Students, first-time home buyers need €250 million to fight housing shortage: Greens

Student housing in Amersfoort, Utrecht
A student housing complex in Amersfoort. May 2016Photo: arnaudmartinez/DepositPhotos

Left-wing political party GroenLinks wants the Dutch government to commit to spending 250 million euros on housing availability for students and first-time home buyers. The party's representation in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, was expected to argue in favor of this allocation in a debate session on Monday.

The Cabinet announced plans in September to establish a billion-euro fund to help municipalities get new construction projects off the ground, and tax relief for housing corporations to build new homes.

A five-hour committee session on the government's housing policy was scheduled to take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The agenda includes a review of the housing market, student housing, and the impact of private investors on home prices.

The situation has become so difficult that the Home Affairs minister, Kajsa Ollongren, has referred to it as a "housing crisis." GroenLinks MP Paul Smeulders agreed.

“There is a housing crisis. Students and [first-time buyers] are the two groups that have the greatest difficulty in finding affordable housing. That is why we now have to reserve money for that," he said in a statement.

By earmarking such a large sum specifically to relieve the pressure facing this market segment, "the government will send a clear signal to society that we really want to help these groups," he said.

Before going on medical leave, Ollongren said there is a shortage of nearly 300 thousand homes in the Netherlands, which she wants to tackle with the construction fo 75 thousand new homes annually through 2025. The target was already set over a year ago, and was not met in 2018 and likely will not be met in 2019 either.

Even more specifically, there is a shortage of 40 thousand student homes and 80 thousand rent-controlled social housing properties, GroenLinks said.

 

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