Despite the high demand for homes and the growing popularity of working from home, the rate of office-to-home conversion is slowing. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 10,200 homes were added last year due to the conversion of buildings. In the years before that, that number was 12,500 homes.
By way of comparison: New home builders added more than 69,000 homes last year.
The numbers relate not only to offices, but also to the conversion of schools, care institutions and churches. The office category in particular fell in numbers. The number of converted offices fell 10 percent, and renovated buildings resulted in fewer homes on average: eight instead of twelve a year earlier.
The conversion mainly results in small homes where most unmarried people come to live in. The average size is 76 square metres, while homes in the Netherlands have an area of 119 square metres.
More than 8 percent of all offices are empty, according to figures from real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield. “The conversion of these offices is an underestimated solution to the housing market’s problems,” says Cies Jan Penn, lecturer at Fontys Hogescholen. “It is often thought of as too expensive, too complex and too cumbersome. New construction is soon seen as easier, but the infrastructure is already in place for the offices.”
According to Pen, it would be helpful to arrange the conversion more quickly. “The initial phase of the conversion takes years. The government should take a good look at how to do it a little faster.”
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