Dutch cities want to ban property investors in all neighborhoods

The large municipalities in the Netherlands plan to make wide use of a legislative amendment that will allow them to designate neighborhoods where investors won't be allowed to buy cheap and medium-priced homes and rent them out, NOS found after surveying the municipalities. 

This legislative amendment is expected to take effect on January 1. The intention is to give people looking for a home a better chance of finding one on the tight Dutch housing market. Last year, a third of all homes sold in the four large cities were bought by investors. 

Amsterdam told NOS that if it can, it will use this purchase protection for the entire municipality. Utrecht said the same. "Especially because we want to prevent a waterbed effect," a spokesperson said, referring to investors targeting more expensive homes if they can no longer buy those in the lower segments. 

Tilburg is considering implementing the purchase protection in the entire city, The Hague won't rule out that possibility. Groningen is also considering it, but is cautious. "We are going to see whether we can use the scheme as widely as possible, but we must be able to substantiate that," a spokesperson for the municipality of Groningen said to NOS.

The amendment states that municipalities must "substantiate whether and in which neighborhoods imbalanced and unjust effects occur due to the scarcity of cheap and medium-priced owner-occupied homes". The municipalities must also show that the purchase protection is "necessary and effective" in the chosen neighborhoods. The amendment does not set a price limit for cheap and medium-priced homes, as a cheap home in Amsterdam can easily cost as much as an expensive one in Groningen, for example. So municipalities will have to set - and explain - the price limits themselves.