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Renting in the Randstad more expensive than buying22 October 2013, by Alexandra Gowling
An examination of house prices and rents by the Volkskrant has revealed that even for people living in social housing, it is still cheaper to buy.
The newspaper examined housing costs per square metre in the regions of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam-Rijnmond, discovering that in the Rotterdam region, new social tenants (who are not eligible for the rental benefit) pay around a third more per month for each square metre.
People looking to find a house to rent in the private sector, however, continue to pay the most by far. In all the regions surveyed, renters pay about twice as much per month as those who bought a comparable home.
Lastly, now that thousands of houses are no longer rent controlled across the Netherlands, many more people are paying private sector prices.
House prices still dropping
It has become significantly cheaper to buy a home over the past five years, as house prices have fallen by about 20 per cent since their high in 2008.
According to recent statistic from the CBS, the price of existing owner-occupied dwellings were at the same level in September 2013 as they were in early 2003.
In addition, interest rates are currently at an historic low. Rents, on the other hand, have actually increased by more than 15 per cent. This increase is even greater for homes with housing associations.
Photo by Flickr user scalleja
Where these associations used to ask for only 70 per cent of the legal maximum rent, it is now customary in many regions to ask new tenants for the full amount.
"The prevailing view that living in social housing is cheap and buying is expensive is not true," said Amsterdam housing professor Johan Conijn to the paper.
Earlier this year, Professor Conijn suggested that the turning point when in general buying becomes more attractive than renting is approaching.
Looking at the current rental offer and the square metre prices, it seems clear that this point has been reached.