Lower rents in the Netherlands? That’s because of the sudden lack of expats

The absence of internationals in the major Dutch cities over the past year has resulted in a drop in rental prices in the free sector, with landlords adjusting prices to keep houses occupied.

The free sector is the part of the rental market that’s not part of social housing โ€” so basically, the shiny houses reserved for flashy business people. Just kidding, it’s most of the houses!

The rental platform Pararius reports that in the second quarter of this year, the average cost per square meter in the free sector is 2% less than it was a year ago. That means a grand total of about โ‚ฌ24 on a โ‚ฌ1,200 rental ๐Ÿค‘.

However, this research only concerns new leases for vacant homes, and is not relevant to existing leases. So if you thought you’d be getting a discount on your rent, we’re sorry to break it to you โ€” but that won’t be happening.

Expats drive up rental prices

Rental prices in the major cities fell over the past year, as the coronavirus situation meant that there wasn’t the usual influx of internationals. As a result, many high-value rental properties in large cities that would usually be occupied by these happy-go-lucky foreigners remained vacant.

According to Jasper de Groot, the director of Pararius, this led landlords to โ€œadjust rents downwards in order to attract a wider target group and prevent vacancy.โ€ That means some lucky people got an upgrade last year on the cheap.

Where have prices become cheaper?

Rental prices have fallen the fastest in Amsterdam because the city is an expat hub. New tenants are paying 6.8% less in rent than they would have done last year.

That means if you were wanting to move to the capital, this is your sign. Or maybe not โ€” while this figure is lower than last year, rent in Amsterdam is still much higher than the national average.

In Rotterdam, rental prices fell by 4.6%. The Hague didn’t see much of an adjustment โ€” new renters will only pay 0.9% less than the year before. Prices in the Domstad, a.k.a. Utrecht don’t seem to have been impacted by this change where, just like in 2020, youโ€™ll still be paying โ‚ฌ17.81 per square meter for your apartment.

Return of international workers

According to Pararius, the expat housing market is starting to take off again. However, they say it’s still too early to predict what impact the return of foreign workers who live in the Netherlands short-term will have on rental prices.

Although De Groot suspects that the return of foreigners will probably be reflected again in rental prices soon โ€” so if you’re wanting to move to Amsterdam, go quick! This golden window could just be about to shut.

What are your thoughts on this change in the housing market? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: glazunofoto@gmail.com/Depositphotos

Jen Lorimer ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.


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