Private investors are selling more homes to owner-occupiers –

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Private investors sold 11,700 more homes to owner-occupiers than they bought from them last year, according to new research published in economists’ magazine ESB.

That means a “record” of some 1% of the total number of private rental properties in the Netherlands were sold to someone who planned to live there, the researchers say.

The caretaker government has introduced several measures to stop investors from snapping up properties that do come on the market and then renting them out for excessive sums of money.

The transfer tax has been increased for landlords to 10.4% and rent controls are likely to be extended to cover most of the market. Local authorities have also been given more powers to control who gets to live where. 

The ESB figures are further proof that government action to reduce rents and increase the tax on commercial property ownership is having an impact, economists say. For months, real estate lobby groups have warned that the measures will cut back on the supply of rental homes. 

The sales particularly affected relatively cheap homes in large cities which were likely to fall under rent controls when these are expanded to cover more of the market, the researchers say. 

“For years, investors bought up homes to rent out,” said Amsterdam University professor Marc Francke, who is one of the authors of the report. “But now we see the opposite is happening.” 

Nevertheless, the Kadaster land registry office said last month the number of rental properties in the Netherlands increased last year, despite claims that landlords are selling some of their properties.

In 2023, investors owned 9.4% of the country’s housing stock, compared with 9% in 2022 and 8.6% in 2021, the Kadaster figures show. However, the increase is largely down to investment in newly-built properties by large real estate investors.  

Up to 2021, small investors with fewer than 10 homes bought more properties from private individuals than they sold. But that is now shifting, and small landlords are selling more property to owner-occupiers than they buy, particularly in the bigger cities, the Kadaster said. 

Small investors

According to the national statistics agency CBS, the Netherlands has 4.6 million owner-occupied properties and 3.5 million rental homes. Housing corporations own the bulk of the rental properties but 1.2 million are in the hands of private investors, ranging from big pension funds to small investors with one or two properties.

De Jonge said in a reaction to the ESB article that the number of affordable homes to rent continues to rise and there is no wave of sales.

In addition, he said, first-time buyers are finding it easier to get a foot on the ladder because cheaper rental properties are being sold off.

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