Priced out of the housing market? Not in Kramfors

For the price of a two bedroom flat on the exclusive island of Lidingö, near Stockholm, you could buy 95 similar apartments in Nyland, near Kramfors in Northern Sweden – and wave goodbye to traffic wardens and childcare queues in the process.

A survey by the Föreningssparbanken property agency found that a two bedroom flat on Lidingö cost 1.9 million kronor while a similar sized property in Nyland cost only 20,000 kronor.

A single room apartment in Nyland was 10,000 kronor. A similar apartment in Stockholm sells for an average of 850,000 kronor – 85 times the price.

While it’s pretty unlikely that you would be able to find 85 apartments for sale in Nyland, if you fancy something with a bit more elbow room, estate agents were advertising a “tastefully renovated” 3 bedroom house near Kramfors with 137 square metres of living space and nearly 4,000 square metres of garden.

Near the river and with open fires and its own carpentry workshop, the house was on the market for 295,000 kronor. In central Stockholm the same money would get you slightly less than one third of a studio flat in Vasastan.

Tempted to jack in the big smoke and up sticks to Kramfors? Well, you should be, says Kramfors Council’s Anna-Karin Nordin, whose job it is to help people move to the town.

The biggest selling point apart from price, she says, is Kramfors’ natural beauty: the town is situated on the dramatic and beautiful High Coast, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. But Kramfors also has plenty of practical advantages.

“Children’s charity Bris named us the most child-friendly place in Sweden,” says Nordin.

“Here there are no queues for childcare, and no traffic wardens. And when the new Botnia railway line opens in a couple of years, we’ll be just four hours from Stockholm.” The town also has four flights a day to the capital.

But what about working – isn’t it hard to start a business up there?

Not at all, says Nordin: Kramfors was named as one of the five most business-friendly places in Norrland – and 29th most business-friendly in Sweden – by credit agency UC in a survey last month.

Many parts of Northern Sweden have faced depopulation in recent years, with younger people moving to bigger cities and the average age of the remaining population increasing. But councils and business leaders in towns like Kramfors are now working to reverse the trend, and most areas have programmes to attract new businesses and inhabitants to Norrland.

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