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Dutch Cabinet, Opposition Reach Accord on Housing Bill

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Dutch government coalition reached a deal with the opposition on a bill aimed at reviving a housing market that’s been in a slump since 2008.

The proposal would give homeowners more time to pay down their mortgages while annual rent increases for people earning more than 43,000 euros ($58,000) would be capped at 4 percent, the government said today in a statement.

“This will provide clarity that is so much desired in the housing market,” Housing Minister Stef Blok said at a press conference in The Hague today. “This will give an impulse to the construction sector, there’s levy on corporations to keep their finances in order and we give certainty to home owners.”

A levy on housing corporations will be lowered to 1.7 billion euros from 2 billion euros, while the value-added tax on refurbishing houses will be lowered to 6 percent from 21 percent for a year.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Labor Party, its coalition partner, needed the support of three opposition parties after talks with the Christian Democratic Party to get Senate approval failed on Feb. 11.

Blok said the new agreement will cost the government about 200 million euros a year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at fpals@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Foxwell at sfoxwell@bloomberg.net

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