Some 333 Dutch towns and cities have just elected new local councils – and housing is top of the political agenda for most of them, as well as for national government.
Local councils have already been taking action to try to make it easier for first time buyers to buy a home – for example by stopping investors buying up cheaper properties and renting them out for high prices.
They hope this will give first time buyers in the Netherlands an advantage over private investors with deep pockets.
Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Utrecht are all making use of this new legislation and you can expect more councils will follow once the dust settles on the local elections and new council coalitions start work on their own plans.
Plenty of other things have also been happening in housing since the start of the year when the Netherlands finally got a new government – and a housing minister in the shape of former health minister Hugo de Jonge – yes, he of the whacky shoes and the weekly press conferences.
The government has decided to give first time buyers a helping hand in the Netherlands, by slashing the size of the tax free gift which wealthy parents can give their children to help them buy a house.
This year it remains at €106,671 but next year it will go down to €27,231 and will disappear altogether in 2024.
The government hopes that by stopping the tax free gift, the children of wealthy parents won’t have such an advantage when it comes to bidding to buy a house in Amsterdam or other cities where house prices, as we all know, have been soaring.
Our new housing minister has also just published the first of his plans to boost the amount of affordable housing in the Netherlands, which includes a pledge to build 900,000 new homes between now and 2030.
The good news for people looking to buy is that one third of these new homes – 350,000 – will be classified as affordable owner occupier properties, with a price of below €355,000. The rest will be affordable and social rental housing.
He’s also earmarked 15 locations nationwide, including three in Amsterdam, where major housing developments will be built.
The minister has promised more measures to try and make it easier to buy a home in the Netherlands – so watch this space for updates. In the meantime, if the home of your dreams does come along, make sure that you can act quickly. Work out your budget and start getting your paperwork in order, including an employer’s declaration about your job and salary. Here’s a useful list of what you can do, before taking the plunge.