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House prices drop near large asylum seekers’ centres, but only outside cities

05 November 2019
Michiel Daams

Researchers from the University of Groningen and the Gran Sasso Science Institute in Italy have calculated that in some cases, the opening of new asylum seekers’ centres makes the prices of nearby houses decrease significantly. The researchers came to this conclusion after analysing the transaction prices of houses close to all of the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) refugee centres that opened their doors in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2015. After the opening of the largest refugee centres – those that can accommodate at least 500 asylum seekers – the prices of nearby houses dropped by an average of 9%, but only in sparsely populated areas. In other areas or in cases in which the refugee centres were smaller, no significant price changes were observed.

These findings come at a time in which the COA is struggling with growing waiting lists and a potential shortage of accommodation for 10,000 refugees. The range of properties available to house these centres is limited and it is unclear whether some existing centres can be continued in a number of municipalities. The COA has previously announced that it aims to open more refugee centres in urban areas in the West of the Netherlands. This appears to be a worthwhile strategy, according to the findings of the property researchers. This is because in cities, the influence of refugee centres on the prices of nearby houses seems to be marginal. This indicates that highly populated environments can absorb the influx of asylum seekers relatively well. Another possible worthwhile strategy is to organize refugee centres outside cities on a small to medium scale.

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Last modified:07 November 2019 2.29 p.m.
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