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Report touts solution to Stockholm housing crisis

Published: 12 Jun 2014 17:06 GMT+02:00

Stockholm's housing crunch could be solved in ten years, a new report from a housing crisis committee has suggested.
 
"Stockholm is a major problem and people feel they're trapped in a vicious cycle," Klas Eklund, chairman of the Housing Crisis Committee (Bokriskommittén), told The Local.
 
Following months of work, Eklund's committee on Thursday published a report filled with proposals the group believes can mitigate the perennial housing shortage that has long plagued the Swedish capital. 
 
"The local housing market is very tight and the biggest problem is the bad access to housing," Eklund explained.
 
"The construction sector is weak, the market itself is inefficient, there's no mobility due to high taxes when selling, and the rental control is blocking the circulation among tenants."
 
He added that while things were better in Gothenburg and Malmö, both cities were also in need of serious attention too.
 
Eklund described the committee's proposals as a two-pronged approach, firstly aiming to increase construction by making planning procedures quicker and less bureaucratic.
 
 
The second prong consists of gradually cutting back rent controls and "re-regulation" of the housing market in a "socially responsible" way that would make it cheaper and easier to move. To ease the transition, the committee also proposed a temporary housing allowance for those with lower incomes that would be financed by a wealth tax on older properties.
 
Tenants rights would also be strengthened, as would protections against unscrupulous landlords. 
 
Such a move, the committee noted, would take around ten years for Stockholm, five for Gothenburg, and two or three for Malmö. The move would see a gradual rise in rental prices, but people shouldn't be concerned in the long term, Eklund said.
 
"People feel they will be getting squeezed by the high rent prices, but there will be more winners in the end as the supply gradually increases," Eklund explained.
 
"There'll be more mobility, more apartments, and this will unlock the problems of the rental market," he said.
 
"But it will be a lengthy adjustment for Stockholmers."

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

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