The rental market in Amsterdam is crazy

The supply of rental properties in Amsterdam appears to be falling rapidly, while demand remains high. How can you find a place to live?

Rental housing in the private sector is becoming increasingly scarce in Amsterdam. ‘If we advertise rental properties between 1,500 and 2,000 euros, we get 70 calls in less than two hours,’ says Barbara van der Grijp, founder of Amsterdam real estate agency Engel & Völkers. Van der Grijp’s view confirms a statement by rental platform Pararius released last May. According to the platform, there is a worrying shortage of rental properties. While demand is rising rapidly, the number of rental properties that becomes available in Amsterdam has dropped from just under 7,000 to just over 2,500 per quarter in the last two years. The number of reactions that estate agents receive when posting places for rent has multiplied by twenty in this period: 188 reactions per available house costing € 1000-1500 a month. For the scarce number of homes under € 1000, interest is even more overwhelming: on average 300 reactions per vacant home. The soaring demand is reflected in the prices of housing: in Amsterdam, a new tenant paid an average amount of € 25.75 per square meter in the fourth quarter of 2022, an increase of 10.9 percent compared to one year earlier.

The main cause seems to be a number of new regulations that make it less attractive for owners to rent out their home. The aim was to increase the number of starter homes available for sale, but people in the rental sector are now desperate. Representatives of landlords are particularly annoyed by the maximum rent of € 1123 for many homes in the private sector, depending on their size. According to them, this means that in Amsterdam, with a relatively large number of small homes, renting is no longer profitable, and so owners decide to simply sell their houses. Those suffering the most are people who earn too much to access social housing (which in any case has enormous waiting lists), but too little to buy their own home.

For Jerry Wijnen, chairman of the real estate agents’ association Amsterdam, this is a familiar picture. The situation worries him: ‘You can hear the desperation in the voices of the people we cannot help.’ He emphasizes the negative consequences of the situation for the investment climate in Amsterdam. ‘A lot of people come here for work, but if renting in the private sector is made practically impossible and that is your only option, you may decide to work elsewhere.’

How to find a home?
How can you still have a chance to get a rental property? Act quickly, says Wijnen. Say yes to any viewing you are offered by the agent. Also make sure you have prepared your paperwork. Landlords asks for a lot of information, such as income data, so have it ready. Van der Grijp sees outbidding as the most successful tactic. But even house hunters who are ready to pay more face stiff competition. ‘People sometimes call for a rental apartment listed at 2000 euros and say: ‘I offer 2500!’ But there are many people who try this, so it’s no guarantee of success.’ And what to do if you can’t afford it? ‘Maybe being a nice person. Landlords find it very important that someone lives in their house who is tidy and pays the rent,’ says Van der Grijp.

More opportunities in the region
Stichting !Woon, which supports tenants in Amsterdam, gives a few suggestions. ‘You could share a home with several people.But that’s mostly ok if you’re still studying. At a certain point you just want your own place,’ said a spokesman. According to Van der Grijp, landlords often don’t want people to share a flat, because living with two people means more intensive use of the apartment. According Stichting !Woon, it may be better to move out of the city. ‘It’s annoying, but you have a better chance a bit further out. Homes aren’t cheap there either, but you do get a lot more home for your money.’

Still, this is not a fail-safe method. Although Amsterdam stands out, the problems of finding rental housing in the private sector are present in all major cities and also nationally. In the first quarter of this year, each available home in the Netherlands drew an average of 33 reactions, more than four times as many as two years ago.

Written by Saskia Roselaar