Annual Report 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic had a limited impact on our Dutch and German operations in the past year, mainly in that it forced our people to work from home. Surprisingly, the public health crisis did not affect sales of residential properties in the Netherlands. This was attributable to the huge shortage of residential units, which is expected to rise to 400,000, i.e. 5% of the total Dutch housing stock, in 2022. To make matters worse, we are also seeing increasing delays in planning procedures. The not-in-my-backyard effect is becoming widespread, at least in the most densely populated areas in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, this tends to lead to legal battles in the Netherlands, which are sometimes fought up to the Council of State, the highest Dutch general administrative court. The average lead time of legal proceedings at this court is now between three months to a year. Meanwhile, the shortage of affordable housing in particular continues to rise. Housing is in danger of becoming unattainable for growing numbers of people.