Big city rents falling for first time in years as expats start leaving

The coronavirus crisis resulted in a cool-down of the free sector housing market. Due to the absence of expats and tourists, rental prices in large cities like Amsterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven decreased for the first time in years, according to rental platform Pararius, Financieele Dagblad reports.

"Some sort of ceiling had already been reached in the big cities," Pararius director Jasper de Groot said about rents to FD. "But the corona crisis had a reinforcing effect and prices have fallen through the ice."

According to De Groot, this mainly has to do with the coronavirus prompting expats to go back to their home country for the time being, or travel restrictions preventing others from coming to the Netherlands. Travel restrictions also brought tourism to a halt, meaning that many landlords who could no longer rent to tourists, turned to renting to locals instead. This freed up extra housing, making prices lower.

Amsterdam is still the most expensive city to rent in, but the average rent per square meter decreased by 1.4 percent to 23.09 euros in the second quarter, compared to the same quarter last year. In The Hague, the average rent of a private sector home decreased by 0.5 percent, the first year-on-year decrease since 2014, according to FD. And in Eindhoven free sector rents fell by 1.9 percent in the second quarter. The first quarter also saw lower rents in Eindhoven. 

Regions around the large cities, like Amstelveen, Bussum and Hilversum, also saw rents decrease over the past few months.

Nationally, the average rent for a private sector home increased by 2.4 percent in the second quarter, compared to the same quarter last year. But this was the smallest increase since 2015.