Should Corporations Develop the Mid-Sized Rental Sector?


“We must stop the discussion about who should be allowed to develop mid-sized rental properties. If housing associations have the financial means, allow them to do it. Because the current shortage means every home is welcome.”

Terrence Wong, Yardi (right)

Nicole Maarsen, director of Vastgoed Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance, made this statement on 5 June 2019 during the Real Estate Market Breakfast News at The Real Estate Meeting Point – PROVADA. “The housing market is gradually becoming a disaster. We’ve been talking about the lack of housing for so long, for God’s sake let’s just start building. We are completely transparent when we sit around the table with municipalities, housing associations and developers. We don’t have to compete with each other, we have parallel interests.” The breakfast news was live on New Business Radio.

More housing for seniors

“We are also seeking to connect with corporations. So let’s just stop talking about who will do the building Mid-sized rental; if they have enough money, let them do it. Because the shortage is huge.” How does Maarsen view this cooperation in concrete terms? “Research into the demographic development of cities shows that the greatest housing shortage exists for single-person households and seniors. Investors, corporations and municipalities must act on this information and make the right product. We can also make agreements about how people move onwards (and upwards); it is possible that a tenant could move from a social rental home to our mid-term home in the same neighbourhood.”

Building community

“Good news from Rotterdam”, says Terrence Wong, Europe’s regional manager for Yardi. “The office vacancy in the centre of the city on the river Maas has been halved in recent years. This is especially good because many outdated offices have been transformed into homes. This was desperately needed because there are not enough homes in the centre and business district. Now you have multifunctional areas. Our American customers only want to invest in multifunctional areas. If their tenants live in an area with numerous facilities around them, they can build a community. The turnover is too large with houses alone.”

No money for mobility

“Mobile solutions must be paid for from residential business, municipalities have paid. But social landlords don’t have the money, the owner-occupied market is locked, and mid-sized rent is regulated on all sides and cannot afford this. Syntrus Achmea wants to be a city partner as an investor. The themes for inner-city area development are too complex to solve on their own. But we are now talking about the wrong topics, and this will not bring solutions to the housing shortage any closer.”

Grandma and Alexa

On a positive note Wong states, “Those who manage to get hold of a rental home are relieved, and this state of mind is increasing. Yardi produces software to facilitate the life cycle of real estate. When it comes to the housing market, we can digitise everything from investment to rental. We can coordinate with everyone involved through our integrated platform, portals and apps. For example, a tenant can arrange for a technician to come and fix a leaking tap, simply at the push of a button. In-house services are becoming more extensive. In the US, a voice assistant like Alexa can help facilitate the payment of bills. Alexa would even be a solution for my 87-year old grandmother who has no idea or interest in technology.”