An HPP chitchat: Annemarie Leeuwen & Hein van der Meer

  HPP-IREIN & Finance


[Lees in Nederlands]

Bankers, lawyers, developers, aldermen and other decision-makers from the real estate sector… all with a heart for real estate and an even greater passion for cycling. Last year during HPBike 2021, we invited six of our cyclists to our orange seat for an HPP chitchat. What challenges do they see in the sector? What would they do if they were ministers for one day? And how could they strengthen each other?

Read the interview between decision-makers Annemarie Leeuwen (Senior Director, Deutsche Hypo NORD/LB Real Estate Finance) & Hein van der Meer (Partner, CMS Netherlands) below.


Watch the entire video here

What was your first thought when you got up this morning?
H: I know, I woke up this morning and thought, well, today we’re going to cycle 150 km. And I felt like it!
A: Well, that was actually my thought too. I thought, let’s go, I’m excited!

You are Minister of Real Estate for 1 day, what would you do immediately?
H: Well, I have an idea! I would send a letter to the chambers that urgent money must be invested in the housing sector.
A: Yes, housing has to be placed on the top of the agenda and the political parties have to stop trying to win souls and let the market inform them. I’d like to see a Minister for Housing who comes from the market. So who could we ask for that?
H: Maybe someone here? Wienke Bodewes? Not even that crazy. Or Christa Thijssen? No, she should stay at HPP to manage the market.

Can you together think of a challenge for future decision-makers in the real estate sector?
H: Jeez…
A: Well, the challenge is, of course, sufficient housing.
H: More concretely, where are you going to put them? That’s a difficult question, of course. This afternoon we were cycling somewhere in the middle of the jungle and the road captain said ‘There will be houses here’ and I thought ‘That’s a shame’, but it has to be done.
A: I think we should look for a combination of new construction and making the existing property more sustainable.
H: And what about the shopping streets in small towns? They are becoming run-down…
A: Well, it’s not just the small towns, the large ones also need a complete shake-up and a change of use.
H: We need a Minister of Real Estate.
A: Yes, someone who looks beyond housing.

“There should be people from the business community at the table with the minister and not people who have been in the civil service forever.”

If you could change three things in the sector, what would they be?
H: Well we have already discussed 1, more money for housing.
A: I think it’s very important that there is knowledge in places where decisions are made.
H: Yes, the government does not have much understanding of how we operate.
A: The Minister needs to have people from the business world at the table, not people who have been in the civil service forever.
H: We have had Minister Blok here on his bicycle. That was a good development. You could just talk to him on his bicycle, it was very direct.

H: I also find the fiscal measures concerning transfer tax very complicated.
A: Yes, they change all the time, which is not good for the investment climate either. What we see is that many portfolios have changed hands in coronation time and now everyone wants project financing. But there has to be a certain balance in that.
H: The government is taking small steps to regulate housing construction and rents, but there is room for improvement. There it is again: bringing the market towards the government would be a step forward.

“There it is again: bringing the market towards the government would be a step forward.”

What has been an experience for you in your career and what could a younger generation learn from it?
H: Real estate is a very exciting sector, hard work, but great fun. It is very broad, look for example at the diversity of the group of people at this event. I would recommend everyone to work in this sector.
A: When I just started working, I was an operator for a while. During that time, I learned that you have to treat everyone with respect. I was really treated like a doormat. Everyone has a place in the organisation and you have to appreciate people, even if they are in a different position than you. For me, that is the most important lesson I have learned.
H: And follow your heart. I have always done what I liked.
A: I think we do need to work on the male/female ratio in the sector.
H: Let me tell you something, we have many more women working here.
A: Yes, but that is only the legal profession.
H: Yes, but it is a good development. I hope the ladies will grow into management.

H: Tomorrow we have 140 km on the programme to Radio Kootwijk.
A: Yes, a bit of altitude gain.
H: The fast group has now cycled 85 km in one go. I hope we will have a coffee tomorrow at 50. It has to be fun 😉

A moment of connection between two fanatical cyclists with sharp tongues. Next time in the HPP chitchat, a new connection, between Michon van der Salm (CEO, Whitewood) & Sebastiaan de Wilde (Director of Real Estate, NS Stations). How will they build the future together?

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