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Housing in Sweden

Renting a Property

The majority of Swedish people rent their accommodation. The rental market in Sweden is highly regulated, and rental prices are relatively low compared with other parts of Europe. However, prices vary considerably in different parts of the country.

The average annual rent (including heating costs) for a flat with three rooms and a kitchen finished in 1998 was Euro 660 per month (SEK 72900 annual) and for a four rooms and kitchen flat Euro 850 per month (SEK 92600 annual).

Private landlords can let out only a percentage of their properties direct to tenants; the rest must be rented out via the Bostadsfomedlingen, a state-run body for the redistribution of vacant accommodation. This organisation charges a fee to tenants for placing them in accommodation.

There is a severe shortage of rental accommodation in Stockholm and other cities, partly due to a trend in which apartments owned by private landlords are being sold off to tenants. This is driving up rental prices considerably, and making it very difficult to find vacant properties in the cities. Rental accommodation in the cities consists almost entirely of apartments, but houses to rent may be found in smaller towns and rural areas.

Details of houses and apartments to rent can be found in local and regional newspapers, and from public or private housing agencies (listed in the telephone directory under bostadsforetag) . However, since properties are snapped up so quickly, one of the most effective ways of finding accommodation in Sweden is by asking personal contacts if they know of anyone who will be vacating their accommodation, and contacting the relevant landlord direct.

The most popular area for the expatriate community is Stockholm. However there are also Göteborg, Jönköping and Malmö.

Buying a Property

There are no restrictions on foreign nationals buying property in Sweden. Most Swedes rent rather than own their houses, and property prices are as a result much lower than in many other European countries. Outside the main cities it is possible to find cottages from around EUR40,000 and larger houses from EUR100,000 upwards. Prices are significantly higher in Stockholm, Gothenberg and Malmo.

Property prices have recently been increasingly rapidly throughout the country, and the average price of a detached house is now in excess of SEK1.5 million.

Details of properties for sale can be found in local and regional newspapers, on the internet, from real estate agents and from housing companies.

It is normal practice in Sweden for a real estate agent to be used when buying property. The agent's fees, normally around 3-5% of the sale price) are paid by the seller of the property. A deposit of 20% is usually payable to the seller to hold the property once an offer has been accepted.

Most buyers use a solicitor to carry out legal checks on the property, and to deal with the transfer of the title deeds. Solicitor's fees are normally between 1% and 4% of the purchase price, and stamp duty is payable at around 1%. Property tax will be payable annually at a rate of around 1.5% of the property's regularly assessed value, although new or renovated homes are exempt from property tax for five years and charged at 50% of the normal rate for the next five years.

Banks in Sweden will grant mortgages for up to 75% of the property value, often with flexible payment terms. Mortgage interest rates are relatively low, at around 2% - 2.5%.





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