Housing crisis impact clearly on display across Swedish society

Last week, Mundus News carried a number of reports about the impacts of the housing market crisis on everyday lives. Here is a selection.

  • Swedes housing expenses among the highest 

26% of Swedes’ expenses are spent on housing, according to figures from Eurostat compiled by Hem och Hyra. This places Sweden in fifth place within the EU, just after France. The Finns and the Danes spend the largest share of their budget on accommodation, 29%, followed by Great Britain, which spends 27%. The report also shows that the housing cost for the poorest households in Sweden has increased by 20% during the period 2007 to 2017, writes TT. The corresponding figure for the whole EU was 11%. The reports also shows that for low-income households, owning their housing is in the end cheaper compared to renting it.

  • More tenants on second-hand contracts demand money back

More tenants are asking to have their money returned after having paid too much rent on a second-hand contract, Hem&Hyra reports. The number of requests have trebled in the last three years, from 136 in 2015 to 346 last year. The Tenants’ Association (Hyresgästföreningen) has noticed a surge in repayment requests. “It could be that more people have become aware of their right to have their rents repaid, but it could also mean that second-hand rents have become much higher,” Johan Candler, lawyer at Hyresgästföreningen, tells the magazine. Rents have surged in the wake of the country’s housing shortages and many renters are unable to afford the luxury apartments on the market. [Editors Note: there are strict formulae for controlling rents, but the second hand, and black markets ignore these. If you’re paying above the accepted rate, you may be able to force the landlord to repay the extra.]

  • More to live in Attefalls houses following new rules

An Attefallshus is a new type of standalone building, that from 2014 can be built on a property. If regulations were to allow them to be larger, then it is thought more people could find them attractive as an alternative to traditional housing, the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) tells TT/Omni. It is unclear when the changes could come into effect but much points to rules could be overhauled. It is thought that increasing the number of square metres, from 25sqm to 30sqm, could be more attractive for those looking to making their first leap on the housing ladder.

  • Security tops Swedes’ concerns amid property buys

The desire to stay in a secure neighbourhood tops the list for prospective property buyers in Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm, according to a survey compiled by Sifo on behalf of real estate agents Bjurfors, DI has learned. Eager buyers have traditionally sought balconies and low fees (for leaseholds). Bjurfors CEO Fredrik Kullman tells the newspaper that the survey is the first indicative sign of a trend towards “gated communities”. “Security has never before topped consumer preferences,” the CEO is quoted.

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Sean is responsible for Mundus’ strategy and commercial activities. He began his career in the oil industry Australia. After working internationally in commercial roles with BP in South Africa, the UK and Singapore he moved to Sweden with his family in 2009. He worked in business development and then as the Strategy and Growth Director for NASDAQ Commodities from 2009 to 2015. Sean holds an engineering degree from Adelaide University and an MBA from the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia.