Rotterdam will be in the global spotlights when some 180 million viewers turn on next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
But according to housing experts, Rotterdam isn’t only attracting lovers of this spectacle of vocal rivalry between far-flung countries.
Europe’s largest port city is a magnet to 635,000 inhabitants from 174 countries, including savvy modern house buyers.
‘It is a huge city with huge potential,’ says Richardo Cruz Fortes, a mortgage adviser from Expat Mortgages. ‘I strongly believe that if you purchase and wait 10 years it will turn out to be one of the best investments you have ever made.’
Fortes, a native Amsterdammer who has enthusiastically adopted Rotterdam as his home, said that more and more people are following suit. ‘We started one branch in Rotterdam last year and we saw 50% more customers purchasing for the same reasons: the market in Amsterdam is excessive and more and more start ups are locating in Rotterdam.
‘It has everything. Expats won’t lose anything in quality of life living in Rotterdam compared with other Dutch cities like The Hague or Amsterdam – and people are 100% convinced.’
Research from the Rabobank shows that sale prices in Rotterdam rose most of the Netherlands’ four biggest cities from 2017 to 2018, increasing by 14.5%. But while the NVM estate agency association believes that Amsterdam prices have probably peaked – particularly in the expensive centre – experts say that houses in Rotterdam are still modestly priced with great potential.
‘In Rotterdam we have families living in Kralingen and Hillegersberg,’ says Fortes. ‘Couples want to live in Blijdorp, close to the zoo and the city centre, and young professionals look more for the cheaper regions, Charlois and Rotterdam Noord. Everything is very easy for a commute with public transport and by bike, and a two-bed apartment can be €250,000 to €350,000 for 90 to 100 square metres.’
He adds: ‘I just had a couple buy a 140 metre square house with a 15-metre garden in Hillegersberg for below €500,000 – a big house where they can live several years while they build their whole family. As a comparison, in Amsterdam for this price you could buy a 60 square metre apartment and in The Hague a 90 square metre apartment but not a house!’
The supply of housing is also good in Rotterdam, meaning more choice and less competition when bidding on a home – something that is quite the opposite for buyers in The Hague and Amsterdam. ‘There’s a lot available.’ says Wil Jansen of Rotterdam-based estate agency @WORK Makerlaardij. ‘There are houses, there are apartments, there are skyscrapers – everything is there and it’s on the market.’
Although Rotterdam has traditionally been seen as a working city, it is also a place with great diversity of things to do: the harbour, enough film, culture and art festivals to be given the 2015 IFEA World Festival and Event City Award, and plenty of nightlife, particularly on the Witte de Withstraat.
Hosting the headquarters of big players such as Robeco, Eneco, Van Oord and Shell Downstream, and Unilever’s Dutch operations, Rotterdam is also an established business hub with great job opportunities. Centres of innovation and excellence, such as the TU Delft and Erasmus University, help support the demands of industry and attract young talent to the area, while tourism is flourishing.
The only downside, says Fortes, is that the international school offering isn’t currently as large as in The Hague or Amsterdam – although there are rumours that the city council is working on this and new schools may be in the pipeline.
He adds, though, that he sees only positives for house buyers here: ‘Rotterdam is a sleeping giant and needs to wake up, see its own potential and believe in its opportunities!’
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