Wednesday 22 November 2017

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MPs begin marathon debate on taxing home owners with no mortgage


MPs will on Tuesday take part in a marathon debate on the new government's plans to bring back a tax for home owners who have paid off their mortgages. In total, opposition MPs have requested more than 36 hours of debating time about the move to scrap a law which was brought in in 2005. Named after MP Hans Hillen who introduced the plan, the law exempted home owners from paying a tax known as the eigenwoningforfait over the value of their property. The eigenwoningforfait is currently paid by home owners with a mortgage and is based on the value of their property. It is seen as compensation for the tax break on mortgages which home buyers enjoy. However, its original aim was to tax the supposed benefits which home owners gain from owning their own house and not having to pay rent. Thirty years The new government now plans to phase out the Hillen law over 30 years from 2019, reintroducing the tax on home ownership for everyone. The government says this will raise €1bn for the treasury over 30 years. In order to make it to the statute books in time for the 2019 start, the plan must be approved by both houses of parliament before the end of this year. Opponents of the plan, including MPs from 50Plus and the populist PVV, aim to talk out the bill. The two parties have requested 900 and 1,200 minutes of debating time respectively - a tactic known in the US and Britain as a filibuster. 50Plus argues it is wrong to present people who have worked hard to pay off their mortgages with a bill, and describe the plan as bringing in a fine for being mortgage free.  More >

Average home mortgage at record high

Housing The average home mortgage agreed in the third quarter of 2017 was the highest ever, coming in at €287,000, according to research bureau IG&H Consulting & Interim. The figure is a 2% increase over the previous three months, and illustrates the increasing difficultly starters face entering the housing market, IG&H told the Telegraaf on Monday. The average mortgage among first time buyers was €232,000, 3% higher than in the second quarter. At the same time, the number of first-time buyers agreeing a mortgage fell by 7% as house prices continue to rise across the country. In total, 87,000 mortgages were agreed in the third quarter, a 4% gain over the previous three months. IG&H said there was €25.1bn in outstanding mortgages loans in the Netherlands at the end of the third quarter. This is 5% up on the second quarter and the same level as in 2008, before the economic crisis, when house prices plunged.  More >

Housing rents reach record levels

Housing Rental prices in many Dutch cities and seven of the 12 provinces have reached record levels but the rise has slowed in Amsterdam, according the latest quarterly report issued by housing platform Pararius. On average, rents have risen to €15.23 per square metre for new contracts but have topped €22 per square metre in the capital - the equivalent of €1,100 for an apartment of 50 square metres. Pararius director Jasper de Groot says rents have now risen to the limit of what people will say in the central urban belt stretching from Amsterdam to Utrecht and The Hague, where rents rose around 3%. 'People were making concessions and paying more, but now the supply no longer meets demand.' Outside the Randstad, prices have continued to rise. The biggest increases were recorded in Flevoland, where rents rose an average of 18.3% over the year, Pararius said. In total, 40,000 people were registered on the Pararius platform in the third quarter, up from 24,000 in the second quarter of this year.  'This is partly due to increased demand and partly seasonal factors because many students and expats register in the summer months,' De Groot said. Rent increase The rise in rents means it is now extremely difficult for people on average salaries to find a place to live, if they cannot buy. On Tuesday, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren told MPs it is 'crucial' that more homes with rents of between €700 and €1,000 a month are built. Meanwhile, the housing aldermen in 12 of the Netherlands' student cities have called on Ollongren to get tough on landlords who are exploiting the dire shortage of student homes in some areas. In particular, they want the minister to give them more powers to tackle landlords whom they consider charge excessive rents, intimidate their tenants and fail to keep their properties in good repair. Some 13% of the Netherlands housing stock is in the non-rent controlled sector, 29% are rent-controlled and 56% owner occupied.  More >