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Coronavirus crisis has no impact on residential deals

Investment in Dutch residential property has not been hit by the coronavirus crisis, and transactions to the value of more than €5bn were made in the first half of 2020, according to research by real estate news website PropertyNL.

The €5bn in transactions, up from €4.1bn in the same period last year, does not include investments in rental property by private individuals.

The total real estate market in the Netherlands reached €23.6bn last year, of which 34.5% –€8bn – was in rental housing. In the first six months of 2020, total investments were down, which indicates that residential property will have a larger share of portfolios, PropertyNL said, without giving exact figures.

‘The difference with the previous crisis is notable because then investments went down across the board, including in residential,’ PropertyNL’s editor Wabe van Enk said. ‘And less was invested in rental housing between 2008 and 2013 than in the first half of 2020. It could be that investors see rental housing as a safe haven.’

Dutch pension funds had an important role in new build projects in the first half of the year, PropertyNL’s research shows.

Foreign institutional investors such as Patrizia, Heimstaden, Round Hill and Catella are among the big foreign buyers of existing residential property, accounting for around one third of total deals.

Source: PropertyNL

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Coronavirus crisis has little impact on house prices in the Netherlands

The coronavirus crisis has had little impact on the Dutch housing market so far, estate agents and statisticians say. House prices rose by an average 7.7% in May, although fewer properties are changing hands year on year, according to the latest figures from national statistics agency CBS and the land registry department.

House prices have been rising steadily since June 2013 and have now reached their highest ever level, the CBS said. The number of million-euro homes in the Netherlands rose last year by more than a fifth to 65,000, according to property researcher Calcasa. Figures from the Dutch real estate agents association NVM reinforce the view that the coronavirus crisis has yet to have an impact on the housing market.

In the first month of the crisis, 12% of the homes being sold cost more than €500,000, but that percentage has now risen to 17%, the NVM said. ‘This data relates to the current situation, but on the basis of these facts, we would definitely distance ourselves from negative forecasts,’ NVM chairman Onno Hoes said in June. ‘When buying or selling a home, people think long-term.’ The NVM also notes that the number of properties available for rent has risen by some 13% compared with pre-crisis levels, as homes which are rented out permantly via platforms like Airbnb come on the market.

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Amsterdam agrees deal to build 2,000 new homes for the elderly

Amsterdam has reached agreement with developers, housing corporations and investors to build 2,000 new homes in special complexes targeting the over 55s.

City officials have identified 10 locations for the projects, which will be awarded to developers on the basis of best plans rather than highest price. Several Holland Metropole partners are involved in the agreement.

‘This is a good first step,’ said Erwin Drenth, director Dutch healthcare investments at Holland Metropole partner Bouwinvest. ‘The enormous demand for housing for seniors is a challenge for companies, healthcare groups and the city authorities. But the city has a key role. I consider it crucial that more local authorities make policy with concrete targets to deal with housing for the elderly.’

The decision to open the complexes up to the over 55s has been taken deliberately, in the hope that younger residents will assist their more vulnerable neighbours. Officials are also looking at the option of setting up shared living spaces, targeting people with the same cultural background.

Some 100,000 people in Amsterdam are over the age of 65 but this expected to rise to 150,000 by 2030.

‘Amsterdammers often live in homes which are unsuitable to grow old in,’ alderman Laurens Ivens said. ‘We know 14% of Amsterdam’s elderly population would like to move and 19% live in homes which are too big for them. If you build special housing for the elderly, that frees up a family home. It is a win win situation.’

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Green light given to Utrecht’s urban forest

Utrecht city planners have given the green light to the twin tower Wonderwoods project. The 410 home apartment block will be located in the centre of Utrecht, creating a vertical forest of over 300 trees. Work is slated to be completed at the end of 2023.

Wonderwoods, officials say, is contributing to the creation of a healthy urban environment by integrating nature in both its design and construction. In total, the complex will have one hectare of forest – 360 trees and 10,000 plants – when completed. The vegetation is based on local species and will absorb 5,400 kg of CO2 and return 41,000 kg of oxygen in its place, helping to boost air quality.

Part of the complex will be open to the general public and it will also include restaurants, a gym, retail, a place for digital art and a Vertical Forest Hub: an education centre focusing on sustainability and nature.

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Developers and cities urge Dutch government to take action on housing

An alliance of 17 organisations and companies, including Holland Metropole cities, developers and investors, have joined forces to keep up the pressure on the Dutch government to take urgent action to boost the supply of housing.

They say the Netherlands needs to build at least 90,000 new homes a year up to 2030 to catch up on the enormous shortage of residential property – which some estimate to be currently around 330,000 units.

In particular the alliance wants the government to free up billions of euros to help realise the target, some of which would be spent on preparing new land for development and some of which would go on readying brownfield sites.

‘Local authorities and developers do not have enough money to make such large financial commitments in advance and we are asking the state to help them with plans and guarantees so investors know where they are in the coming 10 to 15 years,’ Desiree Uitzetter, of Holland Metropole partner BPD and developers’ lobby group Neprom, told the Telegraaf.

At the same time, the alliance says new residential developments should be an example of how to build energy neutral and climate proof housing, and that good public transport and bike infrastructure are crucial. At least 50% of the new homes, they say, should be allocated to people on low or average incomes.

