The housing market in Sweden

I meant to write sooner, but I have been extremely busy these last weeks… I have been on a intensive Swedish course, and I basically did A1+A2 in 60 hours, so there was no time left for anything else. I will get back to lessons later, because I need to reach B2 level, and of course, lots of practice from now on!

I have been visiting some houses but I haven’t found the right one yet. It might seem odd, but it’s difficult to find a house in Lapland these days. The housing market in Sweden works like no other!

There are houses to rent, and two tipes of houses to buy. The rental houses are like in Portugal, except that they normally include heating, water and electricity (warm rent vs. cold rent). If you want to buy a house, you have two options: a real buy, and the house is yours, with prices normally lower than in Portugal; and a buy/rent option, which means you don’t own the house, but own the right to live in it – you can change wallpapers, floors but you can’t destroy walls. Both of them can be bought with a loan from the bank, but whereas in the first case, you only have to pay a monthly fee to the bank, in the second case, you have to pay the bank and also a monthly fee to the owner (a real estate agency). Basically you’ll end up paying the same monthly, because the houses for sale have much higher prices. Sometimes you can even “buy” an house without asking for a loan, because these houses are really affordable, with “starting” prices around 20/30k €. And I say “starting” because these houses, normally, go on bidding and end up costing a lot more. Moreover, this “starting” price is money lost, whereas if you buy a house, you will resell it later, and hopefully, recover some money! So, this is a pretty good deal for the real estate agencies that get to sell a house for several times! And why does this work here so well? Because there is a great house shortage, partially, due to the increase of the immigrants. And also because, more than 50% of the rental houses, work with queueing lists. For instance, in Stockholm, one might have to wait about 15-20 years for a house, whereas ir Northern Sweden you might get it in 1-2 years, depending on the region/city. Of course there is also a private rental market, but with this shortage, you can imagine, there are not much houses left!

For a person like me, with a container in the port, waiting for shipment, it’s really annoying…

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