The Northern Dutch are uncertain about their own or their children’s life situation. This is evident from a broad survey carried out by NH Nieuws and Kieskompas among the North Dutch. According to experts, this is the result of an accumulation of uncertainties: inflation, high gas and energy prices, staff shortages and tightness in the housing market.
Over the past few months, we have carried out large-scale research together with Kieskompas into topics that are currently alive among the people of North Holland. Half of the inhabitants of North Holland indicated that finding a suitable home at an affordable price for themselves or others is one of the most important issues. “The housing market has become unaffordable. Our children have been on a waiting list for 12 years. Buying is not possible without our own money. Help from parents is becoming more difficult”, reads one of the responses from the survey.
According to urban sociologist Beate Volker, this is because people tend to look for topics close to home in times of crisis. Due to the current development, inflation, shortage of the housing market, high gas and energy prices, the housing market is currently the talk of the town, she says. “The problems ultimately have all consequences for the housing market.” She gives the energy market as an example: “Many are concerned with the question: how can we become more sustainable and thus save? If that doesn’t work, they look for another, more sustainable house.”
Lack of clear policy
According to housing market expert Peter Boelhouwer, the shortage in the housing market and high house prices are the result of a lack of clear policy. It fluctuates too much between market forces and government intervention. “The government wants to build complicated places, but the market has to solve it. Then it gets stuck.”
The Northern Dutch also believe that the government’s approach leaves much to be desired. For example, more than three-quarters of residents are in favor of home ownership, and a further three-quarters say they think multi-house ownership should be discouraged by taxing them more heavily.
“Ensure more supply of (affordable) rental housing, especially for seniors, to promote the transition from buying to renting”
“The houses must become places to live again. No objects to make money from,” replies one. “Ensure that there is freehold ownership. That private landlords pay tax, and that houses can only be bought by people who live in the Netherlands”, replies another North Dutchman in the survey.
But according to Boelhouwer, we are not only there with the approach of private landlords and investors. Active work should also be done to realize suitable housing for seniors. More than two-thirds of the inhabitants of North Holland indicate that this should be the highest priority.
Stimulation of house splitting
“Provide more supply of (affordable) rental housing, especially for seniors, to promote the flow from buying to renting,” someone answers in the survey. Others emphasize that young and old can also live perfectly together. “Simpler rules must be introduced to make it possible for the elderly and the young to live together.”
Volker and Boelhouwer are also enthusiastic about this form of cohabitation. Volker: “There are many elderly people who live in big houses, why can’t the younger people join?” According to Boelhouwer, many municipalities can take an example from the municipality of Bergen, where housing sharing is active is stimulated. There, the municipality has released permission to split up a house in the hope that more home owners will share their space.
Still, according to Boelhouwer, many solutions are just a cover for the bleeding. According to him, the lack of a clear policy and the current problems that Volker also mentioned make the situation very complicated and hopeless. “A real solution cannot be found. The situation requires drastic changes to the current policy.”
State of NH
This article is part of our research project ‘Stand van NH’. For this, NH Nieuws has commissioned Kieskompas to research topics that the inhabitants of North Holland find most important. We organize themed weeks around the four topics most often mentioned in the research (housing crisis, affordability, livelihoods, healthcare and nature), where we discuss the topics in detail. For an explanation of the rationale for the research, you can: here fair.
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