The number of foreclosure sales in the Netherlands is declining. In 2013, according to the Dutch land registry office (Kadaster) 1,836 homes were auctioned, because their owners were no longer able to pay their mortgages. In 2012, that figure was 2,488. Out of ABN AMRO’s mortgage portfolio 315 houses were auctioned – compared to 400 in 2012. To ABN AMRO, foreclosures are a last resort. The bank does everything in its power to help customers with mortgage problems in as early a stage as possible.
The drop in the number of foreclosure sales is partially due to banks’ preference to offer customers with payment arrears more time to sell their home through conventional channels rather than by auction. In 2013, 1,908 ABN AMRO customers sold their house due to long-term payment arrears. In 2012 the figure was 1,650.
Struggling to pay the mortgage
The latest data from the National Credit Register (BKR) reveal that in October 2013, 92,000 households were struggling to pay their mortgages. On a total of 3.5 million mortgages, that is a relatively low number. The BKR observes that, although the number of households with payment arrears is still climbing, the pace is slowing down. ABN AMRO expects this levelling trend to continue as the economy recovers.
In order to prevent issues with mortgage payments, ABN AMRO advises customers to contact the bank immediately when something changes in their financial situation – such as getting divorced or becoming unemployed. Additionally, the Mortgage Care Team helps customers who have payment issues. In 95 percent of cases, issues with payment arrears are solved within six months.