For the second year in a row the National Association of Homeowners has studied the living costs of families with children. This year’s figures show that a couple whose income is based on average trade union salaries would not be able to buy a small house in 270 of Sweden’s 290 districts.
If one of the parents ended up working only 75% of the time or became unemployed, they would not be able to afford a property anywhere in the country.
“We believe that blue-collar workers should be able to afford to live in their own house,” said the vice-director of the association, Elisabeth Österman.
“Unfortunately the research shows that it’s hard. The main problem is the property tax, which needs a fundamental rethink.”
Families in the Stockholm suburb of Danderyd face the highest housing costs at an average of 15,970 kronor per month. At the other end of the scale, a family in Ragunda pays an average of 4,045 kronor per month.
According to the report, housing expenses eat up between 16% and 58% of a trade union member family’s disposable income, compared to between 12% and 46% for a professional family.
But Elisabeth Österman says that it will only get worse in 2006.
“Next year the taxable values of properties will rise on average 23%, which will lead to a comparable increase in property tax,” she said.
“What’s more, the National Institute of Economic Research is anticipating an increase in interest rates of 2%. That means that the margins will be even smaller.”
The figures in the report were based on a mother, father and two children, where the parents were a transport worker and a child carer and made a 10% down-payment on a house with electric heating.