The Netherlands’ biggest construction group, BAM, has urged the cabinet to take measures to get housing construction back on track, saying government targets are unlikely to be achieved.

National statistics office CBS said earlier this week the number of new housing permits awarded in the second quarter of the year had fallen 5% to 15,000 – well below the total needed to boost the housing stock.

BAM’s chief executive Ruud Joosten said at the presentation of the company’s first half figures that the cabinet needs to do more to make sure enough homes are built.

“Interest rates have risen, there is high inflation and consumers are unsure about buying a house,” he said. “Sales are going down and that is a real shame because there is enormous demand for housing.”

In particular, high interest rates and the increased cost of building materials are causing problems, he said. And the limits imposed by nitrogen-based pollution “are not helping”.

“I would urge the government to work together to find locations to build homes,” he said. “It is hard to accept the fact that we are incapable of building enough homes for people who move here and for youngsters looking for a place to live.”

Housing minister Hugo de Jonge said before the summer that more money would be made available to stimulate construction plans and to build temporary homes. He has also called on developers to press ahead with their projects, even if it has an impact on their profits.

Joosten said that building firms operate with narrow margins, “ in our case 4%”. “We can’t work with any less,” he said.

BAM booked first half profits down 30% at €60 million, in what Joosten described as a “satisfying operational performance”, despite the challenging market situation. Turnover fell from €3.3 billion to €3 billion.

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