What does the competitive housing market do with our living situation?

Correspondent Morgan tells us about the competitive housing market in Amsterdam that sees many thirty-something sharing their home with a roommate, or ten.

Published by Guest on 26/04/2017

Amsterdam is a home to over 176 nationalities, making it one of the most diverse cities in the world. Amsterdam has got a highly competitive housing market that sees many thirty-somethings sharing their home with a roommate, or ten. In the end, what does this mean for the living situations of Amsterdam’s middle-class residents?

New project starts demolition #demo #newprojects #amsterdaminteriors
A post shared by Simon Bush-King Architecture (@simonbushkingarchitecture) on

Roommate Roulette 

€2,200 is the average price to rent a place here in Amsterdam, leaving both foreign and Dutch middle-class residents unable to afford the price of rent on their own salary, let alone being able to buy a house on a single income. With the market hot and ready- because the demand is high- thirty somethings with steady incomes seek out the next best solution- leaving many renting their apartments, and this is generally always with a roommate, or sometimes even more.

Carly Blair, originally from Phoenix, Arizona, has lived and worked as a writer/editor in Amsterdam for the last eight years. For each of those eight years, she’s had a roommate, which in most cases has been a game of Roommate Roulette.  “It’s hard to gauge how it will be to live with someone until you live with them, so it’s hard to find a roommate that will turn out to be a great one” she said. Unless you’re living with a partner or spouse, oftentimes people are sharing their home with a relative stranger. 

Joost de Leij, another entrepreneur in his mid 30’s, has lived in Amsterdam for 16 years and has rented apartments, with a stint in an anti-squat building, since then. Renting an apartment with his wife they “ are happy with the place we rent now, [but] we’re planning on living here another four or five years. Obviously, the time is now that we’d need to start saving money annually to be able to buy something in the future” he said. 

Solutions- but will they come in time? 

As of 2016, Amsterdam began building an additional 50,000 housing units to meet the demand for those who want to live in and around the city. The issue at hand is that this will take at least 10 years and pricing for most of the housing is already through the preverbal roof. With competitive pricing from Airbnb and the onslaught of illegal subletting, that occurs via social housing, there’s no wonder why the invisible housing bubble has made a tent over the city. 

With such a demand in the Amsterdam housing market- there are alternatives to the standard roulette of roommate finding. Community living projects- such as those like the Je m’appelle Company and The Embassy, are truly building a creative community culture. Where your income shouldn’t stipulate where and how you live with others. 

Acmbp Amsterdam Apartments

Carly feels that “housing is the top negative part of living in Amsterdam and seems to only be getting worse. One of the major reasons I consider moving back to the US is the idea of never having a house that’s actually mine and actually big enough to be comfortable in. It’s kind of offensive to imagine working for 15 years and still being stuck in a 60 m2 apartment with bedrooms smaller than the one I had as a child, not to mention not having a backyard.” It’s a concept that resonates with many in the city by the canals... While the simple solution might seem clear, (hello savings!) the rising costs in Amsterdam itself could continue to see price spikes all over the city. 

Amsterdam could very well see the creative core that makes this city so vibrant relocate for more sustainable and enjoyable living options. Until that threat becomes a reality- the hope is that the city sees a resurgence in the creative living options that were so relevant in the past, the building of 50,000 homes stays on schedule, and roommates keep washing their dishes instead of leaving them in the sink. 

New project starts demolition #demo #newprojects #amsterdaminteriors
A post shared by Simon Bush-King Architecture (@simonbushkingarchitecture) on

Words by correspondent Morgan.

Continue reading on A City Made By People