Special rules to help the under-35s buy a home in the Netherlands

What is the right age to buy a home? So much depends on your own personal circumstances. And you might think buying a home in the Netherlands is out of your league, given rising house prices, current interest rates and the lack of supply. But the Dutch government is well aware of the difficulties youngsters face getting a foot on the housing ladder, so it has put several measures in place to help you on your way.

Firstly, if you are under the age of 35 and it is your first home, you won’t have to pay property transfer tax, which is currently 2% for older people. The tax break applies if you buy a property worth no more than €510,000 so that gives you plenty of choice for a starter home, even in the big cities.

Tax-free gifts for children

Secondly, you can also accept a tax-free gift from your parents – if the bank of Mum and Dad has the financial resources available, of course.

The Dutch tax office will not tax funds coming legally into the country from abroad, so if your parents or grandparents are in another country, they can send you as much as they like to help buy a home without you being required to report it to the tax office.

Parents who are in the Netherlands can give their child €6,633 every year without their offspring having to pay tax on it, and that also makes a handy contribution towards a mortgage. You grandparents, your aunts and even your brothers and sisters can also help out to the tune of €2,658 tax-free every year.

If your parents do live here, you can also benefit from a one-off donation of €31,813 tax-free. Note, your parents can’t give you that, plus the €6,633 in the same tax year and it is a one-off, so make sure you use it well!

New housing developments in the Netherlands

Check out new housing developments in your area too. Some include homes that have been set aside, especially for first-time buyers. Some developers also offer housing at a discount which requires the buyer to pay them a proportion of the profits when the property is sold – making it a more affordable option.

Several local councils have also introduced special schemes to help people in key jobs – such as teachers and healthcare workers – get a foot on the ladder by giving them priority in some new projects.

Get lucky with your landlord

The government is also launching a special fund to help first-time buyers, which will give them a discount of up to €70,000. When up and running, you will be able to call on the fund for help as long as the property is a new one and priced below €390,000. The terms have not yet been finalised, but I’ll keep you updated as soon as we know more.

And as a last resort, talk to your landlord. If you are living in a small rental flat, you can always ask if they would like to sell. New rules expanding rent controls to cover more properties have made some landlords consider selling because they might not be able to charge as much rent again. There is no harm in trying, and who knows, you might be lucky!