Private investors bought up over a third of the homes which came up for sale in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht last year, according to research by television consumer programme Kassa.
In total, 700,000 of the eight million homes in the Netherlands are owned by private investors, who rent them out. The investors range from private individuals with a couple of homes as a pension to large domestic and foreign investors with thousands of houses.
Private investors were particularly active in the final quarter of the year, ahead of the increase in the property transfer tax from 2% to 8%, Kassa found.
In the last three months of 2020, private investors bought 2,500 houses in The Hague – over half of those on the market. In Rotterdam they were responsible for 45% of the sales and in Utrecht 40%. In Amsterdam the figure was 35%.
At the beginning of this year, the government put up the property transfer tax for investors and slashed it to zero for first-time buyers under the age of 35 in an effort to help young adults get a foot on the housing ladder.
But experts warned at the time that the move would be likely to lead to higher private sector rents.
The home affairs ministry says the Netherlands has a shortage of 330,000 homes, but last month a consortium of investors, developers and housing corporations said one million new homes would be needed to meet demand.
Last week, MPs voted in favour of allowing local authorities to ban people from buying property to rent out to others and introducing a residential requirement which would last a number of years.
Amsterdam has already published plans to require everyone buying a newly built property to actually live in it. The city is also considering buying up social housing which comes on the market to ensure it stays affordable.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.