For the congress ‘Future Housing Formats for Young and Old’, organised by the Real Estate Society, David Dooghe was asked to kick off with a presentation on trends in youth culture and the effects on real estate.


David Dooghe illustrated the current trends in Youth culture with three Rotterdam examples of new housing formats.

In Europe the groups single adults without children and couples without children are the largest groups of private households by household composition and these groups are increasing. Therefore the question; how to create housing that supports their needs is significant.

Looking more specific to the group of young people starting on the real estate market, it is important to understand that for them the identity of the district, the building and the interior is important. Furthermore the private, collective and public space needs to allow opportunities for social interaction with friends, neighbours and people who share interests. Lastly, its importance to create choice, in the type of house, the surrounding amenities and the mobility.

Currently, due to the high prices at the real estate market and the insufficient regulations concerning alternative ways of living, the cities of Flanders are not attractive for a big part of the groups: single adults without children and couples without children. This is a dangerous situation for these cities because the households with children already have the tendency to move out of the city, unless they have a very positive relation with the city.

Rotterdam Examples.

Youngsters between the age of 15 and 20 are a larger part of the Rotterdam population than they are in any other larger Dutch city. However, youngsters between the age of 20 and 30 are a larger part of the Amsterdam and Utrecht population than they are in Rotterdam. Therefore the Rotterdam municipality, together with housing corporations and developers, are setting up different projects to attract young people to the city.

1. Top Students.

Rotterdam universities select their best graduates to participate in a contest organised by the municipality, different housing corporations and developers. The winner of the contest can rent an apartment with a discount for the first 2 years. From the 3 year on, (s)he needs to pay the full rent. These apartments are in iconic buildings in the centre of the city, near amenities and public transport.

The other selected, but not winning students also get an interesting offer from the organisation.


2. Starters on the real estate market.

Some years ago, a Rotterdam housing corporation started with a new format to attract starters to live in the inner city of Rotterdam near amenities and public transport.

The principle of the format is that the corporation sells their former rental houses at a price between 80 000 and 120 000 euros, they keep taking care of the external facades, roof and collective spaces, they offer a cheaper insurance for the house and guarantee they will buy the house if the starter would like to sell it again.

If the starter sells the house after 1 year then 50 percent of the added value is for the starter. Every year he stays longer, 10 percent is added until after 6 years, the whole added value is for the starter.

One eighth of the former property of the corporation is sold using this format. With the money received from selling these houses (approximately 50 000 euro a house), the housing corporation reinvests in their property.

MVE web


3. Young Couples.

Succeeding a popular TV Show ‘The Block’ in which several young couples are renovating an apartment in a building block, the Rotterdam municipality together with housing corporation, offered cheap houses in more deprived areas of Rotterdam to be renovated by private initiative. Young individuals or couples have to register at an office who first checks if they meet the requirements and during the renovation process coaches them. After one year the house has to suffice minimal renovation requirements and the new owners have to live there at least 3 years before they can sell the house.

kluswoningen web

These initiatives are successful and support the strategy to attract young people to live in Rotterdam. However, at the moment these initiatives are still separately organised, isn’t there more to gain with a long-term strategy (supply, financing and regulation)?

conclusies web


More information on the congress ‘Future Housing Formats for Young and Old’