Rabobank and BPD to develop 15.000 mid-priced rental homes to help solve housing shortage

Rabobank and area developer BPD (Bouwfonds Property Development, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rabobank) are to take significant steps to meet the pressing demand for housing among middle-income households. This will be achieved by working together to set up BPD Woningfonds by the end of this year. Over the next 10 years, the fund will add 15.000 low-energy, sustainable homes with mid-range monthly rents averaging between € 650 and € 1,250 to the Dutch housing market. The fund will be getting off to a flying start in early 2020 with the purchase of the first 1.000 homes.

There is a considerable shortage of affordable rental housing for what is called the middle segment in the Netherlands, and this causes one of the bottlenecks in the current housing market. Over the coming years, the government will be making €2 billion available to municipalities and housing corporations for improving the housing market. An investment of €5 billion is being made in the BPD Housing Fund, with Rabobank assuming responsibility for around €1 billion over the next three years.

The 15.000 homes will be made up of sustainable apartments and single-family homes for starters, families, and seniors living independently, and will all be rental properties. These new-build homes will be located on attractive residential estates in urban areas both within and outside of the Randstad conurbation. In developing these homes, the BPD Housing Fund will be helping to fill the gaping hole that exists between social rent and expensive private sector rented housing. The new houses to be developed by BPD will meet the highest sustainability criteria, with the fund purchasing the first 1.000 rental properties from BPD in early 2020.

Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of the Managing Board of Rabobank, commented: "As a cooperative bank, we are constantly looking for opportunities that will allow us to help solve social issues. In view of its scale, the supply required, and sustainability issues, the housing problem has been high on the agenda for years, and is becoming increasingly pressing. There are some three million middle-income households in the Netherlands who, if they were to be looking for a home right now, would not have access to affordable housing. As a result, a large group is falling between the cracks in the housing market. The Dutch rental market needs a larger, healthy mid-market segment in order to facilitate movement. This is where the BPD Housing Fund comes in, making an active contribution. This significant investment in affordable rental properties is also consistent with our mission of working together to make a better world. And Rabobank will in fact be using the fund for further product development suitable for this tenant group."

Driving towards housing affordability and availability

“These results do not take away from the fact that we are operating in a housing market in which it is more and more difficult for many people to find what they are looking for,” continued De Boer. “Pressure on the market increased in urban conurbations in particular. Specifically, those households with an income between one and two times the average are regularly losing out. This is one of the reasons why we see it as our task to work on the long-term affordability and availability of housing, and in 2019 this will be something we will be driving for through suitable area development projects.”

Affordable homes for all

Gea Voorhorst, member of BPD’s Managing Board, added: "Through setting up the BPD Housing Fund, we are actively helping to solve a serious social problem, namely that of affordable homes for all. Actively contributing to housing challenges at a local level is something that is in the DNA of both organisations. As we see it, helping municipalities and housing corporations to create diversified residential estates, making their housing stock more sustainable, serving the middle segment through the provision of affordable housing, and promoting movement throughout the housing market are textbook examples of this."

The shortage of affordable rental housing has resulted from both demographic and economic trends. The Netherlands is growing and its population is ageing. The forecast for 2030 is for the Netherlands to have 3.5 million people living alone, 8.5 million households, and – for the first time – more elderly people than young people, with a life expectancy approaching 84. Moreover, people want to live in a way that suits their lifestyle and their position on the property ladder.

Many people increasingly see renting as the first step on that ladder. It gives starters the chance to save so that they can buy a house of their own. Renting also provides the flexibility required for a labour market characterised by more and more short-term employment contracts.