We provide both affordable housing and a stable return for our shareholders. We do this by investing in mid-market rental homes to create Real value for life.
There is a structural shortage of homes in the Netherlands. By current estimates, the Netherlands needs some 300,000 new housing units but this could reach as many as one million by 2035. The housing market stagnated in the wake of the financial crisis and few new homes were built. Prices have risen and some groups, such as starters and young families, are being confronted by the lack of affordable rental or owner-occupier homes, particularly in the big Dutch cities.
We invest in urban areas for 20 years or more, and we consider that liveable, affordable and inclusive cities offer a better guarantee that our investments will retain their value. Our own research shows that people will want to live and work in these sorts of areas in the future and this is the best opportunity for long-term, stable returns on our investments in rental properties. We aim to ensure 60% of our acquisitions are in the mid-market sector and we are taking steps to make sure our current portfolio remains affordable. We have a strategy of implementing moderate rent increases and plan to apply income criteria when allocating housing. Where possible, we will also give priority to people who are vacating a rent-controlled property.
We believe the most important way to solve the shortage is to build more affordable homes. To contribute to this effort, the Residential Fund has now decided to focus more on mid-market rentals when making acquisitions. This means that everyone has to play their part and make concessions. We work together with local authorities, developers, housing corporations and institutional investors which makes this approach easier. We have a long-term investment horizon and share the community interest: to develop inclusive cities which retain their value and which are pleasant places to live, work and socialise. This is why we make agreements at both a project and at a city level – such as the recent contracts made with both Utrecht and Amsterdam.
“By investing in mid-market rentals, we are able to combine the needs of society with the financial interests of our shareholders ”Michiel de Bruine Director Dutch Residential Investments
Bouwinvest invests for the long term, and we want our mid-market homes to represent good value for money. After all, our housing should keep its worth for 20 to 30 years. We have the following priorities:
Bouwinvest invests in research to expand insight into mid-market and affordable homes, and we have set out our own position in a policy document.
We are working with the city of Utrecht and social housing network WoningNet to give priority on the mid-priced rental market to people with both a middle income and who are leaving a rent-controlled property behind. This enables us to make sure the limited housing which is available goes to the right target group and helps stimulate people to move up the ladder.
In Utrecht, 53 mid-market homes on the Rachmaninoffplantsoen were allocated to people who freed up a rent-controlled property when they moved. This meant we were able to offer 11 people living in social housing a new home.