Local homebuyers in the Groningen earthquake region

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ABSTRACT: Local homebuyers in the Groningen earthquake region

Ir. Hieke T. van der Kloet
Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen
Research Centre for Built Environment NoorderRuimte

The earthquakes after the natural gas extraction in the Groningen region of the Netherlands have a significant impact on the housing market and sustainability of the communities in this region. Since the strongest earthquake around the community of Huizinge in August 2012, with an magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter scale, it became clear there is a relation between natural gas extraction and earthquakes due to soil subsidence. As a consequence houses in the region get damaged and after research it gets obvious housing prices decline and the region will become unattractive to potential buyers of houses, damaged or not. Therefore the Dutch Petroleum Company (NAM) since April 29th 2014 offers a compensation for the loss of the housing price before and after the earthquake of Huizinge to property owners who want to sell their home. They only get the compensation after a sales deal and only if they agree with the proposed compensation. Since the compensation for the decrease in house prices has been introduced, the number of participants of the regulation is lacking behind the actual sales of houses.

Our study aims to contribute to the research on the consequences of earthquakes by natural gas mining on the real estate market in the northern part of the Netherlands, especially the Groningen region. First of all we want to declare why relatively a large part of the property owners (about 60% until 2015) don’t request for the compensation regulation.
Our second question concerns the buyers of the (damaged) houses in the earthquake area. Why would they buy a home in a region full of risks? Who are these buyers?

We use a mixed-method approach for data collection which leads to an analysis of a unique dataset on notarial deeds of house sales in nine municipalities in the Groningen earthquake region according to The Land Registry of the Netherlands during the period 2013 until the end of 2015 as well as discovering common patterns of interview results with residents and experts.

First results show that the majority of the homebuyers originate from the local earthquake area in the Province of Groningen. Reasons why property sellers after the house sale don’t opt for the compensation regulation concerns the complexity of the regulation, the used valuation model and the expected long control time afterwards.

From the first results we conclude that the Groningen earthquake region still has its attractiveness for local residents and buyers.
Otherwise the regulation for compensation doesn’t reach enough property sellers in the nine municipalities of the Groningen earthquake region.

Advise to the Dutch government should be to generously compensate the residents of the Groningen earthquake regions for the loss of value of their dwellings, damaged or not. This will help to improve the regional development and attractiveness of areas that are effected by earthquakes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2018
Event25th Annual European Real Estate Society (ERES) 2018 - University of Reading, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 201830 Jun 2018


Conference25th Annual European Real Estate Society (ERES) 2018
Abbreviated titleERES
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • earthquakes
  • Groningen (province)
  • homebuyers
  • gas extraction
  • gas mining
  • compensation


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