As SDG 11 comprises too many elements to include in one dashboard, we have divided it into two. This first part of SDG 11 relates to suitable housing. A large part of life takes place in and around the home. Affordable, good-quality housing in a safe neighbourhood and at a reasonable distance from the workplace improves people’s sense of well-being.
- Trends for this SDG show a neutral to sombre picture from the perspective of well-being. Five of the 14 indicators are trending unfavourably, two are developing more favourably and the remainder are stable.
- The number of dwellings available per thousand inhabitants shows a rising trend.
- Affordability of housing is coming under increasing pressure. Rents, the price index for housing costs and home ownership, median ratio of selling to asking price, and average household mortgage debt all show red trends.
- Seven percent of Dutch households in 2022 said housing-related costs were a heavy burden. This trend is decreasing and is the lowest in the EU.
Dashboard and indicators
SDG 11 focuses on making cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable places to live. To reflect Dutch government policy, we have divided it into two dashboards. This first SDG 11
dashboard centres on adequate housing. As much of life takes place in and around people’s homes, safe, suitable, affordable and good-quality housing improves their sense of well-being. Where people decide to live is usually based on where they work or study, where their friends and family live, but particularly also on where suitable and affordable accommodation is available. As it has become easier to work from home, commuting distance appears to be becoming a less important factor in deciding where to settle. Housing market mobility is important for first-time buyers and for people who want to move up the housing ladder. Well-being is also clearly affected by how much people enjoy their homes and how much it costs them to live there.
The picture for housing is not bright, with five rising trends pointing to declining well-being. On the other hand, two trends are favourable in terms of well-being and are moving towards the SDG goals. The international position of the Netherlands mainly shows scores in the middle and lowest groups of the EU. The Netherlands performs well within the EU in terms of perceived housing costs and available housing. But it is trailing in terms of share of income spent on housing, and spending on own homes. Compared with other EU countries, a relatively large proportion of the Dutch population experience nuisance from noisy neighbours or traffic.
SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities: housing
Resources and opportunities456115.715th153.320th1.0623.9%23rd
Resources and opportunities
Resources and opportunities relate to the housing stock and the affordability of own and rental homes. Just over 74 thousand new dwellings were completed in 2022, the highest number since 2012. New dwellings were also created by dividing up larger dwellings into multiple smaller ones and by converting existing buildings like offices and churches into housing. Conversely, dwellings were withdrawn from the housing stock because of demolition and smaller dwellings being combined to form a larger one. The net result of all these additions and removals was a housing stock of 8.1 million homes (456 per thousand inhabitants) at the end of 2022. The trend is rising. The Dutch housing market situation is complex: the increase in housing stock, has not reduced the pressure on the market because supply does not match demand.
The Dutch government has set a target of increasing the housing stock by 100 thousand homes a year. The number of construction permits for new homes is an indicator of what will be built in the near future: the average time between a permit being granted and completion of the homes is around two years. The Netherlands Economic Institute for the Construction Industry (EIB) estimates that only 70 thousand new dwellings a year can be built: construction materials are becoming more expensive and harder to come by, construction workers are in short supply, higher interest rates mean higher costs for buyers, and the nitrogen and PFAS issues are still holding back the number of building permits granted.
Affordability of homes is measured on the basis of trends in rents and the costs of buying and owning a home. Here, the trends are red. Rents are trending higher: renting a home in the Netherlands in 2022 cost nearly 16 percent more than in 2015, the beginning of the trend period. Around one third of occupied dwellings in the Netherlands were covered by rent regulation: they are subject to a set maximum for annual rent increases and tenants are often eligible for rent subsidy.
Costs of purchasing and owning a home and the median ratio between asking and selling prices also show rising trends. While median selling prices equalled median asking prices in 2019 and 2020, in 2021 median selling prices rose above, and even well above, asking prices for the first time, with a ratio of 1.06. This ratio rose rapidly further in the first half of 2022, but in the second half of the year it started to drop back towards 1. The average for 2022 was around the same as the average for 2021. The price index for spending on and owning a home is relatively high compared with other EU countries, and the Netherlands is now at the bottom of the rankings. The housing costs ratio – the percentage of income that households spend on housing – amounted to 23.9 percent in 2021, 1.6 percentage points up on 2020. This is high compared with other EU countries (23rd of 25 countries in 2021).
Use concerns homes people live in and their chances of moving up the housing ladder. In 2021, 6.7 percent of Dutch households lived in social housing rentals while their income was above the threshold level for these dwellings. The trend is falling, but the time intervals between the few data measurements in this series are large. The trend has not been assigned a colour. There are two categories of mismatch between tenants and the accommodation they rent: financial (rent does not match income) and physical (size of accommodation does not match household size). The data on these mismatches have recently been revised: the survey is based on a new calculation method and takes into account the housing policy revision introduced in 2021.
Tension on the Dutch housing market is high at present, making it difficult for people in to find suitable and affordable accommodation. In 2021, 3.4 percent of the population lived in a home with too few rooms. This percentage is very low compared with other EU countries.
Households with a mortgage had an average outstanding mortgage debt of almost 196 thousand euros in 2021, nearly 12 thousand euros more than at the start of the trend period in 2015. This concerns the entire mortgage debt on which interest is payable. Accrued funds for mortgage repayment through endowment insurance policies, savings mortgages, investment mortgages have been deducted. The trend is upward and red.
Outcomes concern the quality of the home, residential environment and perceived housing costs. Quality of Dutch homes is generally high: in 2022 85.8 percent of the Dutch population lived in a home without serious defects such as a leaking roof, rotting window frames or problems with damp walls, floors or foundations. Seven percent of the population experienced housing-related costs as a heavy burden, but this share is decreasing. The percentage is the lowest in the EU. In this respect it should be mentioned that the consequences of the energy crisis are not yet fully reflected in the 2022 data. Respondents answered the questions on housing-related costs in the first half of 2022, while energy costs, which are included in these questions, rose by most in the second half of that year. Some respondents were also still paying tariffs under previously existing contracts.
Subjective assessment refers to how satisfied people are with their housing and their neighbourhood. Following a substantial dip in 2021 (by 1.9 percentage points), satisfaction with the home rose by 0.7 of a percentage point in 2022. Satisfaction with the neighbourhood rose by 0.8 of a percentage point in the same year. Medium-term trends for these two indicators are neutral. Overall, Dutch adults are very satisfied with both their homes (86.3 percent) and their residential environment (87.1 percent). The Netherlands is a densely populated country, however, and 27.9 percent of the population say they are bothered by noise from neighbours or traffic. Compared with other EU countries, this percentage is high, and the trend is rising.