Rental prices in the Dutch unregulated sector drop further

Expat market gains momentum

Pararius quarterly rental report Q2 2021

The average square-metre price of rentals in the Dutch unregulated housing sector fell by 2 percent in the second quarter of 2021 compared to last year. New tenants paid € 16.37 per square metre per month, according to figures from property portal Pararius. This is the fourth consecutive quarter in which a price decline was measured.

Pararius quarterly rental report
The figures apply to:
- The number of properties removed from listings on during the second quarter of 2021;
- Unregulated rental properties (rent starting at €752,33 per month);
- Rental properties that became available for new tenants;
Necessary differentiations designated in the unregulated sector between shell1, upholstered2 and furnished3.

Price drops in large and mid-sized cities

In four of the five largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Rotterdam), the average rent decreased during the second quarter of 2021. Only in Utrecht did rents remain unchanged compared to last year.

In the capital Amsterdam, rents have dropped for four consecutive quarters (since Q2 2020) and this quarter, Amsterdam’s rental price decline was also the largest, percentagewise, among the five biggest Dutch cities. New tenants paid 6.8 percent less compared to last year: € 21.53 per square metre per month.

In Rotterdam, new tenants paid 4.6 percent less than they did a year ago. Tenants in Rotterdam still pay almost six euros less than their counterparts in the capital Amsterdam: renting a home in Rotterdam cost on average € 15.58 per square metre during the second quarter of 2021.

Rents in Eindhoven (€ 14.13) and The Hague (€ 16.06) also decreased compared to last year, where new tenants paid 2.2 and 0.9 percent less, respectively, when moving into a rental home. In Utrecht rents remained the same as in the previous year, with an unregulated sector rental home costing € 17.81 per square metre.

The capital Amsterdam

Rents in the capital have been dropping since the fourth quarter of 2019. For the first time since Pararius began measuring (Q1 2011), rents have decreased in all Amsterdam districts. According to Jasper de Groot, CEO of Pararius: “In Amsterdam Zuidoost rents were rising, but even there, that trend has reversed during the past quarter.” In Zuidoost, currently Amsterdam’s cheapest district, the average square-metre price fell by 7.9 percent. New tenants paid € 16.06 per square metre per month, making Amsterdam Zuidoost the only district with a square-metre price below 18 euros.

The greatest price drop was measured in Amsterdam West. Here, prices fell by 12 percent to € 21.23 per square metre per month. In Amsterdam Oost, new tenants paid € 19.19 per square metre, which is 9.1 percent less than last year. Percentagewise, rents decreased the least significantly in Amsterdam Nieuw-West (-2.4%). There new tenants paid € 18.26 per square metre per month in the past quarter.

The centre of Amsterdam remains the most expensive part of the city to rent a home, with a square-metre price of € 23.35. Rents here fell by 5.6 percent compared to the same quarter in 2020.


In nearly all Rotterdam neighbourhoods the average square-metre price of unregulated sector rental homes decreased during this last quarter. By far the largest percentage price decrease took place in the city centre, where the average rent decreased by 13.3 percent to € 17.14 per square metre per month.

Rents also dropped in Feijenoord (-7.4%) and Hillegersberg-Schiebroek (-3%). In Feijenoord new tenants paid € 14.36 per square metre per month, in Hillegersberg € 15.97. Price decreases percentagewise were minimal in the Charlois (-0.4%), Delfshaven (-0.5%), Noord (-1.6%) and Prins Alexander (-0.3%) districts.

Prices rose slightly in only two Rotterdam neighbourhoods. In IJsselmonde, a relatively inexpensive area, prices rose by 2.1 percent to € 14.16 per square metre per month. In Kralingen-Crooswijk prices increased by 0.6 percent. Rents here are on average higher: during the last quarter, a new tenant would pay € 16.81 per square metre per month for a rental home in the unregulated sector.


