No housing crisis this term

Hundreds of new international students are arriving in Groningen. Does the rental market have room for them? It looks like it.
By Megan Embry

The student housing market in Groningen has been in crisis for years. But as the newest batch of Erasmus students settles in and new building developments go up, it seems like the crisis might be over.

RUG spokesperson Jorien Bakker says that this term ‘there is enough room’ for incoming students. No emergency housing measures will be necessary. The university won’t know until 1 February exactly how many students have officially enrolled, but ESN is preparing for between six and seven hundred international students to attend welcome ceremonies.

Not desperate

Elzo Smid, a local housing guru who moderates the popular Facebook pages ‘Free Housing Announcements in Groningen’ and ‘Fuck the Housing Shortage in Groningen’ agrees that the situation is improving. ‘I get the impression that the number of offered rooms on Facebook almost matches the number of people searching. That includes subletting – legal or illegal – and rooms available for only one or two months. But students aren’t desperate like they have been in the past.’

In 2018, several student housing options were added to the Groningen rental ecosystem, including the Suikerlaan studios and The Village. More are in development. According to municipality representative Floor Olijve, between 1,140 and 1,340 new units will be added to the market by the end of 2019 that are suitable for students.

New developments

The municipality is aware of several large developments currently underway, including:

  • A development at Oostersingel and Nieuweweg with a projected 275 vacancies;
  • The Polaris development by Lefier on the Pleiadenlaan with 207 vacancies (rooms available for rent now);
  • A development by Woldring Verhuur at the Friesestraatweg with 435 vacancies;
  • The Helix tower by Nijestee on Bedumerweg, with 116 studio apartments and 106 two-bedroom apartments.

There are also between 150-200 smaller projects offering units from student rooms to large apartments. The municipality is not yet able to confirm whether any of the new developments will offer short-stay contracts.

Better prognosis

The municipality, the RUG, and Hanze are already preparing for the influx of students expected at the end of the summer. ‘We hope to get a better prognosis of how many students are coming this time’, says Bakker, ‘and we will have an even more involved communication strategy to make sure they know what to expect.’

Olijve says the municipality should have the entire picture by April, at which point they will decide if extra temporary housing measures will be necessary.

Students still looking for a room can search


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