53-73 m2 you will pay anything between 300k to 550k, so it’s very important to discuss with your real estate agent if the apartment is worth that amount. Depending on the street or the view your real estate agent can see if the listing price is above market value and offer you another property instead. Would you like to live here? Contact us for available houses and apartments.

  1. Living in Amsterdam Oost

Amsterdam Oost actually consists of multiple neighborhoods, each with its own charm. The area has a few parks to relax and a few smaller shopping areas, so there’s no need to travel to the city center to get the things you need. There were a few neighborhoods in the city which used to be ‘problem areas’, but the city worked hard to improve the markets, attractions and greenery.

If you are looking to buy an apartment in Amsterdam Oost, it is important to look at the specific neighborhoods. Prices in Zeeburg and the Indische buurt are slightly lower because this area is still in development. An apartment of 80m2 can sell for around 375k, while the same square meters can cost 525k in the Jeruzalem neighborhood.

  1. Amsterdam Zuid

Amsterdam Zuid is well known for the offices and the VU university, but also for the iconic Rijksmuseum, music halls like the AFAS live theatre, luxurious stores in the P.C. Hooftstraat and innovative restaurants.

Just below the grachtengordel in Amsterdam you will find de Pijp, a neighborhood south of the city center. Apartments in the shopping streets like Albert Cuypstraat will easily sell for more than 500k for 75m2. If you look further away from the center and near the Zuidas, you will notice either the prices will drop 50k to 100k, or the m2 will go up. This neighborhood is close to parks and rivers but can feel rather businesslike.

  1. Amsterdam Noord

Amsterdam Noord is ‘on the sunny side of the river Ij’, as people who live there like to say. With a ferry you can get to the neighborhood filled with modern architecture, stylish restaurants near or on the water, but also the classic Dutch rural villages. Do keep in mind that this part of Amsterdam is more Dutch than international, so there might be less services or groups for expats.

Prices for apartments here are lower than the city center: you could buy a 112m2 apartment with four rooms for just below 300k. Do ask your real estate agent about the street the apartment is in though. Just like every city, Amsterdam has better and lesser neighborhoods. This area is still in development, so some areas might be less appealing than others.

  1. Amsterdam West

Amsterdam West is also called ‘the living room’ of the entire city. The calm and rustic streets are a nice contrast with the busy shopping streets spread throughout the neighborhood. On the Westergasterrein are many old favorites and new comers you have to visit at least once. With independent boutiques, exposition spaces and the Foodhallen you will never get bored in this area.

Prices have been going up for a while now, and in the western area you will pay around 300k for an apartment of about 60m2. If you wish to live near the Foodhallen or Food Center, prices can easily reach the 400k or even 500k for around 60-70m2. Would you like to live here? Please contact us for an overview of houses and apartments on the market.

Buying an apartment in the area surrounding Amsterdam

If there is not an apartment that suits your tastes in Amsterdam, it might be worth looking at the surrounding area. Zaandam for example has the upcoming neighborhood Oud-West, with apartments ranging for 300k to 400k for 100m2 to 125m2 with a view of the river. Or Haarlem, which is only half an hour away by train, with a great location close to the beach. You could get an apartment for 250k if you’re okay with 50m2 to 70m2. When buying an apartment in Amsterdam is difficult, these cities can be a good alternative.

The process of buying an apartment in Amsterdam

Together with a real estate agent you can search for the right property in the right neighborhood for the right price. While most real estate agents will ask you to go to a mortgage advisor first to see what you can afford, Expats Amsterdam can advise you on your mortgage as well as your future home.

  1. Our mortgage advisor will look at your financial status and determine what your maximum mortgage can be.
  2. After that our real estate agent will work with that budget and show you apartments within your maximum mortgage.
  3. Your real estate agent will plan viewings with you for the apartments you like. We will accompany you to the viewing and give you advice about the VVE association, the structure and if there are any issues that need to be solved. An example could be water damage for which you would need to repair a roof.
  4. After you’ve decided on an apartment, we will negotiate about the price, date of transfer as well as the dissolving clause.
  5. A house inspection will be conducted a few days after the seller has accepted your offer. This inspection serves to spot any damage you might have missed during the viewing.
  6. After you and the seller have come to an agreement, you can sign a preliminary purchase deed.
  7. The bank will want to have a valuation to give them an independent estimate of the apartment you are buying. They will need a payment of 10 percent of the house through the notary
  8. On the day of transfer you will have a final walk-through of the apartment before you visit the notary to sign all the paperwork. Time to get the keys and be a Dutch homeowner!

Expats Amsterdam consists of a team of highly motivated realtors, real estate agents and mortgage advisors, who will help you look for the perfect property.