Many expats pick Amsterdam when they have a choice of where to move in the Netherlands, but there are other great cities to explore, and Eindhoven is one of them, with such great advantages as a thriving tech scene, a relaxed atmosphere, and a lower cost of living.
Eindhoven, affectionately known as Lichtstad (‘City of Light’), is the home of globally famous electronics giant Philips. It is a city steeped in industrial heritage yet successfully re-invented as a technology, R&D and design hub: an entrepreneur’s paradise. And now, for an increasing number of expatriates, a place to call home.
Expat Mortgages, which specialises in securing home financing for expats in the Netherlands and beyond, explains why this innovative south-eastern city is a smart alternative to Amsterdam.
Expat Mortgages is an independent mortgage broker for expats who want to buy a house in the Netherlands and need a mortgage to realize their homeownership dream. For more than ten years, they have become a specialist in providing expats of all nationalities with home financing solutions, walking them through the entire process from the mortgage application to life insurance and tax advice.
The Netherlands’ fifth largest city — with a population of roughly 220,000 — may be synonymous with Philips, but today it is a shining example of innovation and design, attracting skilled people from around the world into a knowledge ecosystem which the city itself calls Brainport. Forbes magazine has described Eindhoven as “hands down the most inventive city in the world”, while Fortune has boldly suggested that “the next Silicon Valley could well be in Eindhoven”.
It’s clearly an exciting time to be in the capital of North Brabant province. For one, the economy is in good shape: according to Statistics Netherlands, the 3.6% growth it experienced in 2016 was above the national average, with strong performance in hi-tech industries, manufacturing and commercial services creating high-quality jobs. No place in the country matched Eindhoven’s 1.3% fall in unemployment in 2016, leading North Brabant province’s Social Economic Council to warn of potential skills shortages.
Life and liveability in Eindhoven
“Eindhoven has a relaxed vibe and the people are really friendly”, says Roy Schreurs from Expat Mortgages, which just opened an office in Eindhoven. “The city offers an enviable quality of life, just minutes away from Belgium and Germany ” While Amsterdam’s infrastructure groans under the weight of soaring demand and its public areas teem with crowds, Eindhoven’s residents enjoy more green space than any other Dutch city. And what the compact Eindhoven city centre lacks in historic architectural grandeur, it more than makes up for in edgy modern aesthetics, and an easily accessible (and affordable) arts, culture, entertainment and leisure scene.
“It’s a very welcoming and familiar city for expats”, adds Roy, who says that with about one-third of the city’s population being foreign, you’re as likely to hear English spoken on the streets of cosmopolitan Eindhoven as you are the rich Brabantian dialect. Multinational corporations, sought-after schools for third-culture kids, a world-class technical university and globally-renowned design academy create a true melting pot.
An affordable alternative to Amsterdam
The Eindhoven cost of living is also easier on the pocket than Amsterdam. Numbeo’s recent Cost of Living Plus Rent Index states that “you would need around €3,519.67 in Eindhoven to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with €4,500 in Amsterdam.” Notably, it points out that local purchasing power in Eindhoven is 22.28% higher than in Amsterdam.
The housing market in the Netherlands reflects this. Many expats are now being priced out of the “overheated” capital, with housing shortages that mainly affect Amsterdam and Utrecht. The Dutch government has encouraged locals and expats in Amsterdam to consider surrounding cities rather than stay in an already-crowded market; living in Eindhoven is an enticing solution.
For Eindhoven, the upside potential of this shift for those prepared to buy property is already happening. In a 2017 market review, De Nederlandsche Bank stated that, like their larger cousins, medium-sized cities are “witnessing stronger house price rises than the rest of the Netherlands.”
Compelling case for buying a house in Eindhoven
For many expats the dilemma remains: to buy or not to buy? There appears to be a consensus in the current market.
“Of course it is a personal decision. But the mortgage interest deductions and the current low interest rates convince more and more expats to buy a property instead of renting”, says Roy of Expat Mortgages. Indeed, the numbers from Centraal Planbureau show that the average housing expenses of mid-income homeowners are about a fifth of their disposable income, while tenants spend a third of that income on rent. Roy adds that investing money in property is a much smarter financial bet than… just throwing it out the window on rent.
For expats who choose to take the plunge, Eindhoven’s diverse housing stock reflects its status as a regional urban centre.
Single people or couples without children often prefer city centre apartments close to all the amenities, but these inevitably attract a price premium. Families may opt for larger houses in the suburbs and villages skirting the city, which are seamlessly connected to the city for work and schools and within easy reach of the central train station, road networks and airport.
The decision often revolves around your budget, and the best way to determine your price range and navigate the practicalities of a mortgage application is to hire a dedicated mortgage adviser.
Amsterdam it is not, but an increasing number of expats are being drawn to Eindhoven’s bright lights, much as Philips’ founders might have envisaged more than 125 years ago.
Expat Mortgages / Expatica
Roy Schreurs is born and raised in Roermond, a small but friendly touristic town just between Eindhoven and Maastricht. He is the dedicated Mortgage Advisor of Expat Mortgages for Eindhoven area.