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It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a house in the Netherlands.

How is that possible?

And what can we do about it?

First some numbers:

  • This year there are 8.04 million households and 7.97 million homes in the Netherlands.

  • A household refers to the number of people who live together in one house.

    For example, a family, a family with grandparents, a couple or someone alone.

  • There is now a shortage of about 279,000 homes.

  • The houses out there are getting more and more expensive.

    Twenty years ago, a house cost about 170,000 euros.

    Now you have to pay more than 410,000 euros for it.

  • House prices are now rising very fast.

    It hasn't been as fast as it is now for twenty years.

  • Affordable rental housing and social housing are also very difficult to find.

    Social rental housing is intended for people with a lower income.

    To keep it that way, the rent should never exceed a certain amount.

    But the waiting list for such homes is growing.

  • According to Peter Boelhouwer of Delft University of Technology, there are at least 40,000 homeless people in the Netherlands.

    In addition, about 60,000 people still live in holiday homes and caravans out of need.

    "There are also many people who live with friends and roam from bank to bank. Or people who live with several families in one house. And people who cannot live separately after a divorce," he says.

  • The last major housing crisis was in the 1980s.

House prices since 1995

How is it possible that the housing shortage is so great now?

  • The housing market is always changing.

    This has to do with the economy, among other things.

  • Just 10 years ago, owner-occupied homes were empty.

    House prices fell.

    Housing associations, which build and rent social housing, even had to sell such houses because there were too many of them at the time.

  • The economy has been doing well in recent years, making it easier for people to buy a house.

    So that's very different now.

  • Fewer houses have been built in recent years.

    And fewer construction sites have been added.

    As a result, there are fewer new homes.

    And the houses that are there are sold in no time.

  • The market is stuck.

    People can't move because they can't get a new house.

    Households are also getting smaller, so fewer people live together in one house.

    And the elderly continue to live at home longer.

    As a result, it does not flow properly.

  • And: rich people buy extra houses in the city.

    They are not going to live here themselves, but rent it out for a lot of money.

What kind of solutions are there?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the housing shortage.

It's a complicated problem.

Organizations and experts do have ideas that can help, such as:

  • Build more houses.

    Earlier this week, the government promised to allocate 1 billion euros for additional housing, spread over 10 years.

  • Build faster and smarter.

    Years can pass between the first building plan and the moment the house is finished.

  • The government can get involved more.

    For example, by hiring a Minister for Housing.

    It hasn't been there since 2017.

    Such a minister can monitor whether there are enough affordable owner-occupied and rental homes.

    And intervene if necessary.

  • And the last solution: housing associations pay about 2 billion euros to the government every year.

    This special tax is called the landlord levy.

    Many people believe that money could be better used to build affordable homes.

    So you should abolish that tax.

Does this problem only occur in the Netherlands?

  • No, other countries in Europe are also struggling with a housing shortage.

  • Especially in Greece, Belgium, Denmark and Germany people pay a lot of money to be able to live somewhere.

How expensive is living?

Are home seekers not tired of these problems by now?

  • Yes quite.

    On September 12, there was a major protest in Amsterdam against the housing shortage.

    Thousands of people took to the streets and demanded action from the government.

  • That last happened 40 years ago.

    Then there was also a shortage of houses, especially affordable houses.

  • Another protest is planned for October 17.

    This time in Rotterdam.

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