In 2019, the national government took a number of steps in the context of the National Housing Plan 2018-2021. For example, housing deals have been concluded with regions where the housing shortage is high (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Groningen). The national government wants 75,000 homes to be built each year until 2024. However, it will be challenging to realise that number from 2020 onwards. Among other things, production is lagging due to increasing regulation, lengthy procedures, a shortage of concrete building plans, a lack of municipal capacity, rising building costs and the shortage of qualified workers. On top of this, the granting of building permits largely ground to a halt in the second half of 2019 due to restrictive environmental measures related to nitrogen emissions and ‘PFAS’ (chemical substances).
In addition to the housing deals, the national government is also committed to ensuring affordability in the liberalised rental market segment. In November 2019, Environment and Housing Minister Stientje Van Veldhoven announced that the ‘emergency button’ for mid-rental segment homes is still being considered, despite resistance to the proposal from investors and some municipalities.
This measure is supposed to be in addition to the existing regulation of the mid-rental segment taking shape in an increasing number of municipalities. Although affordability is important in the long term, the primary focus should be on increasing the supply of homes with a monthly rent of between € 737 and € 1,027. The supply of these mid-rental segment homes is lagging demand, mainly in the Randstad urban conurbation. An increasing number of municipalities has agreed to increase their focus on boosting the number of mid-rental homes, but partly due to increasing regulations (for example in Amsterdam and The Hague), the number of mid-rental homes is not increasing rapidly enough to keep pace with demand. Nevertheless, we are seeing the emergence of best practices, such as the municipality of Utrecht’s ‘City Agreement’. Utrecht is emphatically committed to cooperation and dialogue with market parties to achieve joint housing market objectives, including increasing the number of mid-rental homes.
On Budget Day 2019 (‘Prinsjesdag’), the Dutch national government announced various measures to improve access to the housing market, such as: maintaining affordable rental properties in the existing stock by maximising the ‘WOZ’ (Real Estate Value Act) value in the housing valuation system to 33%, improving the distribution of affordable rental properties in the existing stock and incentives of € 2 billion to tackle the housing shortage.