SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Despite the growing shortage of affordable homes in the Netherlands, the number of house building permits granted in the second quarter of this year has fallen to its lowest level in three years, according to new CBS figures.
Between April and June, local authorities handed out permits to build 12,800 homes, a drop of 14% on the same period last year. The number of permits granted in the first quarter was also down 8% on 2018.
CBS economist Peter Hein van Mulligen told the NRC that many construction firms are having difficulty finding enough qualified staff, making applying for permits as waste of time.
In addition, local authorities are also giving fewer permits for a variety of reasons, he said. Housing corporations are keen to build more homes, but say they are hampered by the current rules and by the shortage of finance, due in part to extra taxes imposed by the government.
But private sector companies are reluctant to enter the market because of local authority rent restrictions and the high cost of building land, which they say makes projects unfeasible financially.
Experts suggest the Netherlands needs to increase its stock of ‘affordable’ housing – with a rent of between €720 and €1,000 a month – by 100,000 over the next five years.