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Dutch housing costs among highest in Europe

Shortages continue after 65 years

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BRUSSELS - Research by the European Commission shows that the Dutch spend far more on housing than the average citizen in EU member countries.

The Dutch spend over 30 percent of their disposable income on housing, compared to a European average of just a bit over 22 percent. Tenants fare worse, their housing costs are 39 percent of their income. Still more alarming is the fact that households with the lowest incomes spend nearly half of their income on housing: 47.4 percent.

Dutch housing market expert professor Johan Conijn attributes high housing costs in the Netherlands mainly to high building costs and land prices. Such high costs sometimes lead to major problems at the lower end of the market, he notes, when people with low income levels can barely make ends meet with what is left after they have paid their rent.

The Netherlands has experienced housing shortages since World War II, a problem that the country's huge public housing corporations have not been able to solve.