Earlier this month, the home affairs ministry published its own vision on the future of residential construction, saying that the Netherlands needs 845,000 new homes in the coming 10 years.

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Utrecht reaches for the sky with MARK

Holland Metropole partner Utrecht is developing together with KEES (Koopmans Bouwgroep (TBI), J.P. van Eesteren (TBI) and Stadswaarde) a new high-rise project with 1,125 homes in the Leidsche Rijn city district of Utrecht, The Netherlands. 60% of all homes will be reserved for people with low or moderate incomes or people with need for special health care.

The project, named MARK, consists of three residential towers ranging in height from 80 to 140 metres. The design is that of a vertical village with patios and green gardens on multiple levels of the complex. Residents can meet, relax and exercise in various places and levels in and outside the buildings. The complex will also have 3,500 places to keep bikes and shared e-bikes and 100 places for shared e-cars for residents to use. When completed, MARK will be the tallest building in Utrecht, outstripping the famous Dom cathedral tower.

Holland Metropole partners Syntrus Achmea and KCAP are also involved in the project.

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Speedy action urged on plan for 25,000 homes plus fast metro

Plans to build 25,000 affordable homes with a crucial fast metro connection on reclaimed land between Holland Metropole partners Gemeente Amsterdam and Gemeente Almere have been unveiled by two parties in the Dutch coalition government (D66 and CDA). As a public-private cooperation platform, Holland Metropole sees these kind of metropolitan plans as key to tackling the housing and infrastructure challenges in the region.

‘There are few places in the Netherlands where we can think big. And this area is ready to be developed’

Rob Jetten, D66 leader

The Almere Pampus project was first mooted years ago but shelved until at least 2025. Now the two parties – D66 and the CDA – have joined forces to promote the plan. They say it should be revived as part of effort to build some 300,000 new homes nationwide and help solve the Dutch housing crisis. The land, they point out, is already owned by the state, and that means work could start very quickly.

‘It is a great space on the IJsselmeer lake, with a view towards Amsterdam,’ D66 leader Rob Jetten said. ‘There are few places in the Netherlands where we can think big. And this area is ready to be developed.’


A fast metro link, preferably in a tunnel, is key to the project, Jetten said. Ministers have already agreed that good road and rail connections are essential for the region’s further growth and have commissioned a report into ensuring Almere remains accessible as it expands.

‘The Netherlands can show the world how to build cheaply, sustainably and in a modern way in Almere,’ Jetten said. ‘We can keep nature intact and still develop new public transport links to bring people closer together.’

Almere has been the fastest growing part of the Netherlands over the past 20 years in terms of its economy, jobs and population. The city has been created on land reclaimed from the lake in the 1960s. 

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Dutch housing completions hit their 2019 target

The Dutch national housing stock expanded by 81,000 homes last year, according to new government figures, comfortably beating the official target of 75,000 a year.

Source: CBS

Most new homes – 5,000 – were built in Amsterdam, increasing the number of homes in the Dutch capital by 1.1%. Holland Metropole partners Eindhoven and Utrecht increased their supply of homes by 1.7%, while The Hague and Rotterdam added 0.6% and 0.5% to their own respective housing stocks.

‘We have laid a firm basis for the target over the past two years,’ said acting housing minister Stientje van Veldhoven. The minister says there will be challenges to meet the target in 2020 and 2021 because of the downturn in the number of licences. ‘But I am working hard to keep production at a high level, partly by stimulating housing corporations to build more. I’m also focusing on conversions and more flexible housing forms,’ she said.

Last year construction companies handed over the keys to almost 71,000 new homes, the highest number since 2009, according to national statistics agency CBS.

The total is up 6% on 2018 and does not include office and home conversions, which according to housing ministry figures, will add a further 10,000 new dwellings to the total.

Between 2000 and 2009, new housing contributed more than 1% to the national housing stock but that had fallen to 0.6% by 2014 at the end of the economic crisis.

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Amsterdam, developers agree deal to build 10,000 mid-market homes

Amsterdam city council and a number of leading Dutch developers and investors have signed a deal to build an additional 10,000 mid-market rental homes in the capital within five years.

The homes, which will target middle income professionals such as teachers, healthcare workers and police officers, will have a rent of between €740 and €1,030 a month. The declaration of intent includes agreement that rents for the properties will rise by inflation plus 1% over the next 20 years.

City housing alderman Laurens Ivens has also agreed to reduce the price of building land if necessary to ensure developments are financially viable.

‘This statement of intent underlines the willingness of everyone involved to work together to stimulate affordable housing in Amsterdam, both rental and for sale,’ said Desirée Uitzetter, chairwoman of Dutch property developers association Neprom and area development director at Holland Metropole partner BPD.

‘We value the fact that Amsterdam is prepared to look again at its method for calculating land prices… to eradicate unnecessary delays to the development and building process.’

Desirée Uitzetter, NEPROM and BPD

Frank van Blokland, director of institutional investor group IVBN, said his members are doing their utmost to contribute to the need for new housing in the city. Holland Metropole partners Bouwinvest and Syntrus Achmea are members of the IVBN, and have been at the forefront of efforts to stimulate a housing development drive.

‘The agreement is the first step to allow continued investment in mid-market rental property in Amsterdam,’ Van Blokland said. ‘To meet the enormous demand for housing, we need a lot more building locations and, of course, good public transport.’

An integrated mobility plan for new developments is a key part of the Holland Metropole approach.

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