Dutch office property market heats up spurred by foreign investors

Building work in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Office blocks in the Netherlands changed hands last year for a record €8bn, according to an initial estimate by property consultant JLL, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday.

JLL put the figure at €5.3bn in 2016, noting that in the crisis years of 2009 to 2013, investment in office blocks rarely topped €2bn. JLL also noted that much of the investment in the office market last year was made by non-Dutch firms.

The paper said an over-supply of investment capital combined with low interest rates drove investors to property. And since property investments involve a lot of borrowed money, low interest rates were an additional boost to the market.

‘Offices now generate a stable return on investment,’ Patrick Steenstra Toussaint of Rubens Capital Partners told the paper. Rubens was involved in the purchase of Dutch office property on behalf of several foreign investors.

The Netherlands was once known as the office property cemetery with vacant office space as high as 17%. The vacancy rate is now 11% with many vacant buildings being converted into housing or hotels. Higher job numbers and the increasing popularity of Amsterdam for international companies are also contributing factors to the growth.

The office vacancy rate in Amsterdam, where more than one-third of all transactions took place last year, is only 6.5%, the paper pointed out.

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