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Spatial developments

Vacancy of office space, 1991-2015

In the Netherlands, there is an oversupply of office space. On average, more than 17% of office space is unoccupied in 2015 and the percentage is still growing. There are regional differences: the vacancy rate is high in the Randstad region, in particular around Amsterdam and in the Rijnmond area.

Take a look at the vacancy rates in your municipality.

There are considerable regional differences within the Netherlands. Check the vacancy rates and select vacant retail premises in your municipality by means of this infographic.

Seventeen percent of offices unoccupied

The office stock has gradually grown over the past two decades. Around the turn of the century, growth accelerated as a result of bursting of the internet bubble and the need for investors to look beyond shares and find alternative investment opportunities. The use of office space did not go hand in hand with stock developments. This led to higher vacancy rates. Since 2008, when the economic crisis set in, vacancy rates have climbed to more than 17 percent in 2015.
Other more structural factors also contribute to higher office space vacancy rates. In recent years, the labour force has shrunk as a result of population ageing. This has led to a reduced demand for business and office space. Businesses and organisations have adopted more flexible working methods, which means that fewer square metres (m²) are required per individual worker. All these factors have attributed to an oversupply of office floor space.

Regional differeneces in vacancy rates

The largest volumes of office space are found in the Randstad region. More than half of total office space in the Netherlands is located in the provinces of North Holland and South Holland. The Randstad region also has the highest vacancy rates, occasionally in excess of 20 percent. This is partly caused by the fact that many investors are active in this region, unlike in the peripheral regions where offices are often in the hands of owner-occupants. The share of (large) foreign investors is also much higher in the Randstad region than elsewhere in the Netherlands. Property constitutes only a relatively small part of investmentportfolios and therefore vacant property is 'felt' less and there is no urgent need to sell, lower rents or property conversion. In addition to macro-economic, social, local and regional factors, geographical location and object characteristics are also important factors contributing to the attractiveness of office buildings. Within the office market of Amsterdam, for example, vacancy rates in the regions of Amstel III and Sloterdijk are considerably higher than in the centre of Amsterdam.

Turning point: fewer new additions, more withdrawals

Over the past 10 to 15 years, a large area of new office space was added to the rental market. The amount of new additions was much higher than the amount of withdrawals due to demolition or renovation to serve other purposes. The number of withdrawals has been low and stable for many years. The number of additions was substantially higher and varied considerably. Around the turn of the century, the number of additions peaked. In recent years, the amount of m² added to the market has declined and the amount of m² withdrawn from the market has risen. Compared to the pre-recession era, the total amount of m² annually added has been reduced to one fourth. Since 2013, more office premises are withdrawn from the stock than added, but as yet the vacancy rate is not falling, because the use of office space is declining too rapidly.

References

Relevant information

Technical information

Name

Stock and supply of office floor space (m2 VVO)

Description

Developments and current stock and supply of office floor space in the Netherlands. Included are office premises covering at least 500 m² of lettable floor acea (VVO). Vacancy rates have been calculated on the basis of available office area. Office floor space which is no longer rented and is still used at the moment it becomes available is also defined as being vacant.

Institute responsible

PBL

Calculation method

Totals are based on municipal data.

Basic table

Office space database Rudolf Bak

Geographical distribution

Office premises -> municipality ->

Frequency

Annual

Background literature

Edwin Buitelaar, Niels Sorel, Femke Verwest, Frank van Dongen & Arjan Bregman (2013), Gebiedsontwikkelingen commerciële vastgoedmarkten, an institutional analysis of the (over)supply pf shops and offices, PBL, ASRE.

Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2016). Vacancy of office space, 1991-2015 (indicator 2152, version 03 , 19 January 2016 ). www.environmentaldata.nl. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.