Indeed, the City of Groningen now has a surplus of rooms
As reported by UKrant, there is considerably less demand for rooms because the city has emptied since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, with lots of students staying with their parents and attending classes online. Many international students have also returned to their parents, sometimes in a panic due to rapidly-closing borders and changing regulations.
Until recently it was almost impossible to find any room at all- and though there are now no longer students living in emergency tents, quality, affordable housing on the open market is still very difficult to find. According to the UKrant, there are 400 rooms available in the city center alone, and available at much less inflated prices than previously. For example, you can rent a room of twelve square meters on the Peizerweg for 240 euros and for 307 euros you have a room of fourteen square meters near the Noorderplantsoen.
With a ban on evictions during the current Coronavirus outbreak, hard-up students and graduates have a little breathing room- though of course some landlords are still applying pressure to tenants.
It’s a crying shame for landlords, especially those that offer lucrative short-stay accommodation, such as the Student Housing Foundation (SSH). There, 850 students canceled their rent in SSH’s buildings. Forty international students have also canceled their contracts on the Suikerunieterrein: where apartments were built out of shipping containers as an emergency attempt to increase supply last year.
It seems that larger landlords of student properties in Groningen, such as Veldboom Vastgoed or Bulten Vastgoed, do not seem to be in trouble (yet). At least according to a spokesman for Bulten, landlords “with properties in less central locations have a harder time than Bulten”.
The joy may be temporary though, with free-market prices still incredibly high in the City and a lack of supply at the lowest price brackets. Some large developments such as the Woldring Locatie have been opened in recent months- but the current glut of supply is most certainly not a long-term solution to a structural problem.