High rents put home ownership out of reach to many potential first-time buyers

Just 15% of people starting out in the housing market are happy with where they live, compared with two-thirds of home owners, according to the latest ING housing index. The ranking, which is based on confidence in the housing market, fell again in the first quarter of this year, due in the main to the lack of options to buy a home, ING said. Some 23% of people who are looking to get a foot on the home ownership ladder say their rental home is too expensive, 43% say it is too small and 39% would like a garden. ‘Potential home buyers can’t buy because either it is too expensive or there are no homes available,’ ING spokesman Wim Flikweert said. ‘They are forced to live either with their parents or in housing with high rents and other costs.... which in turn can make them financially vulnerable and stop them eventually buying a home.’ Since January, home buyers have only been able to borrow 100% of the value of their new home, down from 101%. This means they need more savings to cover basic costs.  More >

Refugees hit by shortage of housing

Refugees at Ter Apel Some 4,500 refugees with residency permits are still living in refugee centres because local authorities have been unable to find them homes, Trouw reported on Wednesday. Last year, local authorities were able to find permanent accommodation for 18,000 out of 21,000 refugees granted leave to stay in the Netherlands, the paper says. It bases the claim on home affairs ministry figures. Refugee centres have been shrinking as the number of new arrivals dries up, but the number of places has expanded over the past six months because of the shortage of suitable homes, Trouw said. In particular there is a lack of housing for single people, larger families and people with physical handicaps. Since 2017, local authorities have no longer been required by law to prioritise people granted asylum for housing but they are still obliged to provide enough housing for refugees. There is a severe shortage of affordable homes in the Netherlands, and home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren has backed building sector plans to build 75,000 homes a year by 2025 to fill the need.  More >

The Hague plans to build 10,000 new homes

The Hague has agreed to build new apartment blocks next to the city's three biggest railway stations which will offer a total of 10,000 new homes to 'policemen, teachers and bike repair workers'. The buildings will be between 100 and 150 metres high and will be focused around the main railway station, Hollands Spoor and Laan van NOI. Most will be rental housing, the Volkskrant has reported. 'We are not going to fill in green spaces on the edge of the city because we don't have any and we are not going to build new out-of-town residential estates either,' alderman Boudewijn Revis said at the presentation of the plans on Tuesday. 'Nor are we looking for little fields which would fit three houses,' he said. 'We are going to leave existing neighbourhoods alone.' The Hague expects its population to go up by 4,000 to 5,000 a year and to reach 630,000 by 2040. 'We have an urgent need of homes for policemen, teachers and the bike repairman,' Revis said. 'We need to make speed on this.' The city's current population is around 535,000. Between 5,000 and 7,000 homes will be built behind HS railway station in what the council has dubbed the College Campus. Up to 2,000 homes will be built near the Laan van NOI station which has been branded the ICT Security Campus. The former social security ministry building, which was designed by Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger and is next to the station, may be demolished, if a developer comes up with a good plan, Revis said. The rest of the housing will be developed near Centraal Station and the project includes building on top of the A12 motorway. This district has been dubbed the Policy Campus because it is close to both government ministries and the Leiden University building. A draft of the plans was first presented in November last year and the finalised version has now been approved by the city's executive board.  More >

Expats again under fire in Amsterdam

The leader of the Socialist party in Amsterdam has called on the city council to take steps to stop ‘Amsterdammers being displaced by expats and international students’. SP councillor Erik Flentge said in an article on the party’s local website that the city is ‘becoming completely out of balance because of the large stream of expats with their tax advantages, continually forcing up house prices’. ‘Amsterdammers who are looking for jobs should get the opportunity, not be competed away by expats,’ Flentge said. ‘People who have lived in the city for longer, work or study should have the chance to get a job and priority in getting a house.’ Flentge made the comments after the national statistics agency CBS published new figures showing that the population of Amsterdam had grown by 10,000 over the past year, largely due to the arrival of more international workers from America, Britain, India and the EU. This, Flentge said, has been driving up house prices and making the city’s housing popular with investors, forcing Amsterdam families to move out of the city to the cheaper surrounding areas. Priority The SP wants Amsterdammers to be given priority in new housing projects and to stop people buying up homes to rent out. ‘The SP also wants the council to make agreements with foreign firms about taking on local personal and locating expats in the region,’ Flengte said. Research by the International Community Advisory Platform has shown that 80% of new expats get no help with housing costs and a large majority said they are paying more than they can afford for a place to live. ‘New arrivals have no network, they don’t understand the Dutch system and they often have no choice but to pay rents that Dutch people would consider absurd because they need a place to live,’ said ICAP board member Deborah Valentine. Some 25% of people considered to be expats earn less than €3,000 a month. Local elections The SP is part of the current left-wing coalition running the Dutch capital and controls the housing portfolio. The party campaigned in last year’s local elections on an ‘Amsterdam for the Amsterdammers’ ticket. Meanwhile, Sebastiaan Capel, who heads up the Zuid borough council and represents the Liberal democratic party D66, has described Flentge’s comments as ‘xenophobic and populist’. DutchNews.nl has contacted Erik Flentge and Laurens Ivens for comment. You can comment on this story via our Facebook page Facebook.com/dutchnews.  More >

Lower rent rises for housing corp. tenants

Housing corporation tenants living in rent controlled properties will not face rent rises of more than inflation for the next three years, corporation lobby group Aedes and tenants' umbrella organisation Woonbond have agreed. The measure, which still has to be approved by Aedes and Woonbond members, means that social housing rents will rise more slowly than in recent years, when the permitted increase was inflation plus 1%. The agreement also states that tenants who pay a lot of rent when compared to their income will not face an increase at all. In addition, people whose rent rises above the social housing threshold - €710 a month - will get a rent cut if their earnings drop. The new limit on rent rises does not apply to people live in rent-controlled property belonging to private landlords.   More >