500 million euros for new social housing projects in the private sector

The Flemish government has found a compromise in the social housing debate, borrowing half a billion to real estate developers under conditions. There is a major shortage on the social housing market in Flanders, and social housing companies could not cope with the demand. Private developers will help, but have to meet strict demands. 

About 170,000 families are on a waiting list to get a house at a lower rent as part of a social housing project. The Flemish government had earmarked 1.1 billion for new project to solve the issue, but it turned out that social housing companies only used 660 million.

The Flemish Housing Minister Matthias Diependaele (nationalist) proposed to make the rest of the cash available to private companies, but met strong resistance. Now, a compromise has been reached. Private developers will help to create more places, and will receive subsidies, but only under strict conditions. 

One third of the houses in a new project should enjoy low social prices for tenants (developers enjoy a negative rent worth -1 percent); one third of the dwellings should be offered at prices below the market price (they pay 0 percent rent on their loan for this part of the development), and one third can be houses or apartments at "normal" prices. For the latter category, the private builders get no benefits. 

Future tenants will also have to meet certain demands. In practise, they will enjoy monthly rents of about 100 to 200 euros below the market value. 

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