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'Stockholm needs more housing - not fewer students'

'Stockholm needs more housing - not fewer students'

Published: 25 Aug 2011 11:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Aug 2011 11:11 GMT+02:00

Sweden's housing minister is wrong to single out students as the solution to help alleviate pressure in Stockholm's housing market, argue Young Moderates Veronica de Jonge and Edvin Alam.

Sweden’s housing minister Stefan Attefall on Wednesday told potential students that they should avoid studying in Stockholm to ease pressure on housing in the Swedish capital. He even went as far as to propose cutting the number of student places in the city.

These comments are absurd and threaten the region’s future growth - and with it jobs and public services.

We agree that other municipalities, universities and colleges should do more to kick-start the building of student housing. It is unreasonable for the City of Stockholm to bear the entire burden: all the municipalities of Stockholm County have to make their contribution.

At the last election, we in the Moderate Party promised to build 4,600 new student apartments during the following term. This was a worthy aim, but population growth in the Stockholm area means that this target needs to be revised upwards to at least 30,000 new student homes by 2018.

Suburban municipalities in the Stockholm area also need to take some initiative. The overall housing shortage in Stockholm is a serious threat to growth, but the shortages of student housing could lead more people to choose to study elsewhere, meaning we will lose important talent and future growth.

We often say that ‘Sweden grows when Stockholm grows’. When Stockholm shrinks, you can imagine the consequences.

We now need the YIMBY-coalition to advance. Even in this growing metropolitan area there are plenty of people who think Stockholm is full - and who will use various means to appeal.

According to Stockholm mayor Sten Nordin, the various appeals processes will lead to building projects being delayed by an average of one year. We need to review the right to appeal and speed up decision-making processes. We also need Moderates who dare to fight for the building of new, green residential areas.

As well as making it easier to build, it also needs to be made cheaper to build and live in student housing. The centre-right parties, led by housing minister Stefan Attefall, need to reduce costs by abolishing property tax on student housing and by halving the value added tax (VAT) on construction in general, thus making it cheaper for construction companies to build more housing.

We want the whole of Stockholm to continue to develop, both the city centre and the suburban municipalities, so that people with dreams and ideas can move here.

Stockholm needs to be a region where people’s desire to educate themselves and generate ideas helps create new jobs and better public services.

The problem is not that there are too many students in Stockholm - the problem is that the rising population is not being matched by more housing.

Veronica de Jonge

Chairperson, Moderate Students at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Edvin Alam

Member of the Moderate Youth (MUF) working group for labour market policy

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

17:59 August 25, 2011 by hydroguy
Sweden's chronic housing problems can be solved instantly - get rid of rent control.
04:49 August 26, 2011 by Marc the Texan
hydroguy, you are absolutely right. But that is such a politically incorrect answer, I wouldn't count on it. Sigh.
18:55 August 27, 2011 by glamelixir
There are many steps to follow to solve the housing problem. I would personally start by taking away the stupid bidding system for buying apartments, that make people hold to first hand rent contracts just to wait for buying at the start price when it turns into bostadsratt.

It is insane to think about how many empty apartments are there in Stockholm. Corruption its at its peek when it comes to housing.
16:11 August 28, 2011 by abaeterno
c'mon guys. Sweds are not ready for such a radical change to the housing situation/policy. It's gona take several generations to change things properly. So there remains one option. That is to build, build and build. And, make society worth living in outside of stockholm.
21:12 August 29, 2011 by pcgomes
The consequences of revoking the rent control are totally debatable. But even if it revoked, surely the will be no benefit for students. I would guess the situation could go even worse...

The article is very correct in one point: the other cities of Stockholm county should hold the new student houses. Everywhere in the world students live in cheaper neighborhoods, where the price of the land is affordable. Sure, such student neighborhoods should have easy transportation to the universities. And that's all.
18:13 August 30, 2011 by aoi
The problem is not that there are too few apartments. There are only 2 inhabitants per household in Stockholm.

The problem is the rental system (and perhaps the house price bubble). To which the politicians do nothing.
17:26 September 10, 2011 by 123abcd1983
the strange thing in sweden is most student has their own apartment. Why does student need their own apartment? When I was studying in UK, everyone just sharing a house. House sharing should be encouraged.
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