Property developers and investors should start looking at the Netherlands’ housing crisis from the perspective of the people looking for homes, housing minister Hugo de Jonge told visitors to the Provada real estate trade fair earlier this month.
“Everyone knows someone who is unable to find a place to live,” De Jonge said at the opening of the 19th edition of the Amsterdam-based fair, where he met developers and investors and discussed his target to build 900,000 new homes.
The real estate industry has been highly critical of some of the measures the minister has proposed to stimulate the development of more affordable housing, such as setting quotas for different types of property in new developments.
The 900,000 figure has not been plucked out of thin air “by an over-ambitious minister” but is based on the real needs of a growing population, De Jonge said.
Despite industry criticism, the decision to extend rent controls and boost the supply of affordable housing will not be abandoned, he said, despite admitting earlier in the month that the sector is going through a dip as new construction slows.
Asked by one delegate if he had to choose between 900,000 new homes and extending rent controls to more properties, De Jonge said: “Not a good question. We have to do both.”
The government is also doing more to help people starting on the housing ladder to buy a home, by introducing starter subsidies and other measures, he said.
In addition, the person looking to buy a home is being disadvantaged by the endless legal procedures before building work starts and this too needs to be tackled, De Jonge said. The minister has already announced plans to slash the number of times locals can take legal action against a development.
“We have to work together,” the minister said. “Government and industry are not on opposite sides… and we are facing a gigantic task.”