Bas van Rijthoven, Hello Housing’s sales manager, talks about the expansion to the city that’s well known for its international port – it’s actually quite special to be able to expand in a time of crisis. Apparently there’s still a demand for apartments for expats?
Despite the fact that fewer expats have come to the Netherlands recently, we have regularly received the request from our regular customers to offer them homes for expats in other cities. Because we know Rotterdam pretty well and because we see a lot of overlap between The Hague and Rotterdam in terms of clientele, we thought it would be a great city to start with.
Hello Housing has definitely felt the impact of corona. How does it feel to be able to expand right now?
For us it’s very special to be able to branch out towards other cities, especially now. The demand from our customers was already there and we’ve actually wanted to expand for a very long time already. But because of how busy we were in The Hague, we simply didn’t have the time, until the corona crisis broke out. We’re proud and feel very lucky to be able to take this step.
What are your plans in Rotterdam? Can we expect a lot of new rental apartments here in the future?
Rental in Rotterdam is doing well beyond expectations. Almost since the very first moment the apartments in Rotterdam were ready, they were fully rented out. Unfortunately, we even had to disappoint some interested customers. That’s why we’re also working on additional housing in Rotterdam. The next complex will be De Rotterdam and we expect to start renting out the first homes within a few weeks.
You’ve only just started in Rotterdam, so it might be a little bit too early to ask, but do you notice a difference between the cities of Rotterdam and The Hague?
In terms of dynamics, Rotterdam is a different city from The Hague. Where there’s a very international and political character in The Hague, because the government, embassies and various international courts are located there, Rotterdam feels slightly different. Traditionally, Rotterdam has been a working-class city, but the port and the arrival of many large companies has brought more of an international character to it. Even so, the down-to-earth mentality of the hard-working ‘Rotterdammer’ remains clearly tangible in the city.
Suppose Hello Housing continues to grow, are you already dreaming about other cities?
We certainly plan to grow and expand to other cities. We do want to do this in phases, in order to properly guarantee the quality of our homes and services. The next city is expected to be Utrecht, Amsterdam or Eindhoven. And in a few years we’ll certainly be open to a foreign adventure. Maybe then you’ll even find us in several major cities in Europe!