Build on top of buildings and split houses into flats: minister


Housing minister Hugo de Jonge has suggested that between 80,000 and 260,000 new apartments could be created by building new storeys on top of existing buildings and splitting houses into separate flats. 

It should also be easier to install tiny houses in gardens, and the rules for renting out rooms should be simplified, De Jonge said in a briefing to MPs this week.

“Given it is becoming more difficult to build new homes, we must make the best possible use of what we have, and create as many homes as possible,” De Jonge said.

In addition, some 30,000 homes in the Netherlands are currently not being lived in, and local councils should do more to tackle this, the minister said. 

High streets

Meanwhile, the government’s ambitious plans to improve the liveability in inner cities and shopping streets are being threatened by investor reluctance to put money into apartments located above shops, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday. 

The paper said rising costs, increased interest rates and new rules expanding rent controls to more properties have made such investments less attractive and that investors are now putting plans on hold. 

National government had set aside €100 million for improvements to city centres in medium-sized cities such as Deventer and Den Bosch, and a second fund for the big six.

But investors and shopping area managers approached by the paper have confirmed that plans are being frozen. Property investor Vastned, for example, told the FD it had become “more cautious”. 

“Vastned looks on a case-by-case basis to establish if the return on investment will be high enough and this is … increasingly not the case,” the company said. 

The government has a target of building 900,000 new homes by 2031 to ease the housing shortage but experts suggest this is extremely unlikely because of rising costs, nitrogen pollution and investor reluctance.

De Jonge will give MPs a progress update on making better use of the country’s housing stock before the end of the year.

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