Record number of houses completed in 2009, prospects less favourable

  • 83 thousand dwellings finished; highest number in more than a decade
  • Nearly 73 thousand residential building permits granted; lowest number since 2003
  • Decline building permits only concerns private housing sector
  • Stock of unfinished of houses shrinking
  • Nearly 7.2 million houses in the Netherlands by the end of 2009

In 2009, nearly 83 thousand were finished, an increase by more than 5 percent relative to one year previously and the highest number of reported completions since 1999, but the prospects are unfavourable. The latest annual figures released by Statistics Netherlands show that the number of residential building permits granted and existing projects completed have fallen dramatically. The stock of unfinished dwellings is also shrinking.

The number of building permits issued for new houses has dropped considerably in 2009 by nearly 17 percent to nearly 73 thousand and the decrease only concerns the private housing sector. Altogether, nearly 47 thousand permits for owner-occupied dwellings were issued, an decrease by 26 percent relative to 2008. The downturn was partly offset by an increase in tenant-occupied building permits by 9 percent to nearly 26 thousand units.

On the level of provinces, a mixed picture emerges. With more than 15 percent, the largest increase in finished new houses was registered in North Brabant compared to 2008. In the provinces of North and South Holland, more houses were completed than one year previously. In the province of Friesland, the number of new houses completed in the same period was 32 percent down. Since the number of requests for residential building permits has dropped for some time, this will eventually be reflected in a reduction in the number of completed houses.

The amount of unfinished houses was reduced to nearly 172 thousand (more than 7 percent) in 2009. Last year was the first year to show a decline in the number of unfinished houses since the monitoring of residential building activities was started in 2005.

The Dutch housing stock is growing gradually as the construction of new houses is completed. Over the entire year 2009, the housing stock has grown by nearly 71 thousand units to nearly 7.2 million. For the sixth consecutive year, the housing stock rose more rapidly than since the historic low was hit in 2003. In that year, the housing stock grew by only 47 thousand.