VanWonen’s vision for affordable starter homes

Publication, Area and Property Development

At a time when affordable sustainable housing is a challenge, VanWonen shows that by anticipating these market conditions, a promising solution is possible. In this fourth and final article of our series on affordability, we give you a peek into how we aim to do our part. Let’s zoom in on our project in Drachten: the Drachtstervaart. By being flexible in this project, we create space for living - with a strong focus on affordability.

Affordable housing for first-time home buyers
In Drachten, the sale of the final phase of the new build project In de Luwte 1 has started. The basic principle of the project: creating a versatile, healthy living environment, where affordable sustainable living is key. Through our market research, we have found that there are large differences in borrowing capacity: for some target groups, a new build home is just not financially feasible. This is particularly true for first-time home buyers between the ages of 25 and 35: their median borrowing capacity is insufficient for a new build home.

Teaming up for affordable housing
“We have therefore made the choice to redevelop this plan,” says Sales Manager Francis van der Schoot. “Because we have been active in Drachten for many years now, we know the market. We are aware of the fact that in this region, there has been hardly any new build supply for first-time home buyers in recent years.” While this group is an important target group with the greatest need for affordable housing. We gathered the figures on borrowing capacity and affordability. With this, we went to the municipality of Smallingerland and shared our insights and data around affordability. “Where we as an organisation anticipated the changing market conditions, the municipality actively brainstormed with us. And with that, the redevelopment of the plan was a fact: the relatively more expensive semi-detached houses have now been redesigned into terraced houses for first-time home buyers and young families. We are going to realise 13 sustainable and affordable homes here.”

Energy-neutral homes
How do you create affordable sustainable housing in the current market conditions? “We consistently focused on the affordability of these homes. Things like material choices, living area, and efficient floor plans. And we succeeded: the homes start from €315,000 (closing costs paid by the seller). The future residents will also enjoy the benefit of lower monthly energy bills. This is because the homes are also sustainable: gas-free and zero-energy (BENG 3 = 100%) homes with energy label A+++.”
To sum it up: first-time home buyers in Drachten have now access to high-quality, varied and affordable homes. The homes are expected to be handed over in early 2025. The homes have gone on sale this week; interested parties now have a chance to buy a home. Would you like more information about this project? Visit

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