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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Rental Housing Policy in the United States
  • Volume 13 Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Renting in the United States: A Dutch Perspective

Hugo Priemus, Delft University of Technology

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


One positive consequence of a credit crisis is that academics and other experts shift their attention somewhat from owner-occupied housing to rental housing. All over the world, the general effects of the financial crisis on housing markets are apparent: less residential mobility, fewer home sales, lower home sales prices, and a shift in demand from expensive to cheaper housing and from owner-occupied to rental housing. Reinhart and Rogoff (2009) showed that home sales prices fell by an average of 35.5 percent during a period of 6 years in the aftermath of credit crises in the postwar era.

Priemus and Maclennan (forthcoming) are preparing to address the theme of the credit crunch and the resilience of housing systems for a special issue of the Journal of Housing and the Built Environment. They argue that, ceteris paribus, the most resilient national housing systems are usually those with a lower percentage of home-owning households. This argument seems a plausible conclusion: when, as a result of a credit crisis, the demand shifts from owner-occupied housing to rental housing, it is important to have a substantially sized, differentiated rental housing sector that is capable of absorbing the increased demand. Relatively speaking, the housing markets in Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands are currently faring much better than those in Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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