The number of owner-occupied homes in Amsterdam has fallen for the first time in years. At the same time, the number of private rental properties in the capital is increasing and start-ups in particular are less likely to enter the housing market. Which research shows from the municipality of Amsterdam for 2018 and 2019.
Over the past two years, the number of homes in the city has increased by around 13,000 to 441,000. The number of private rental homes increased by 20,000, while the number of owner-occupied homes decreased by 3,000. The municipality speaks of ‘a trend break compared to previous years’. The cause of this decrease is that investors and individuals buy houses for renting, the so-called buy-to-let, what in all major cities in the Netherlands common. Houses for sale are also disappearing from the market in Amsterdam because house owners who buy a new house or start living together are more likely to keep their house for rent (leave-to-let).
Also read: “Very lucrative to convert owner-occupied property into rental property”
According to the city, buying for rental is more popular than ever. “There seems to be no end to it,” says alderman Laurens Ivens (Wonen, SP) NRC. “While there is a need for affordable rental properties and owner-occupied homes, more and more expensive rental properties are on the rise. This is not the trend we want. ”
Low savings interest
The attractiveness of renting out houses is partly explained by the historically low interest rates. While savers have little or no return on their savings and, for example, do not dare to trade in shares, renting out houses still yields returns because finding tenants is relatively easy. There are even mortgage lenders who respond to this trend, with special rental mortgages that can be used to purchase second homes for rent to family or third parties.
The result is that more people in Amsterdam are dependent on more expensive homes. The share of expensive rental and owner-occupied homes increased to more than a third of the total housing stock, the figures show. The average rent in the private sector in the past two years was 1,286 euros per month. This has consequences for the purchasing power and income distribution of the city. “As a result, more and more new residents pay a large part of their income in rent or mortgage. Amsterdam is increasingly becoming a city for people with high incomes, “concludes the city.
Also read: Amsterdam obliges owners to live in a newly built house
Last month, alderman Ivens presented a plan to Amsterdam house seekers protect against competition from investors. He wants people who buy a new-build house in the city to be forced to live there from now on. Exceptions are the rental to first-degree family members or a temporary stay abroad. Newly built homes may also be rented out as medium-term or social housing (up to 1,027 euros).
To implement this “self-occupancy obligation” that Ivens strives for for existing owner-occupied homes, the law would have to be amended nationally. And that is promising, Ivens thinks. “The minister informed the House of Representatives on Budget Day to start an investigation into this. I therefore think it is possible to do something against buy-to-let on a national level. ”
The municipality of Amsterdam has also made agreements with corporations and market parties to build new affordable homes and to stimulate the preservation of existing medium-term rental and owner-occupied homes. For example, over the next five years 10,000 medium-term rental properties will have to be added.
With regard to owner-occupied homes, Amsterdam has been building around 7,000 homes a year in recent years. Ivens: “That should normally be more than sufficient. But because more and more people from the United Kingdom, India and the US in particular are moving to the city, the demand is endless. No matter how hard you build. ”