Utrecht introduces self-occupancy obligation for home owners
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A self-occupancy obligation and an anti-speculation clause for affordable new construction (up to €307,400) on land owned by the Utrecht municipality has come into force from today. This should keep investors and speculators out of the housing market and increase the chance that home seekers will be able to find affordable housing. The measure could potentially apply to tens of thousands of upcoming homes even those currently under construction.
Home developers taking the initiative
The municipality expects to be able to apply the same obligations with building developers even if the municipality is not the land owner. In fact, it is often the developers themselves who have been contacting the municipality with the request to enforce such obligations.
The self-occupancy obligation and the anti-speculation clause have already been applied to multiple projects in Utrecht. Both schemes have already been applied in the form of provisional agreements for owner-occupied homes that will be built in the vicinity.
With the self-occupancy obligation in place, a home may only be occupied by the buyer himself, which would prohibit sub rental. The self-occupancy obligation applies to both the first buyer and any subsequent buyers. However, letting to first-degree relatives during a temporary stay abroad will be permitted.
Elaboration on the anti-speculation clause
The anti-speculation clause ensures that a home may only be resold after five years of occupation. If the buyer wants to sell the house before the five year window period, he or she will be required to pay part of the profit to the municipality.
Speculation leads to price increases when speculators buy homes and sell them at a profit within a short period of time. It is important for the municipality that the flow on the Utrecht housing market is not obstructed by investors.
Regulation of supply and demand in housing for the greater good
Finding an affordable home in Utrecht has been a challenge for many for some time now. Prices have risen sharply in recent years because the demand for housing is much greater than the supply not to mention the reasons above.
Kees Diepeveen, Alderman for Housing in Utrecht, commented on the issue exclaiming that homes should be created for the sole purpose of benefiting those who are in need of affordable housing such as those with a middle class income and under. Frequently, even the subletting of owner-occupied homes leads to relatively high rental costs which is another result of the matter that should be counteracted.
Source: Utrecht Municipality