Housing corporations want more direction from de Jonge to help solve housing crisis
Housing associations are "eager" to help solve the housing crisis. However, they can't do it alone, said CEO Erik Gerritsen of Ymere, the largest housing association in the Netherlands. He would like to see more guidance from Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge and also believes that the existing housing stock can be put to much better use than it is now. Gerritsen also has ideas for faster construction. In addition, tax measures could give housing associations more leeway.
De Jonge wants 900,000 new homes to be added up to and including 2030. However, the Economic Institute for Construction (EIB) did not bring good news to the minister - and all house seekers - this week because construction companies are expected to deliver 10 percent fewer houses in the next two years than in 2022.
"We should not be discouraged by this," Martin van Rijn, chairman of Aedes, the umbrella organization for housing associations, said Thursday in a statement that Gerritsen agreed with.
Gerritsen believes De Jonge can intervene if construction plans get stuck. According to him, this happens in Haarlemmermeer, where 12,000 houses could be built. Due to disputes between the parties involved, not a single brick has been laid. Gerritsen thinks that making it easier to share housing will also lead to better use of the housing that already exists. In his opinion, the abolition of the cost-sharing standard will contribute to this. Then parents or roommates would no longer have their benefits reduced when a child living in the household turns 27.
Due to the scarcity of sites, local authorities should also dare to designate temporary places more often, Gerritsen suggested. Apartments could then be built there for a period of 10 to 15 years.
In addition, companies will have more leeway to build houses or make them more sustainable if tax regulations are adjusted. The CEO of Ymere also thought about abolishing the corporate income tax, which is levied on profits, for housing associations. Since housing associations are not allowed to make a profit at all, Gerritsen found it absurd that this tax applied to them.
In general, Ymere wants to make the cost of improving the sustainability of public housing tax deductible. But for that, businesses will have to borrow a lot of money to do that. Especially companies with a lot of poorly insulated houses can't keep that up for long.
De Jonge is willing to look into financial instruments. The government is already helping, for example with the housing stimulus. In this way, projects can be carried out that otherwise could not finance themselves, De Jonge said. However, he believes that all parties involved must be willing to contribute funds.
According to the housing minister, finances are not the main problem. He sees more benefit in greatly shortening the procedures. Municipalities should also build on sites that can be developed quickly, even if they are on the outskirts of a village or town. "Not every green space is nature to be protected; sometimes a meadow is just a meadow and can be built on." Municipalities, provinces and developers need to be more flexible in this regard, said De Jonge.
Reporting by ANP