A substantial 1.8 million households in the Netherlands are open to switching their housing situation, either from renting to owning or the reverse, according to a study by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), as reported by Financieele Dagblad. This figure represents 22 percent of all households in the country, highlighting a significant housing market mismatch, according to the Dutch central bank.
DNB researchers conducted a survey involving over 2,400 participants to gauge their housing preferences, disregarding financial considerations. The results indicated that 56 percent of respondents would opt for homeownership, while 21 percent would choose renting. The remaining participants had no strong preference.
Interestingly, 14 percent of homeowners stated they would switch to renting if the costs were equal, with this group primarily consisting of older homeowners. Among social housing tenants, 31 percent expressed a desire to buy, along with 49 percent of private sector tenants. Younger tenants, particularly those under 45, displayed a strong inclination towards homeownership.
Although the survey participants were asked to disregard financial factors, researchers believed that the financial advantage of owning versus renting influenced private sector tenants’ desire for homeownership. Conversely, a lack of financial means played a role in discouraging social housing tenants from buying.
The DNB also noted that the cost considerations influenced homeowners’ reluctance to switch to renting. DNB researcher Dorinth van Dijk explained that tax policies currently deter older homeowners from selling their properties and investing the proceeds. This tax burden creates a disincentive for them to downsize.
The major advantages cited by those who would switch from owning to renting included flexibility and relief from maintenance concerns.
Younger individuals exhibited a stronger preference for homeownership and were more willing to pay a premium for it. Residents in urban areas tended to favor renting, while men and higher-educated individuals were more inclined towards owning.
DNB recommended addressing these housing preferences in new construction projects by building an adequate supply of rental apartments for seniors and owner-occupied homes for young first-time buyers and families. Additionally, the government might consider reducing the fiscal incentives for homeownership. DNB researcher Maarten van Rooij emphasized that when senior citizens move, they vacate owner-occupied homes that could accommodate young families, highlighting the potential benefits of addressing this housing mismatch.