An ordinary conversation with an average young adult in a large, medium-sized Dutch city quickly leads to the following topic: the housing shortage. Because in reality, an owner-occupied home in a city is completely out of reach for many young Randstad residents.
One person with average income, despite 20,000 student debt, but 15,000 savings can borrow about 120,000. With Funda’s comprehensive search function, you will arrive at exactly one place in Amsterdam: an 11 square meter room on the Korte Geuzenstraat.
Why are cities so full? To understand this problem, we must first look at the fundamental factors. Because while VCs and mortgage interest deductions are seen as the culprits, the problem is deep.
We now live with more people in the city than before because our needs have changed.
In recent years, cities have become deliberately more attractive to a large group of Dutch, whether to immigrants, singles, or families. Think of the Vinex area, but also the number of stadiums within a radius of two kilometers in the center of Amsterdam.
Moreover, young people live longer in the city. They used to go to the county with their families in their thirties, and now the families continue to live in the city. In addition, we also have more (voluntary) singles. Some of these bachelors – who have access to the housing market – live in family homes.
Moreover, after the kids leave the house, the elderly stay stuck in the (too big) house. As a result, we live more spacious than ever. Amsterdam is full, but the city now has a population equal to that of the 1960s, says the report password, while the area of the city is now much larger.
Rebuilding is a difficult practice for many cities. Land is scarce, and we no longer want to live in high-rise apartments and Natura 2000 areas on the way. Eliminating the mortgage interest discount won’t do much with the current low mortgage interest rate. Motivating young city residents to buy a home in New Amsterdam – located in Drenthe – seems to be a never-ending task.
But the homeless Randstad without his wealthy (and talented) parents isn’t completely lost. We just need to change the definition of what “dwelling” means. Martin van der Maas does in his own vertical Some excellent suggestions.
Rather than being “punished” by living together (in the form of reductions in social assistance, AOW or alimony), it should be encouraged. This lowers the average living space per person in square metres.
Additionally, we need to start thinking outside of traditional family ties when it comes to living together. The odds of a married couple breaking up may be greater than two best friends – only a mortgage lender would think otherwise. Residential groups – eg in the form of private purchasing offices – should become the rule, not the exception. This way we can make better use of the space: because not everyone wants their own parking space, front and back garden, if you can also share the benefits (especially the burdens) with someone else.
The home should grow with the stage of life and that also means living smaller when your children are away from home. Many seniors stay in large family homes after the children leave home, in part because of perverse financial incentives to downsize. Because of the wealth tax and additional loan scheme, it is unfavorable for the elderly to sell their huge home at surplus value and live smaller.
In addition, we need to think about what it will look like to live for the elderly in the future. They often live alone – in the old family home – because they are still able to manage well enough and do not yet belong to a nursing home.
But why not build houses or residential complexes for this category? These homes should be comfortable for seniors, but they should also be close to amenities such as public transportation, healthcare, and shopping.
Above all, let’s learn from history. After the war, for various reasons, we also had a huge shortage of houses. Then the Central Housing Office was established to distribute housing fairly. Perhaps now we need a similar organization that focuses entirely on housing policy. To make sure no group is left behind.
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