More homes in Amsterdam are free market rentals than owner-occupied
The buy-to-let and keep-to-let trend has rapidly grown in Amsterdam, to the extent that there are now more expensive free-market rentals in the city than owner-occupied homes. Over the past two years, some 10,000 owner-occupied homes turned into free-market rentals, Amsterdam said in a press release on its biennial Living in Amsterdam survey for 2021.
Investors buy up homes to let out, or homeowners with a low mortgage keep homes to rent out after moving. Since 2019, the free-market rental segment has grown by almost 12,000 to 137,400 homes. New tenants now pay an average rent of 1,466 euros. And because the owner-occupied segment is shrinking, home prices also continue to rise. As a result, more and more people can't afford to buy a home or can't find one to buy and end up dependent on these expensive rental homes, the city said.
"The new housing figures show that the housing crisis cannot be solved by just building more homes. We are building massively in Amsterdam, but that is just mopping with the taps open if, due to national policy and huge rent increases, existing affordable homes continue to flow rapidly into the expensive rental segment," said housing alderman Jakob Wedemeijer. "National rent regulation is desperately needed to limit price increases in the existing housing stock."
Amsterdam hopes that the national purchase protection that will soon take effect in the city will help with the buy-to-let problem. It states that homes under 512,000 euros must be occupied by the owner for at least four years after purchase. These homes can't be rented out in those years, with a few exceptions. "This gives first-time buyers and middle-incomes better opportunities on the housing market," the city said.
The number of social rental homes owned by housing corporations remained the same, but those owned by private landlords fell by 7,500 homes. Due to the price increases and the inclusion of property value in scoring, affordable social housing is disappearing into the expensive rental segment, the city said. "This makes it increasingly difficult for low- and middle incomes to live affordably in the city."
There are currently more people who qualify for social housing than social rentals in the city. Amsterdam hopes that the abolition of the landlord levy will give housing corporations more space to invest in more social housing in the coming years.