• Sweden's news in English
Housing crisis
Swedish PM: 'Stop arguing, start building'
PM Stefan Löfven in parliament on Wednesday. Photo: Christine Olsson/Jessica Gow/TT

Swedish PM: 'Stop arguing, start building'

TT/The Local · 13 Jan 2016, 12:18

Published: 13 Jan 2016 08:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2016 12:18 GMT+01:00

With queues for rent-controlled apartments pushing 20 years in some parts of Stockholm and property prices rising 14 percent across the country over the past 12 months or so, Sweden's housing crisis remains one of the most hotly debated topics in the Nordic nation.

After months of heated inter-party debates, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan penned a letter to their opponents, published in Swedish broadsheet Dagens Nyheter on Wednesday, calling for greater consensus to help tackle the problem more quickly.

They point out that Sweden's national authority for urban planning, construction and housing (Boverket) estimates that more than 700,000 homes need to be built by 2025, as the country's population swells faster than expected, partly due to rising immigration.

"The government has taken a series of decisions to make it faster, easier and cheaper to build homes," the ministers argue in their statement, saying that they want to further simplify building regulations and increase funding.

However they argue that political infighting is delaying decisions surrounding housing construction and call for more cooperation between the Social Democrat-Green coalition and the main opposition centre-right Alliance parties as well as Sweden's Left party. The nationalist Sweden Democrats were not mentioned in the letter.

"We need to put political deadlocks and conflicts aside. Let us debate the individual proposals but agree that the goal is to meet the need for new housing. To this end, the government is prepared to do whatever is necessary," the text continues.

The ministers also argue that there is "great potential in increased housing construction" in Sweden, including helping job creation and job mobility across the country as well as assisting the growth of Swedish companies across different regions.

Löfven addressed the housing issue during Sweden's first parliamentary debate of the year, which kicked off on Wednesday morning.

"Sweden needs investment, we need cooperation. (...) Together we'll build a stronger Sweden," he said.

However, it may be difficult for the two blocs to find common ground on housing. The centre-left tends to argue that building more rental apartments are the solution, while the centre-right instead favours deregulating Sweden's housing market.

Story continues below…

And Jan Björklund, head of the Liberals, one of the minor parties of the opposition, seemed to reject Löfven's proposal to work together across party lines in the parliamentary debate.

"There are two things missing in the Swedish housing market. That's housing and a market," he said.

The debate comes as as the country's coalition continues to struggle in opinion polls. Only around 33.5 percent of voters recently stated that they would back the Social Democrats or the Greens, compared to 39 percent who preferred the Alliance bloc.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Muslim man fired for not shaking women's hands
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A man is suing a local council in Sweden after he lost his job for refusing to shake hands with female colleagues.

Swedish bus driver who hit asylum seeker: 'I'm not racist'
The story has grabbed global headlines. Photo: Nobina

A Swedish bus driver caught on camera beating and kicking an asylum seeker has for the first time spoken to media.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Fancy a dip? If so, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

Man kicked off flight from Sweden over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A flight from Stockholm was delayed on Thursday after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

In pictures: Are Swedes falling in love with colour at last?
What happened to the Swedish greyscale? Photo: Linda Åhman

Antonia Wiklund of Houzz.se investigates why the Swedes are abandoning their sleek and clean interior design for vibrant colours.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish cold poached salmon
Cold poached salmon. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Poached salmon is a Swedish summer classic. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

This castle: yours for the price of a tiny flat
Hägerstads Castle: a tumultuous history. Photo: Skeppsholmen Sotheby's International Realty.

It has turrets, is set on a lake and is just 2 hours from Stockholm. So why's it so cheap?

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Blog updates

14 July

Boris Johnson: why Britain’s new foreign minister is cordially loathed (Globally Local) »

"There are lots of things to say about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary. He is…" READ »


11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
People-watching: July 15th-17th
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Terror attack: what should you do?
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
People-watching: July 13th
Swedes discover surprise mountain
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
People-watching: July 8th-10th
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
Watch Icelanders cheer their Swedish hero coach
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
jobs available