‘The Netherlands has the best of both worlds’

Alexander Fischbaum, Managing Director, AF Advisory

A combination of positive factors has made the Dutch market a really attractive destination for real estate investors, Alexander Fischbaum, Managing Director, AF Advisory told Real Estate Day. 

‘Of the three markets we focus on, which are the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, the Dutch market really has the best of both worlds,’ he said. ‘We see it as one of the favourite investment destinations in all of Europe’.

The country has a highly diversified economy, an international culture, it is globally networked and it has fantastic logistics and infrastructure, be it Schiphol airport, Rotterdam harbour or the transport network in and between the cities.

Yet the Netherlands is more sustainable and affordable than some German cities, Fischbaum said: ‘There is still a sizeable price differential, compared to Germany which is more expensive. We see it as a positive buy also because there is less political risk than in the UK, for example. Buying good assets in a safe country, returns may be lower but they are stable’. 

The Netherlands is also a testing ground for the main trends in real estate today, from co-working to micro-living. ‘Sentiment and affordability are the two main drivers of structural change in the market,’ Fischbaum said. ‘They are the two key parameters. The economy dictates how people feel and behave, and economic uncertainty leads to downsizing in all sector, from offices to residential. Affordability is another big issue, as when rents are too high businesses and households have to shrink’.

In the Dutch context Amsterdam stands head and shoulders above the rest, he said. ‘The market is sharply divided between Amsterdam and the rest of the country. The city has a fantastic combination of size and global reach, so it is a truly international city. The problem is finding product, because assets are hard fought for’.