The stagnant housing market through the eyes of Peter Boelhouwer - an essay

News - 30 October 2023 - Communication BK

It cannot have been missed by anyone, but the Dutch housing market is not doing well. Numerous problems are constantly in the headlines, a " building pause" because of nitrogen, stagnant construction due to a shortage of materials or skilled manpower. A stranded rental market, not enough social housing or the rising prices of owner-occupied homes due to scarcity and higher interest rates on mortgages. The problems are numerous and complex. How to find a way out of this? Professor Peter Boelhouwer wrote an essay. 


Especially in the run-up to the elections, "the housing market" is an important topic. Partly for this reason, the new party Nieuw Sociaal Contract (NSC) of Pieter Omtzigt, requested Peter Boelhouwer to write a thorough analysis of the current problems and possible solutions. 

No short-term hits but long-term vision and policy

Actually, there are no short-term solutions to quickly resolve the issue. Surely one of the most important recommendations is that politics should not constantly change paths. "Cabinets change policies too quickly," Boelhouwer said. "The housing market requires a long-term and fixed direction. Not constantly changing interventions." A substantial financial boost is also necessary. "If we want to solve the problem of the stagnant housing market, more money has to be available . Just like in the past, when investments were made in VINEX locations," Boelhouwer argues. "Houses are not built for the first occupant, but for two hundred years. You have to invest in that as a society."


Boelhouwer concludes his 30-page essay with the most crucial task: solve the emerging housing shortage no matter what. When this issue is solved, many of the other problems in the housing market also become less urgent. He concludes his essay with three general conditions important to solving the stagnant housing market:

  1. Vision: Politicians need to develop a vision of what the housing system will look like in the future and must map out a roadmap of how to achieve this final picture in the next 10 to 20 years. The conjuncture sets the pace here. Short-term measures to cope with current problems should at least fit into this final vision. 
  2. Direction: Secondly - in accordance with the responsibility assigned to the government in the Constitution (Article 22) - the national government must regain direction. Minister de Jonge has already taken the first positive steps in his governing law. Important here is that the State has sufficient legal instruments to call unwilling parties to order and to speed up processes. 
  3. Financing: The third key to success is an annual budget of between 3 and 5 billion euros (depending on society's ambitions). Large housing tasks such as reconstruction, the development of urban growth areas and the Vinex have always received strong financial support from the government. Since the future new housing areas are likely to be built for several hundred years, there is also sufficient argument for this from the development motive. In addition to financial support from the national government, the introduction and development of new financing instruments with which future revenues and value developments can be used to enable the desired spatial development (claw back) could also be considered.

More information

Professor Peter Boelhouwer's full essay can be read on the website Monitor Koopwoningmarkt.

Header image | Source: Unsplash