Amsterdam homes being renovated, not deliberately kept empty: U.S. investor
The majority of 330 vacant homes in Amsterdam owned by Blackstone are in the process of being renovated and definitely not being kept deliberately empty, the United States investor said in response to accusations that it was doing just that in an attempt to run up property prices in the super tight Dutch housing market.
"The actual situation is that over 99% of the vacant homes are under maintenance or in the planning stage thereof. The majority of the approximately 330 vacant homes were purchased last year. Most were already vacant and in poor condition," Blackstone said in a response to NH Nieuws. "The goal is to be able to offer modern and high-quality homes after renovation."
According to the investor, Blackstone has "no interest whatsoever" in keeping the properties empty. "After all, there is no intention to sell," Blackstone said. "The portfolio consists of rental properties that were acquired for the long term and that are rented out again in a renovated state. There is therefore no speculative vacancy for trade."
According to critics, big investors manage to find a good return on tight housing markets like in Amsterdam by renovating homes and renting them out again at a much higher rent. Gert Jan Bakker of the !WOON Foundation told NH Nieuws that this is exactly how Blackstone operates - by doing some renovations to social housing apartments and then renting them out in the private sector with a massive rent hike.
A new legislative amendment, expected to take effect on January 1, will give Dutch municipalities the power to ban investors from buying cheap and mid-priced homes in certain neighborhoods to rent them out. The large cities already indicated that they plan to make broad use of this purchase protection.