There are twelve provinces in the Netherlands. In seven of those, the unregulated housing sector rent was on average lower in the past quarter than it was a year ago. In Zeeland and North Holland rents decreased percentagewise the most, by 8.6 and 5 percent, respectively. Prices also fell in the provinces of Drenthe (-2.8%), Friesland (-1.1%), Groningen (-1.1%), Limburg (-0.9%) and South Holland (-2.2%).

However, the average square-metre price for unregulated-sector rentals rose in the provinces of Gelderland (+3.4%), North Brabant (+1.1%), Overijssel (+3.6%), Utrecht (+4.3%) and Flevoland (+7.4%). In Flevoland the increase is mainly due to rising rents in Lelystad and Almere. In Lelystad rents rose by an average of 12.5 percent compared to last year, in Almere the prices rose by 7.9 percent.

Two of the 12 provinces currently have a square-metre price below ten euros. These are the northern provinces of Drenthe and Friesland, where new tenants paid € 9.88 and € 9.91 per square metre per month, respectively.

The province of North Holland remains the most expensive Dutch province with a square-metre price of € 20.07. This is mainly due to relatively more expensive cities such as Amsterdam and Haarlem. Following North Holland, the province of Utrecht is the next most expensive province for rentals. Homes here are about 3.5 euros less expensive per square metre than in North Holland: € 16.69.

Rents still vary widely at the provincial level. For example, in the ‘Randstad’ province of North Holland you pay an average of € 1,605 per month for an 80-square-metre rental home, while a similarly sized house in Drenthe costs on average about half of that: € 790 per month.

Price development per housing type

Pararius distinguishes between single-family homes, apartments and detached homes in the Netherlands. The average square-metre price for apartments fell by 4.7 percent during the second quarter of 2021 compared to last year. New tenants paid € 17.16 per square metre per month.

The price of single-family homes rose slightly: at € 12.95 per square metre per month, tenants paid 1.5 percent more than last year. During the second quarter of 2021, the rent for a detached house was € 15.00 per square metre per month, which is 4.2 percent more than a year ago.

Living-area categories

Pararius noted price decreases percentagewise last quarter in almost all living-area categories. The square-metre price of unregulated sector rental homes between 175 and 200 square meters fell the most in percentage terms (-11.1%). Rental properties between 75 and 100 square meters, by far the most in-demand category on Pararius, fell by 3.1 percent. New tenants paid € 16.16 per square metre per month in this living-area category. Rents for homes between 60 and 75 square meters, the second most popular living-area category on Pararius, fell by 4.5 percent compared to last year. A home in this living-area category costs on average € 19.04 per square metre per month.

Expat market gains momentum

The decrease in rents in major cities is partially due to the absence of expats as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has had a short-term impact on the number of rentals on offer and consequently on rents. De Groot: “Expats stayed away, which meant that the more expensive rental homes in large cities remained empty. Landlords adjusted rents downwards in order to attract a wider target group and prevent vacancies. This has been an important catalyst for falling rents in major cities.”

According to De Groot, the expat market is now gaining momentum. “The English-language site of Pararius,, had more visits than ever in May and June of this year and the number of requests for information and viewings has almost doubled compared to last year. We’ve never had so many requests before.” Michel van der Steen of Expat Residence in The Hague confirms this. “It’s been extremely quiet in the first quarter of this year. We mainly rent to expats and that market came to a complete standstill. Over the last five weeks it has become busier again. In my view this is mainly due to vaccination policies. Last year, international employers were quite hesitant and cautious, and they didn’t send employees abroad so easily. Now that more people are getting vaccinated, companies are starting to feel more comfortable sending people to the Netherlands again.”

According to De Groot, it’s still too early to say what the return of expats would mean for rents in popular expat cities. “We’ll probably start noticing that effect in the coming quarters.”

The Netherlands remains popular as an expat country. In the 2021 InterNations Expat Insider survey, more than 12,000 respondents shared their insights about expat life in 59 countries around the world. The Netherlands scored 13th in the Working Abroad Index4. Eighty-three percent of these expats praised the local economy and 68 percent reacted positively regarding job security and work-life balance in the Netherlands. Respondents were also satisfied with the local transportation infrastructure and 87 percent spoke positive about the availability of online government services.


