More municipalities anti-pawnbroker: measures against investors on the rise

This is apparent from an analysis by RTL Z. Our editors looked at dozens of recently concluded coalition agreements, a few months after the municipal elections in March this year. About five months after the elections, only a handful of municipalities are still in the process of forming a new board of mayor and aldermen. Most are out.

Housing market priority everywhere

Although every municipality has its own hot topics, one topic stands out from all those agreements: the housing market. Almost every college program calls the shortage of suitable housing for its own residents a problem. In many cases, pawnbrokers with deep pockets are one of the culprits.

In order to hinder them, dozens of housing aldermen are working on the introduction of a self-occupancy obligation, purchase protection and other so-called ‘anti-speculation measures’.

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The municipality of Ede is one of the cities where a self-occupancy obligation will apply. An ‘overflow area’ of Utrecht and Amersfoort, as Leon Meijer (ChristenUnie) describes it, where many people from the Randstad are looking for a new home. Meijer is the new alderman for housing.

15,000 homes

“In the next ten or fifteen years we have to build 15,000 more homes,” says Meijer, who is responsible for housing in the new council. “And remember that we now have about 50,000 homes. So we are faced with a growth of about a third of our municipality, to meet the needs of our own residents and people from the Randstad.”

In Ede, the self-occupancy obligation will apply to new-build homes in the starter segment. Buyers have to live there for four years before they can sell it. “So are you buying a house for your nephew or niece? Yes, very unlucky. That is not the intention. That nephew or niece must buy it themselves. So that we prevent people from seeing houses as an investment instrument, which has happened in recent years Meyer said.

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Starters are fishing behind the net

The housing market has been tight for a number of years and this is particularly the case for first-time buyers. Prices are breaking new records quarter after quarter. First-time buyers can often spend less money on a home than investors or movers (people who already own a house and sell it, ed.) and are therefore fishing behind the net.

According to the most recent Startersmonitorwhich monitors the sentiment among first-time buyers in the housing market, 8 out of 10 first-time buyers think that now is an unfavorable time to buy or rent a new home.

Housing market professor Peter Boelhouwer (TU Delft) thinks the obligation to live in is a good idea. “That is very sensible. If you immediately rent out affordable owner-occupied homes: that is not the intention.”

He is less enthusiastic about purchase protection. “It is a political choice,” he tells RTL Z. “But it is more difficult for people who are looking for a mid-rental home. I wonder whether that is so convenient.”

Cons

There are also drawbacks to this type of housing market regulation, critics say. Especially for new construction projects. Boelhouwer fears that large investors will drop out en masse due to the accumulation of measures.

Because in addition to these two local measures, housing minister Hugo de Jonge (CDA) wants to limit rents in the free sector. This puts pressure on returns for large investors, such as pension funds. “And those large investors play an important role in the housing market,” explains Boelhouwer. Together with housing associations, which will manage the social rental housing, these types of investors are the first buyers in a new construction project, who also immediately buy a large part of the new construction. With their investments, such a project gets off the ground.

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With the money that this generates, a developer can also continue. “It would be quite serious if that money were lost, because then it is much more difficult to develop the total housing plans,” continues Boelhouwer.

‘Ineffective’

That is also the warning from Vastgoed Belang, which stands up for the interests of real estate investors. Arnoud Vlak of Vastgoed Belang calls the self-occupancy obligation and purchase protection ‘ineffective’ and says it regrets that more and more municipalities are opting for their introduction.

“People who are looking for a rental home will find themselves in even more trouble as a result of these measures than they were before,” he says. After all, new construction production is declining and there will be fewer rental homes in the middle segment, because investors will be banned, he predicts.

Alderman Meijer from Ede acknowledges that project developers are not eager for these kinds of measures. And he knows that in addition to a shortage of owner-occupied homes, there is also a shortage of social and mid-market rents.

‘That starter must be able to seize his chance’

At the same time, he is firm: “We demand 30 percent social rent and also 10, 15 percent social purchase. We give permission if you are going to put down our mix, otherwise it will stop,” he tells builders.

Fortunately, there are plenty of developers who move enough. “It can bite each other a bit, but that’s why we have to stay in good consultation. The goal is: that starter must be able to seize his chance.”

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