2.5 percent of Dutch housing stock vacant for extended period of time

22/05/2014 15:00

More than 400 thousand houses in the Netherlands are unoccupied; 190 thousand (2.5 percent of the dwelling stock) remain unoccupied for more than eighteen months.

Various reasons for vacancy

A house is unoccupied, if it has no officially registered occupants, for example, because house, region or neighbourhood are considered unattractive. Second homes are also often unoccupied for periods of time, although they are used during holidays or rented out to tourists. From an administrative point of view, these houses are unoccupied.

Vacant houses by vacancy period, 1 July 2013

Vacant houses by vacancy period, 1 July 2013

One third of vacant dwellings occupied within six months

One in three vacant dwellings are occupied within six months. A short period of vacancy often occurs, when the occupants move out or when a house is renovated. A certain amount of unoccupied dwellings is required for a good circulation on the housing market. Long-term vacancy refers to houses which remain unoccupied for longer than eighteen months, 190 thousand houses in the Netherlands (2.5 percent of the dwelling stock) fall into this category.

High vacancy rate in tourist areas

The vacancy rate is high in tourist areas where many second homes are found. In areas where the population is in decline, the vacancy rate is also often above the national average. In the municipalities of Vlagtwedde and Bellingwedde in the eastern part of the province of Groningen where the population growth is negative, the long-term vacancy rate is more than 3.5 percent. The vacancy rate in the southern part of the province of Limburg is 3.7 percent, but the rate exceeds 6 percent in the municipalities of Vaals, Onderbanken and Simpelveld. The southern part of the province of Limburg is a tourist region, but, at the same time, the population is in decline, so part of these vacant houses is available to be rented out to tourists.

Proportion of houses unoccupied during more than eighteen months, 1 July 2013

Proportion of houses unoccupied during more than eighteen months, 1 July 2013

Out of the four major Dutch cities, Utrecht has the lowest vacancy rate (less than 3 percent). In Amsterdam and Rotterdam more than 3 percent of dwellings are unoccupied for an extended period of time and in The Hague nearly 5 percent. Part of the vacant dwelling stock in The Hague is occupied by diplomats. They are not registered as residents of The Hague.

Ellen Groen, Mieke Mateboer and Gelske van Daalen