Think of home hunters first, housing minister tells industry

Hugo de Jonge waits to take to the stage. Photo: Dutch News

Property developers and investors should start looking at the Netherlands’ housing crisis from the perspective of the people looking for homes, housing minister Hugo de Jonge said on Tuesday.

“Everyone knows someone who is unable to find a place to live,” De Jonge said at the opening of the 19th edition of the Provada property trade fair in Amsterdam.

The real estate industry has been highly critical of some of the measures the minister has proposed to stimulate the development of more affordable housing and to build 900,000 new homes.

The 900,000 figure has not been plucked out of thin air “by an over ambitious minister” but is based on the real needs of a growing population, he said.

Despite industry criticism of the decision to extend rent controls to more property and boost the supply of affordable housing will not be abandoned, he said.

The government is also doing more to help people starting out on the housing ladder to buy a home, by introducing starter subsidies and other measures, he said.

In addition, the person looking to buy a home is being disadvantaged by the endless legal procedures before building work starts and this too needs to be tackled, De Jonge said. The minister has already announced plans to slash the number of times locals can take legal action against a development.

“We have to work together,” the minister said. “Government and industry are not on opposite sides… and we are facing a gigantic task.”

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