Agenda for the Housing Market
De Economist , Volume 157 - Issue 2 p. 251- 264
The housing market is the theme of the Reports to the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Royal Netherlands Economic Association. Current housing market policies in the Netherlands generate substantial welfare losses. The direct and indirect subsidies on housing distort the housing market, house moving behaviour, the labour market and the asset portfolio of households. The welfare loss is estimated at more than 6 billion euro per year. In addition, physical planning restrictions cost at least 3 billion euro per year, a price which is paid for the conservation of open space and nature, especially in the Green Heart of the Randstad. Developments on the housing market over the last fifteen years and the sizeable welfare losses from current policies are sufficient reason to develop an agenda for reform. The Reports suggest several elements for such an agenda, including a gradual reduction of housing subsidies in the owner-occupier sector as well as in the rental sector, an easier land policy to better meet the qualitative housing needs of the population, and an extension of the social tasks for the housing societies.