The continued retreat of non-profit housing providers in the Netherlands

J Hous Built Environ. 2016;31(2):277-295. doi: 10.1007/s10901-015-9458-1. Epub 2015 Jul 22.


After the abolishment of object subsidies for housing construction and renovation in the mid 1990s, Dutch housing associations, the main non-profit housing providers in the country, heavily relied on market activities, such as selling homes to owner occupiers, to generate income for their social activities and to contribute to urban development policies. This worked well, which was one of the main reasons that these housing providers could adopt a wide field of operations, including not only the management and development of affordable housing for low-income groups, but also housing in other market segments, plus activities regarding care, welfare, local economy, employment and education. Recent economic and political developments, however, have caused housing associations to return on this path. Central in this paper is a research among Dutch housing associations about their values, strategic positioning and strategies. The research was executed in two waves (conducted in 2010/2011 and in 2013/2014, respectively), each consisting of a panel survey and interviews with selected panellists. This paper presents the results of the second wave. It is expected that after the first wave of the research, new regulations, such as the national implementation of European rules on state support and the introduction of a new property tax, have resulted in a further retreat from non-social housing activities. The analysis shows that this is indeed the case, but that the main shifts in priorities have not taken place directly after the credit crunch, but in later years.

Keywords: Non-profit; Organisational strategy; Social housing; The Netherlands.