Home seekers face massive competition as private rentals disappear in big cities
Home seekers are scrambling for the increasingly scarce rental properties available in the free sector, housing platform Pararius reported based on its own figures. In the first three months of this year, there were an average of 33 requests for viewing or information about each vacant rental home, compared to only eight requests two years ago. According to Pararius director Jasper de Groot, this increase is related to a decrease in the number of available rental properties in large cities.
In the first quarter of this year, just over 2,500 private sector rental properties were offered in Amsterdam via Pararius. In the first quarter of 2021, there were almost 7,000. The number of available rental homes was also much lower in The Hague, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, and Utrecht than two years earlier.
The coronavirus pandemic also impacted these figures. In early 2021, far fewer expats came to the Netherlands due to travel restrictions. Expats are an important target group for private landlords. But figures from Pararious also show that the total number of applications in the first months of this year was much higher than in the pre-pandemic 2018 and 2019.
Pararius, whose customers include brokers and real estate investors, pointed to stricter regulations for the rental sector as the cause of the falling supply. The government plans to regulate rents for homes in the middle segment soon. According to De Groot, private investors are selling their rental properties for fear of those additional rules.
“The number of available free sector rental properties is drastically declining. However, the demand for rental properties remains high. This leads to the housing market becoming more and more out of balance, and brokers are flooded with requests from tenants,” De Groot said.
The Woonbond, the interest association for tenants, thinks that further regulation is essential for an affordable rental offer. “There is no reason to want to weaken or prevent that,” said a spokesperson. He acknowledged, however, that some municipalities banning investors from buying houses may have led to a decrease in rental properties. “But that specifically concerns homes that would otherwise be snatched from many first-time buyers and then rented out expensively. If they came back on the owner-occupied market, it wouldn’t be a disaster.”
Reporting by ANP