After spending (nearly) all of 2020 at home, the importance of good, affordable housing has never been so easily seen. With 2021 also likely to involve lots of time indoors, what’s new in and around the city for those without a millionaire’s budget?
By Adriana Dancu
Newcomers to the Netherlands may not be familiar with the housing market in Groningen, and chances are, it is somewhat different to lots of people’s home countries. Young adults, and especially students are having a difficult time finding an affordable and nice place to live in many Dutch cities, with Groningen having one of the most pressurized housing markets in the country. Even though there are many international students in the North, finding your ideal house can be very difficult. However, hopefully, 2021 will turn out to be nicer to those looking for a home, as there are more apartment buildings being built, and local authorities seem to finally be moving towards helping free up the market. Luckily, too, the Coronavirus pandemic should dampen rent price increases as fewer people take on the extra stress of moving.
New construction projects could free up other properties
In the Antillestraat, Lefier is developing 136 social rental apartments. The apartments have 2 or 3 rooms for social rent, and were designed by KAW Architecten.
The apartments vary in size from about 50 to about 90 square meters with spacious balconies and large window openings for extra living quality. The design is made up of a closed low-rise block (4 floors) with a height accent on the corner against the bridge (12 floors). There is also a parking space in the courtyard and along the Antillestraat.
The construction of the apartment building started in December 2020, and is expected to be completed in early 2023. Check out the website for more information.
Likewise, there will also be a new apartment building with 29 apartments on the Dierenriemstraat. The apartments will have 1 or 2 bedrooms and have their own storage room on the ground floor, and there will be 21 parking spaces in the new courtyard. Groningen architectural firm ZOFA designed the residential building. It is planned that the residential building will be ready at the end of 2021 and the courtyard will be ready at the beginning of 2022.
House of Groningen offers high-quality finished apartments for rent as well. Their apartments ‘offer the chance to socialize with the other tenants as well’, as the buildings have their own spaces to meet, do business, or help each other. You can choose from 6 different types of apartments. Due to its location, the layout differs. The majority of the apartments are 50 meters square and have 1 bedroom. But there are also apartments of 75 meters square.
House of Groningen can be found at the Bessemoerpark at Wilgenlaan, near Noorderplantsoen. A super strategic place because the Paddepoel shopping center is literally opposite the apartment building, and the city center is within 6 minutes by bike, and Zernike Campus is only 5 minutes away. The prices for the apartments vary from 753 euros to 1150 euros. Visit the website for more information.
It is important to keep in mind that the housing corporations, such as Lefier, work on a membership scheme. That means that you have to become a member of the housing agency in order to benefit from their offers. Of course, this depends on every housing corporations.
Likewise, you should also know the benefits/drawback of social or private housing in the Netherlands. For instance, while social housing is designed to help struggling people who cannot afford a large amount of money for the rent, private housing is more flexible in terms of rent price, and what the property offers. This article explained in detail what the two different housing types offer and demand from you.
Moreover, it is important to know what the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant are. Chances are, if you are an international, the housing market in the Netherlands can be very confusing, and you could end up not getting the best deal you can get because you do not know where to look for information. Luckily, there are many websites that you can visit, which will give you insight into housing in the Netherlands.
This article by Expat covers the fundamental things to consider when renting/buying a house. It outlines the available types of rental property in the Netherlands, and what they each offer/demand. Knowing the rules of renting will help you get a decent place for a decent price, and avoid any misunderstandings. From rental prices in the Netherlands to the renting vocabulary you should know, and to what the contract must contain, Expat explains in detail everything a tenant should know. Information related to housing can also be found on the International Welcome Center North.
Similarly, Frently offers consultancy regarding any landlord related issues. Frently, offers service to any tenant, and gives practical information about your rights, and what a landlord cannot legally do. For instance, a landlord cannot charge you more than the property actually costs, which is calculated on the basis of a legal point system, and that he/she cannot increase your rental price more than the legal maximum price the property. Additionally, you can request an overview of the services provided by the landlord (heating, water, electricity), and any overpaid advance payments should be paid back to you. The website has many more useful information for tenants, so check it out!
After you found your ideal house, you might want to design it to make it feel like a home. When you ask people where is the best place to by furniture, or other house-related products, the first thing that comes into their mind might be IKEA. However, while IKEA offers good, affordable products, Kringloops might have better offers and higher quality products. Marktplaats, or Facebook are also good places to find second hand, or even new products at very cheap prices.
Housing areas you might not be aware of
You do not need to look far away for cheap and good places to rent, or by a house. The Korrewegwijk area, located near the Amazing Oriental, offers affordable places, an in a good location.
Korrewegwijk is 8 minutes away by bike from the University Building, 3 minutes away from Action, and has its own mini shopping center. Also, if you want to relax and take a walk, Oosterpark is just 4 minutes away by bike. Even though most stores and bars are closed during the lockdown, this could be a good location to keep in mind when everything comes back to normal and you decide to find your new house.