Amsterdam has become the first Dutch city to set out how it will stop speculators buying up existing property to rent out, when new legislation allowing them to do so comes into force next year.
City officials plan to ban anyone from buying housing costing less than €512,000 without a commitment to live in it for at least four years. The sales ban would not apply to property which is already being rented out, as long as that was for at least six months prior to the sale.
Some 30% of homes in the Dutch capital are currently in the hands of private investors – both developers who build and rent out property and those who buy existing homes as an investment.
But landlords say the new measure, expected to come into effect on January 1, will not help ease the shortage of affordable housing in the Dutch capital.
The private landlords association Vastgoed Belang says the proposal will lead a greater shortage of rental homes, particularly in the mid-market sector. ‘Councils are prioritizing people who want to buy above newcomers on the housing market and people who can’t or don’t want to buy,’ the organisation said in a reaction.
The new legislation is one of several measures the government is bringing in to try to help first-time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder. The cabinet has already increased the property transfer tax for investors from January this from 2% to 8% and this would appear to be having an impact.
According to preliminary research by the Dutch land registry, or Kadaster, private landlords bought 10,384 homes in the six months to the end of June, the lowest figure since 2013, and the equivalent of 7.4% of all properties to come on the market.
One third of all houses sold in the four big Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht last year ended up in the hands of private landlords.
In total, 8.6% of the Dutch housing stock is in the hands of private investors, defined by the Kadaster as organisations or private individuals who own at least three properties, and this is the lowest percentage in Europe, according to Vastgoed Belang.