By the end of the first quarter of this year, 186 thousand houses in the Netherlands were nearing completion, i.e. 3.4 percent more than in the same period one year previously.
Increase no indication of open building permits
The stock of unfinished houses had been growing recently. This might be an indication of an increase in building permits which should in fact not have been issued and did not result in new dwellings, although the figures currently available do not corroborate this conclusion.
The average time span between the application for a building permit and the completion of a new dwelling is two years. The average time span is, for example, exceeded, if building contractors decide to wait for the economy to improve or to delay or redevelop a residential building project, once it becomes obvious that it is financially unfeasible.
Although the amount of open permits has increased further in the first quarter, there is no indication that the share of older building permits has risen disproportionally. By the end of the first quarter of 2009, about 72 percent of open permits were less than two years old and 86 percent were less than three years old.
Open building permits by age, first quarter 2009
Share of older permits stable
Besides, the proportion of building permits open for more than five years has varied around 5 percent since 2005. This proves that the number of building permits that should no longer have been open has not increased noticeably.
Proportion of open building permits by age
Jérôme van Biezen and Hermanus Rietveld