People who buy a house in Amsterdam with a WOZ value of up to 512,000 euros must be obliged to live in that house themselves. If it is up to the city council, this measure will be introduced as soon as possible. He must prevent investors from buying existing owner-occupied homes and then renting them out at a high price.
The so-called obligation to live in or to live in is a topic of discussion in many Dutch municipalities. From 2022, the cabinet will make regulations easier for municipalities with purchase protection. At the moment, it is only possible for municipalities to enforce that home buyers themselves continue to live in the purchased house for at least a certain number of years in the case of new construction. For existing owner-occupied homes, the highest bidder owns the house, unless the seller decides otherwise.
Over the past decade, private investors in major cities have bought about 13 percent of owner-occupied homes. In the Netherlands as a whole, that share was about 7 percent, the Land Registry calculated. That number has increased in recent years. In the last quarter of 2020, private investors in the big four cities bought more than 25 percent of the homes sold by owner-occupiers.
The peak was related to the transfer tax that went from 2 to 8 percent for investors on January 1. This measure is also intended to give owner-occupiers more benefits. Young home buyers (under the age of 35) no longer even pay transfer tax for houses under 4 tons.
Live on your own for at least four years
By setting the limit at 512,000 euros, 60 percent of the owner-occupied houses in Amsterdam are protected against purchase, says housing alderman Jakob Wedemeijer. He calls it “unacceptable that people looking for a home are being trumped by investors who buy homes to rent them out at sky-high prices.” That is why we want to ensure that as many homes as possible can only be bought by people who will actually live there. Homes are for living in, not for making money.” The ‘self-residential obligation’ would apply for four years after purchase. After that, the house can be rented out.
There are a few exceptions to the scheme. For example, a house may be rented out to immediate family members (parents, children, brothers, sisters) or rented out temporarily, for example during a stay abroad. Houses that are an integral part of a commercial space, office or shop may also be rented out.
As of today, people can comment on the purchase protection proposal. The council will discuss it in three months. In the capital, 30 percent of the homes are currently in the hands of private investors. House prices have more than doubled in the past seven years, to an average of more than half a million euros.
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