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PROPERTY

Is the heat starting to come out of the Danish housing market?

The number of apartments and holiday homes on sale in Denmark has increased for the fifth month in a row, and the number of houses for two months in a row. Does this mean that the supply constraints that have been pushing up house prices in recent years may be starting to ease?

Is the heat starting to come out of the Danish housing market?
The supply of apartments in Denmark has increased for five months in a row. Photo: Jacob Ljørring/APPR/Ritzau Scanpix

According to the latest data from the Danish property website Boligsiden, there are currently 6,107 apartments, 25,085 houses, and 5,409 holiday homes for sale in Denmark, an increase of 2.1, 0.3, and 0.6 percent respectively on last month.

Jeppe Juul Borre, chief economist at Arbejdernes Landsbank, told the Ritzau news agency that he expected the growing supply to eventually start to drag down on the rising house prices recently seen in Denmark.

“Buyers will have slightly better cards in their hands when they go out and chase their next dream home,” he said.

“The fact that we are finally seeing supply edge up a bit is going to take some of the air out of a pressured housing market, which is why I expect price increases to be smaller than we have seen over the past year.”

READ ALSO:

What you need to know when buying a home as a foreigner in Denmark

Danish house prices increase with buyers cautious and supply low

Birgit Daetz, communications director at Boligsiden, said in a press release that the rate of sales had started to decrease, while sellers continued to come to the market in similar numbers. 

“Fewer homes are being sold now than there were earlier in the year, but sellers are still coming to the market on a large scale,” she said. 

“This means that for buyers the options are becoming more numerous, after a long period in which supply has been falling and where it has largely been a seller’s market.”

There are still, however, significantly fewer homes for sale in Denmark than in August last year, with the number of houses on the market down 16.5 percent, the number of apartments down 12.5 percent, and the number of holiday homes down 22.6 percent.

This means buyers still have relatively low leverage when it comes to negotiating down prices.

“It is a logical consequence of the low supply that the homes are sold quickly and that the buyers have to pay the price offered to a greater extent,” Daetz said.

“That will change if supply continues to rise. But so far, the movement in the supply is relatively small, and therefore it has not had a great effect on individual house sales, at least not yet.”

Borre agreed that the increase in supply had so far been relatively subdued.

“It is important to say that supply has not skyrocketed. From a historical perspective, there are still few homes for sale,” he said.

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PROPERTY

What do foreigners need to know about buying a home in Denmark?

After several years of settling down in Denmark, it’s natural for foreign residents to think about buying a home. What’s worth knowing about getting on the property ladder as a non-Dane?

What do foreigners need to know about buying a home in Denmark?

For some foreign home buyers in Denmark, their first Danish home might not be the first home they have bought, and there will be a few differences in rules to take into account.

For others, Denmark might be the place where you take your first step onto the property ladder.

In either case, there are several rules and facets of the Danish housing market that are worth knowing when you set out.

I have savings, am a permanent resident in Denmark and want to buy a home. What should I do?

Unsurprisingly, the first step is to get approved for a mortgage or, in Danish kreditgodkendt.

“Then the thing to do is go down to a bank and get a købsbevis [mortgage certificate, ed.],” Mikkel Høegh, department director for real estate economics with Jyske Bank, told The Local via email.

“Here you will have a meeting at which you are pre-approved to buy a property up to a certain amount,” Høegh said.

The meeting, which takes place with an advisor from the bank, involves setting out a budget and looking at the applicant’s tax information to get an overview of their personal finances.

“Once you have been (approved) you can start house hunting,” he said.

The certificate is based on a calculation of “what amount you are in a position to buy a property for,” Lise Nytoft Bergmann, real estate economist and senior analyst with bank Nordea, told The Local.

House hunting can initially be done online, while buyers should talk with their families about how the see their future home, Bergmann advised.

“Whether it’s location that’s given highest priority, or the number of square metres, how modern a property… have these thorough conversations with the family about what you see as most important,” she said.

Are there any rules relating to buying a home that apply specifically to foreign nationals?

“There are no special rules for foreigners as such,” Høegh said.

Danish mortgages are based on the prices of the house being purchases, and buyers are approved to buy for that amount, he explained.

“The next step is then to find the property. When it’s been found, the property is what guarantees the loan. This means that the mortgage lender has a guarantee in the property. So it’s the property that is most important here,” he said.

“The buyer must pay at least 5 percent (of the price of the house) upfront,” he noted.

What if there’s a chance I might move back home (or somewhere else) in future? Should I still buy a house in Denmark?

“There some overheads which are connected to buying a house,” Bergmann said.

“They’re not entirely small, and so therefore it’s an advantage to spread these costs out over as many years as possible,” she said.

These include a registration fee which must be paid to the state of 1,750 kroner plus 0.6 percent of the purchasing price; and registration of the mortgage deed (pantebreve) of 1,730 kroner plus 1.45 percent of the purchase price.

Banks and mortgage lenders must usually also be paid for their work related to the purchase. This can include assessing the buyer for the mortgage certificate and for issuing it, valuing the property, and producing documentation as well as for consultancy. These costs can vary between financial institutions.

It may also be necessary to take advice from third parties such as lawyers, architects or electricians. The costs of actually moving, insurance and renovation must also be considered.

“We usually that you should have a timescale of a minimum of five years, and preferably longer,” Bergmann said in relation to staying in Denmark after buying a home.

What can I do to make sure I get the best mortgage offer?

“In Denmark the prices of mortgages are relatively similar and there is no difference between people and the price they are offered,” Høegh said.

“As such, what is important is finding a property that can be turned over, in other words you should keep in mind that another buyer must come after you,” he said.

“In addition to this, the price of the mortgage is related to how much of the loan is in the property. The more money you bring yourself [through the deposit, ed.], the cheaper it is to loan,” he said.

Both fixed and variable interest rate mortgages are available in Denmark, and the terms for these may stand out from what is available in other countries.

“A quite unique thing in Denmark is that you can get a fixed interest rate mortgage for 30 years. There are very few places in the world where you can do that, so when we say fixed rate we don’t just mean five or eight years,” Høegh said.

“Additionally, a mortgage in Denmark is such that the borrower can always go to market interest, so there is also nothing like a penalty interest which you see in other countries,” he said.

“Denmark has therefore an incredibly efficient mortgage system which everyone who buys a property has access to,” he said.

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