3 October 2019 • HOP, Melanie Zierse and Bas Helleman
Student housing shortage far from over
Since the basic grant was abolished, fewer students are living on their own or in student housing. However, new data reveals that the pressure on the housing market remains high, especially because of a growing influx of foreign students.
Today, students are living at home for longer. In the last four years the share of students living on their own or in student housing dropped from 52% to 47%. These figures were published today by the Kences Landelijke Monitor Studentenhuisvesting 2019 (National Monitor on Student Housing), the umbrella organisation for student housing providers.
However, despite the drop the housing shortage persists. The number of university of applied sciences students is expected to drop 10% in the next eight years, but this is compensated by the fact that universities are attracting a growing number of foreign students. Kences expects an increase of 27,500 international students.
And because of this group we are seeing a growing demand for student housing. These students don’t have the option to live at home and have to rely on housing corporations. The number of Dutch students living on their own will likely drop with 12,600 students in the next eight years, but the demand for student housing will increase by 4%.
The housing crisis is most pressing in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Rotterdam, Den Bosch, Utrecht and Zwolle. Leeuwarden has the most relaxed student housing situation (see chart).
Table from: Landelijke Monitor Studentenhuisvesting 2019, Kences
The basic grant
Kences also analysed the consequences of the implementation of the loan system in 2015. “It still has a major influence on the housing behaviour of first-year and older students,” according to the organisation. However, it doesn’t seem to influence their study choice and students don’t choose to study closer to home.
Between the academic years 2006-2007 and 2014-2015 – the years before the basic grant was abolished – the changes in ratio between students living at home and on their own were very small. But since then, the percentage of students living on their own has decreased from 52 to 47 percent. Since the new loan system has been implemented the share of first-year students not living at home has dropped by 6 percent.
Kences does acknowledge that in previous years the numbers weren’t 100% accurate, as HOP wrote. Students no longer receive a basic grant (the grant was higher for students who lived on their own), so they don’t feel as compelled to register with the municipality in which they live. Additional research shows that around seven percent of students who officially live at home, have actually already moved out.
This survey was conducted as follows. The researchers conducted their own survey and asked students if they were registered in the municipality with their actual residential address. They also did a random sampling and compared students’ answers with the municipal records to see how many students gave the wrong answer.
The figures have now been adjusted. Previous publications can go straight into the rubbish bin, or as Kences says: “Figures from previous publications cannot be compared with the data from this year’s Monitor.”
One of the compilers of the monitor, ABF Research, already stated in July that the number of students living at home would be lower than the numbers reported by the CBS.