10 March 2015

Affordable housing

Affordable housing

In many cities and regions affordable housing is under pressure. This, in turn, leads to a growing amount of harrowing situations for (social) tenants and house owners. But what exactly are the problems? And what kind of solutions are needed and feasible? These were also the two core questions during a special meeting of the ‘Regio Amersfoort Centraal’ in February. An accurate analysis of the situation and required approach was made, guided by an ongoing conversation between politicians and officials of local authorities, housing corporation representatives, developers, construction firms, banks, scientific organizations and tenant associations.

Ten potential approaches were presented to the experts: start-up loans, rent-, sale-, adjudication- and new project policies of housing corporations, land policies of local authorities, residual debt financing, preservation of the existing housing stock, low-interest loan to stimulate lingering at the own home, cheaper construction, different quality requirements for housing, transformation of vacant property and stimulating new investors. All concerned parties concluded that only by an integral approach, with specific measures for the rental as well as the sales market, the affordability of housing won’t turn into a fundamental issue. On top of that they defined a clear priority: realizing 6.000 new dwellings by combined forces, continuing the broad approach behind the front door, considering unorthodox measures in the rental policy of corporations, continuing start-up loans and, especially on regional scales, more cooperation.

Thanks to a proper preparation the complex issue of affordable housing was made concrete and translated into actions for the Amersfoort Region within an hour. Erik van Beurden (Alderman of the municipality of Leusden), Koos Koolstra (CEO de Alliantie, Amersfoort Region) and Nico Rietdijk (NVB association for developers and construction entrepreneurs) put the perspective of the municipality, the corporation and the market into words. Further short pitches by Carola de Groot (Planbureau voor Leefomgeving), Paul de Vries (Rabobank) and Janneke Broers (Stimuleringsfonds Volkshuisvesting Nederland) provided an indication of solutions. Preparations and guidance of all conversations were provided by Guido Wallagh, partner-advisor at Inbo.

More information: Guido Wallagh