Housing market remains overheated

The most recent annual report from the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations on the state of the Dutch housing market shows that for the time being, the market remains in an 'overheated state'.5

The same report highlights the increasing role of investors in the housing market. It states that in the first half of 2020, approximately 20 percent of all home purchases were made by private investors.6 De Groot believes that the government is currently not encouraging the role of investors in reducing the housing shortage, while it should be doing so. “Many potential first-time homeowners are unable to enter the housing market and therefore have to rely on the unregulated market. Investors play an important role in increasing the housing supply in this sector, but they’re now meeting opposition from all sides.”

For example, the Senate voted on Tuesday 6 July to bar investors from purchasing properties. This enables municipalities to ban investors from certain residential areas.7 Cities like Haarlem and Rotterdam intend to introduce this ban as early as next year. According to De Groot, this is unwise. “Due to the large housing shortage, the housing market is an interesting investment for institutional investors and private landlords who want to meet demand. They’re prepared to invest and in doing so, could actually increase the number of medium-priced rental homes in the unregulated housing sector.”

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also states in an extensive report on the Dutch economy that it may be counterproductive to prohibit real estate investors from buying homes for rent.8 This could lead to Dutch people who are dependent on renting having even fewer options.

Explanation of calculations

The figures in this rental report are based on 14,253  properties that were removed from listings on Pararius during the second quarter of 2021. The condition in which a property is rented (shell, upholstered or furnished) and the type of rental property greatly impact the average rent per square metre. All figures shown relate to rental properties that were offered on and were removed from listings during the relevant quarter and thus became available to new tenants. Only homes where more than 30 measurements could be taken over the entire quarter were included in the calculations. Rental properties with a living area of ​​less than 60 square metres (with the exception of the specific share of rental properties in the unregulated market with a living area between 50 and 75 square metres) and larger than 300 square metres and with a rental price below €752.33 were not included in the calculations because these rental properties are allocated to the Dutch social housing sector.9 Rental properties which stated "price on request" were not included in the calculations. No distinction was made in the calculation between homes, apartments, detached houses, studios or rooms, unless stated otherwise.

Average rental price per square metre per month

The average rent per square metre per month of a rental property is equal to the monthly rent divided by the living area (in m2) of the relevant property.

The surface area for all rental properties is between 50 and 300 square metres. Not one property lists its price on request. All 10 above-mentioned properties are therefore included in the calculation.

Average rent per m2 per month: (Sum of rent p/m2 - p/month) / (number of rental properties) = €164.67 / 10 = €16.47 per m2 p/month.

About Pararius

Pararius is the largest independent website for rental properties in the Netherlands. Pararius brings together tenants and landlords. Over 4,500 professional organisations advertise their available rental properties on Pararius. These organisations consist of real estate brokers, property management companies, developers and housing associations throughout the Netherlands. The website welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors every month. Visitors have free and unlimited access to the supply of over 60,000 properties. Pararius is multilingual and is also the largest expat rental platform in the Netherlands for the more than 350,000 expats working in the Netherlands.

  1. 1

     This means that the rental property is rented without furniture, floors, lighting and blackout facilities.

  2. 2

     This means that the rental property is rented without furniture, but with floors, lighting and blackout facilities.

  3. 3

     This means that the rental property is rented fully furnished. 

  4. 4

      I am expat, Netherlands ranked great place work not necessarily live

  5. 5

     Staat van de Woningmarkt, Jaarrapportage Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken

  6. 6

     Rijksoverheid, 2021 Beantwoording kamervragen over particuliere beleggers op de woningmarkt.

  7. 7

     FD, Eerste Kamer wil dat Ollongren verlenging tijdelijke huurcontracten schrapt. 

  8. 8

     OESO, OECD Economic Surveys: Netherlands

  9. 9

     Dutch Government, Social housing and private sector housing