Tenants spend more of their income on housing costs than homeowners

Sold sign in front of a home
Sold sign in front of a home. (Photo: ArturVerkhovetskiy/DepositPhotos)

The housing ratio - the total housing costs as a percentage of disposable income - was higher for tenants in the Netherlands than for homeowners last year. Tenants spent an average of 38.1 percent of their disposable income on housing costs, while homeowners spent an average of 29 percent, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday. 

The housing ratio for tenants increased by 2 percent between 2012 and 2015, and did not increase further after that. For homeowners, the housing ratio decreased by 3 percent between 2012 and 2015, and decreased a further 0.4 percent between 2015 and 2018. According to the stats office, the increased difference in living ratio for tenants and homeowners is not explained by a larger difference in average income, but due to a larger difference in housing costs between the two groups.

The total housing costs for tenants increased by an average of 14 percent compared to 2012. The increase is entirely due to higher rents, according to the states office. The level of additional housing costs, like municipal taxes and energy costs, remained relatively stable since 2012, and the average amount of housing allowance had a decreasing effect on tenants' housing costs in 2018. The average housing costs for homeowners were 5 percent lower in 2018 than in 2012. This is thanks to lower gross mortgage expenditure, partly due to lower interest rates, stricter mortgage regulations and decreasing mortgage debt among homeowners.

Households that are among the 20 percent lease prosperous in the Netherlands on average have a higher housing ratio than the 20 percent most prosperous households. Homeowners from the 20 percent least prosperous households on average spend 48.1 percent of their disposable income on housing costs, tenants spend an average of 42.2 percent. Among the 20 percent most prosperous households, homeowners spend an average of 22.6 percent of their disposable income on housing costs, tenants 35.4 percent. 

The housing ratio in the Netherlands' four large cities are higher than the national average. The housing ratio for tenants in The Hague is just over 41 percent, in Amsterdam it's 40.5 percent. In Rotterdam and Utrecht the housing ratio for tenants is 38.4 and 39.3 percent respectively. For homeowners the housing ratio is 32 percent in Amsterdam, 30 percent in Rotterdam, 30.7 percent in The Hague, and 28.9 percent in Utrecht. 

While the housing ratio for homeowners in Utrecht is just lower than the 29 percent national average, the absolute amount is still high. This is mainly due to the higher average disposable income of Utrecht homeowners. The absolute housing costs in Utrecht is 1,069 euros, just slightly below the 1,128 euros average in Amsterdam.