Could €20 billion from the government solve the Netherlands’ housing shortage?

The Dutch government needs to invest €20 billion to help realise large-scale housing projects. This is what the outgoing Minister of Internal Affairs, Kasja Ollongren, has claimed in a letter to the House of Representatives. 

Housing prices in the Netherlands keep going up. Last month, owner-occupied homes were 12.9% more expensive than in May 2020. This is the largest price increase since April 2001, reports Statistics Netherlands.

While the prices are rising, the number of available homes keeps going down — not only because of population growth but also because people live alone more often. 

The Netherlands is currently short of 279,000 homes and those that are already built are bought up by investors who rent them out for high prices, reports RTL Nieuws.

How to fix this?

Building new houses, therefore, seems to be the only solution to the country’s ongoing housing shortage. That’s why last year, a plan was introduced to build 440,000 new homes by 2040. 

The idea was that 70% of these would be affordable and would include social housing as well as homes that cost less than €1000 per month to rent. 

It’s all about the money

The entire project would cost €142 billion. While private actors such as construction companies and investors are expected to cover €109 billion, the government has already set aside €13 billion for the project. 

And the remaining €20 billion? According to the outgoing minister Ollongern, the government should be responsible for covering those. 

An unusual step

Since the 1990s, housing has been in the hands of the commercial market, provinces, and municipalities. This means the intervention of the government would be an unusual step to take.

However, “in order to be able to build this many homes, investments are needed,” says the minister. She emphasises that without government support, the housing that we so desperately need will be built much slower and will be much less affordable. 

The current proposal is that the government would pay one billion euros a year over the next period of 20 years. This money would be used to build infrastructure, or for example, green areas or sewerage. 

What do you think about this proposal? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Nicole Baster/Unsplash

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.

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