Drop in new-build homes issued ‘dramatic’

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More than 63,000 permits for new-build homes were issued last year, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. That is less than the two years before. Housing market professor Peter Boelhouwer of TU Delft calls the drop in the number of permits issued ‘dramatic’, particularly in the owner-occupied sector.

Housing Act

The CBS figures come just at the time that housing minister Hugo de Jonge has announced a new housing law. It states that the minister wants to be able to intervene when municipalities build too little for groups that need a house quickly. The law was immediately met with major objections from government party VVD.

‘With this law you roll out the deprived neighborhoods of the future all over the Netherlands.’

VVD Member of Parliament Peter de Groot

Member of Parliament Peter de Groot of the VVD states that De Jonge wants to roll out the deprived neighborhoods of the future all over the Netherlands with this law. Boelhouwer sees the law more as a ‘big stick’. But the question, according to the professor, is whether it will succeed. ‘If you start forcing a municipality, it will probably become more difficult.’

Alderman Housing Construction Reinier van Dantzig of the municipality of Amsterdam says that he is happy with the new housing law. ‘We will have to try with more government control, that seems very good to me.’ Dantzig calls the statement by VVD member De Groot ‘maddening’: ‘We shouldn’t shout that every social rental home is a deprived area.’

Problematic

Boelhouwer understands De Jonge’s idea, but is not convinced that his ambition to have built 900,000 homes before 2030 can actually be achieved. ‘He also says he won’t make it.’ And according to Boelhouwer, that’s bad news: ‘We’re seeing an enormous growth in the population and if fewer houses are built, we’ll have real problems.’

But it is not only due to the municipalities that there is a decrease in the number of building permits issued. ‘It is also due to the lack of capacity of civil servants, the enormous increase in construction costs, the nitrogen regulations that cause delays and the municipalities that are waiting for the new environmental law,’ explains Boelhouwer.

Sand in the machine

In addition, there is another party that in many cases throws sand into the machine: the citizen. ‘Citizens are constantly busy submitting all kinds of objections’, says the housing market professor. ‘If a municipality has a zoning plan and it is subject to heavy litigation, you simply cannot continue.’

Boelhouwer does think that De Jonge would do well to focus on the housing deals. But they should really be closed in the coming months. ‘After that, De Jonge has to keep a finger on the pulse and start monitoring.’ According to Boelhouwer, there is another problem: many of the building permits that are issued, ultimately do not go ahead. ‘A study estimates that 40,000 of the building permits will not be realised. It threatens to go off the rails and action must therefore be taken,’ says Boelhouwer.

More than 63,000 permits for new-build homes were issued last year, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.  That is less than the two years before.  (ANP/HollandseHoogte/OlafKraak)
More than 63,000 permits for new-build homes were issued last year, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. That is less than the two years before. (ANP/HollandseHoogte/OlafKraak) (Olaf Crack)

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