Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 509–528 | Cite as

The “squeezed middle” on the Dutch housing market: how and where is it to be found?

Policy and Practice


New regulations on the allocation of social housing recently came into effect in the Netherlands as a result of a state-support complaint filed by institutional investors to the European Commission. At least 90 % of vacant social housing dwellings has to be allocated to households with a yearly income of less than €34,000. This has caused concerns about the availability of housing among (lower-)middle-income households. They can no longer access social housing, and due to the prevalence of social housing and the fiscal favoring of owner-occupied housing, the affordable private rented sector is almost absent in the Netherlands. Thus, currently they rely on the owner-occupied housing market with their restricted financial budgets and might lose out. This study substantiates this assumed “squeezed middle” problem with empirical data for housing regions in the Netherlands. The adopted spatial analysis method shows to what extent and where lower-middle-income households have access to homeownership in the Netherlands, and how the “squeezed middle” varies among the Dutch regional housing markets. The spatial analysis indicates that in some regions, there indeed is a group of middle-income households that is “squeezed.” Yet, the study also reveals that the problem might be more qualitative than quantitative in nature: households may not be able or willing to trade-off location for access to more affordable or more appropriate housing.


Affordable housing EU regulation Regional housing markets Spatial analysis Middle-income households 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Planning, Geography and International Development StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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