News updates: Working in a key profession? You might have more right to buy

The Dutch government has agreed that local councils can place restrictions on who can buy properties within their boundaries so that they can give priority to people in key jobs, such as teaching and nursing.

The new rules, which have just been approved in the senate, will come into effect in January and cover both newly-built homes priced at up to €390,000 as well as rental property. The rules will apply to half of the houses which are available and local councils will only be able to place restrictions if they can prove there is a real need to do so.

The plan aims to help people who work in key jobs but are currently being priced out of the market to find a place a live. The situation is particularly acute in big cities like Amsterdam although the restrictions are unlikely to have much impact on home ownership in the capital, given current house prices.

Dutch housing shortage

Meanwhile, there is little sign that the shortage of houses to buy will ease in the coming years.

Housing minister Hugo de Jonge said last month some 90,000 new homes will have been built or created in repurposed buildings this year, and that is almost 10,000 below target. And on top of the target of 900,000 new homes by 2030, a further 400,000 will be needed in the following decade, thanks in part to the number of people moving to the Netherlands to live and work, De Jonge said.

Building more homes

The next cabinet, the caretaker minister said, faces “important choices” because both “physical and financial space will have to be found to meet the housing requirements and develop a cohesive, long-term vision for the country”. Reducing immigration and building more homes were key themes in the November 22 election campaign.

House prices rose for the fifth month in October, national statistics agency CBS said last month. The average price paid for a home in the Netherlands in October was €424,521, but there are wide regional variations.