Fewer owner-occupied homes in Amsterdam as investors buy-to-let

Monument in Amsterdam featuring Major Alida Bosshardt, a well-known leader in the Salvation Army in the mid- to late-20th century
Monument in Amsterdam featuring Major Alida Bosshardt, a well-known leader in the Salvation Army in the mid- to late-20th centuryPhoto: hansenn/DepositPhotos

For the first time in years, the number of owner-occupied homes in Amsterdam decreased in 2019. Despite 1,400 new owner-occupied homes being built last year, the total number of owner-occupied homes in the Dutch capital decreased from 139,300 in 2017 to 136,200 in 2019, according to figures the municipality released, Het Parool reports.

Housing alderman Laurens Ivens blames the decrease on investors and private individuals buying houses to rent out.

According to Dutch central bank DNB, one in five homes sold is now in the hands of investors. That truth can be seen in the Amsterdam figures, according to the newspaper. Over the past two years, the number of homes in the city increased by over 13 thousand to 442 thousand. The number of rental properties owned by private individuals increased even faster, by nearly 21 thousand to 125,700, while rental properties owned by housing corporations decreased. 

It is not only big investors buying up homes in Amsterdam. A growing number of Amsterdam residents are buying a second home in the city to rent out. With the low interest rate on savings, the high rents in the city are much more profitable than putting your savings in a bank.

This dwindling supply of owner-occupied homes is putting more and more pressure on the Amsterdam housing market, Jerry Wijnen, chairman of Makelaarsvereniging Amsterdam, said to Het Parool. "We have already warned that the purchase market is boiling dry," he said. "This keeps the prices rising."

Buyers in Amsterdam now pay an average of 5,500 euros per square meter. Tenants in the free sector pay an average rent of 1,228 euros per month. Only 14 percent of homes in the city are currently affordable to people with mid-level incomes like teachers, nurses and police officers. 

The municipality is trying to thwart the buy-to-let phenomenon by introducing a new obligation on newly built homes, which states that the buyer of a new home must also be the person that lives in it. 

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