Fewer dwellings completed and building permits granted


  • Marginal decline dwellings completed after years of continuous growth
  • Largest increase in houses completed in Groningen
  • More flats and rented houses built
  • More houses waiting to be completed
  • Dwelling stock grows by 64 thousand

In 2008, the number of finished dwellings dropped by 2 percent to nearly 79 thousand. The amount of residential building permits issued last year also decreased marginally to just over 87 thousand. New figures released by Statistics Netherlands show more flats and rented dwellings were completed.

The number of houses completed in 2008 was more than 1,300 down on record year 2007, when the highest level since 1998 was reached. The lowest level was recorded in 2003. The upward trend since 2003 appeares to have come to a close, at least for the time being. The downward trend was first observed in the course of 2008. In the first quarter of 2008, the number of dwellings completed  was still considerably higher than one year previously, but in the fourth quarter, the number of dwellings completed was more than 11 percent lower.

In the provinces of Groningen, Flevoland and Gelderland, the highest number of new houses were completed in 2008. There was also an increase in the provinces of South Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Utrecht. Fewer new houses were built in the provinces of Drenthe, Limburg, North Holland and Overijssel.

In recent years, the proportion of flats has increased considerably. In 2000, one quarter of newly-built houses were flats, as against 39 percent in 2008, but the increase appears to slow down somewhat.

The proportion of rented houses also increased; from 28 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2008.

In 2008, more than 87 thousand building permits were granted for new houses, 1 percent lower than in 2007. Despite the decrease, the number of houses waiting to be completed increased to more than 184 thousand. This is an increase by more than 4 percent relative to the end of 2007. The number of houses, for which building permits were granted is still higher than the number of houses completed. As a result, the number of houses waiting to be completed is still growing. Due to the current economic situation, it will more often occur that requests for building permits are submitted, but that the actual construction is postponed.

In the provinces of Utrecht, Flevoland and Drenthe, the number of residential building permits granted has increased significantly in 2008 relative to 2007. The number dropped most substantially in Groningen, Overijssel and North Holland.

The dwelling stock grew by 64 thousand last year. Next to the increase in newly-built dwellings by 79 thousand, 7 thousand houses were added to the dwelling stock as a result of conversion or splitting-up of larger units; 22 thousand houses were withdrawn from the stock. By the end of 2008, the Dutch housing stock comprised 7.1 million houses.