The Netherlands is to get a new minister for housing when the new cabinet takes office in early January. The decision was announced at the presentation of the coalition’s plans, which have now been finalised, nine months after the general election.
Calls for a minister with specific responsibility for housing have come from across the real estate sector and the job is seen as essential for ensuring that the shortage of housing is tackled. That shortfall is expected to reach one million by 2030.
The new four-party coalition – a continuation of the current government – has agreed to speed up the current building programme, from 75,000 new houses a year to 100,000 a year. Some two-thirds will be classed as affordable.
In addition, the coalition aims to create 15,000 temporary housing units and 15,000 units through the redevelopment of redundant offices on an annual basis.
The building regulations will be streamlined and the government will continue to invest in specific projects via a public housing fund.
In new housing developments, public services and transport will be crucial and the government is setting up a €7.5bn fund to ensure proper road and rail connections to the 14 areas already earmarked for intensive residential development.
The real estate sector will be encouraged to innovate and adopt circular strategies, and the construction of prefab homes will be increased.
In terms of the rental sector, social housing rents will be lowered for people on low incomes and increased for high earners living in rent-controlled properties. A limited form of right to buy will also be introduced for some social housing tenants.
The extra tax which housing corporations pay on their rental income will be phased out, on the basis of performance targets, freeing up more cash for new development.
Measures will also be taken to ensure mid-market rental properties remain affordable for tenants, and profitable enough to attract institutional investors. Permanent rental contracts will become the norm again.
A registration or licensing system will be introduced for landlords, to help local authorities combat discrimination and scams.