The Uneven Impact on Households
Edited by Ray Forrest and Ngai-Ming Yip
Chapter 6: Housing in the Netherlands Before and After the Global Financial Crisis
Richard Ronald and Kees Dol Since 1990, and particularly after 2000, housing marketization has been a core policy in the Netherlands. Housing commodification in this context has had, however, a particularly Dutch complexion featuring numerous state interventions, guarantees and controls rather than simple deregulation and marketization (see Stephens et al., 2008). Despite a much higher proportion of national mortgage debt and a greater prevalence of nonamortizing housing loans compared to its neighbours, even the more economically liberal ones, the Dutch institutional framework appears to have held up well to the most recent global financial crisis. At least, few households have yet felt the impact of the crisis through the housing system. None the less, house prices are in decline and housing transactions have dropped dramatically, impacting substantially on the construction industry. Greater danger lies, especially in the longer term, with the broader impact of the downturn on the real economy. Official predictions estimate zero growth in 2010 and unemployment to almost double to 8 per cent by 2011 (CPB, 2009). Further degradation of economic conditions may exacerbate housing-market conditions, cyclically feeding back into the real economy. This danger is more acute as intensive housing commodification in recent decades, notwithstanding government guarantee measures, has inevitably made the housing market more vulnerable. This chapter examines the position of the Dutch housing system with regard to recent global economic turmoil, government responses to housing-market downturn and the impact upon Dutch households. This first requires an examination of the pre-crisis development of Dutch housing,...