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APARTMENT

Swedish flat prices continue upward climb

Apartment prices in Sweden have risen 10 percent overall in the last quarter compared with the same period in 2009, new real estate statistics reveal.

Swedish flat prices continue upward climb

Apartment prices have also risen at the same pace in the last quarter in central Gothenburg compared with a year ago, according to sales statistics from real estate companies Fastighetsbyrån and Svensk Fastighetsförmedling and the Association of Real Estate Agents (Mäklarsamfundet).

The figures are published on the Mäklarstatistik real estate statistics website.

“The housing market for the country as a whole can be described as stable, especially regarding house prices. However, there are regional differences with discrepancies going both up and down,” Peeter Pütsep, CEO of Svensk Fastighetsförmedling, said in a statement.

“Apartment prices in central Stockholm and Gothenburg are now back at 2007’s peak levels. Apartment prices tend to fluctuate more than house prices.”

House prices across the country grew 1 percent in September compared with the previous month, with an average home costing 2.21 million kronor ($337,000).

“The parliamentary elections, mortgage lending ceiling, and interest rate hikes appear not to have affected house prices in any significant way so far. As for the mortgage ceiling effect, we need to wait a couple months to see if and how it has affected prices,” said Pütsep.

While the prices of apartments remained flat overall across the country between August and September, prices rose 2 percent in central and greater Stockholm, 1 percent in central Gothenburg and 2 percent in greater Gothenburg. In central Malmö, prices rose 5 percent, but remained flat in greater Malmö.

The price per square metre for a flat in central Stockholm has reached 56,152 kronor, 34,113 kronor in greater Stockholm, 36,765 kronor in central Gothenburg, 23,713 kronor in greater Gothenburg, 21,133 kronor in central Malmö and 18,025 kronor in greater Malmö.

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HOUSING

INTERVIEW: International students ‘vulnerable’ to Swedish housing shortages

People moving to Malmö to study now have to wait as long as a year to receive accommodation, Milena Milosavljević, the president of the Student Union in the city, has told The Local. The situation, she says, is "urgent and acute".

INTERVIEW: International students 'vulnerable' to Swedish housing shortages

The Sofa Project, run by the Student Union Malmö, received 80 applications this year from students who wanted to rent short-term accommodation, showing just how acute the current housing shortage is.

These 80 applicants were vying for one of seven spots, ranging from a spare room to a sofa bed – from hosts who sign up to offer their spaces to new arrivals.  As the programme only had seven hosts registered this year, the project had to close its application page to others, otherwise the number would have surpassed 80.

“They are ready to come to Malmö and sleep on a sofa bed at a stranger’s house before they find accommodation,” Milosavljević told The Local. 

Malmö recently received a red designation from the Swedish National Union of Students, which publishes an annual report assessing the housing situation in university towns and cities across Sweden. A red designation means that finding suitable accommodation as a student takes more than one semester. The report found that 61 percent of students live in a city that has been designated a red ranking.

READ ALSO: Sweden’s student union warns that housing shortages are back this semester

“The reality of Malmö and the reason why it became red is that to find suitable accommodation you have to wait up to a year,” Milosavljević said.

Some individuals, she said might have to wait up to three years to find their own accommodation, making do with second-hand contracts, long commutes, and living with family members in the meantime. For newly-arrived international students, who lack personal numbers when they move here and so cannot join Swedish housing queues, looking for suitable housing becomes a complex task.

“International students are more vulnerable because they don’t have a personal number to enter the system before they come to Sweden,” Milosavljević explained.

Milosavljević herself moved to Malmö as an international, fee-paying student. Because she paid tuition, she was offered housing by Malmö University. Based in part on her own experience, Milosavljević explained that the housing issue cannot be reduced to a shortage in the number of flats and rooms. There is also a shortage of appropriate housing options for different needs.

“They offered me accommodation in a student building,” she said. “Not an apartment, but a room – and I came with my husband. The room was not enough for two of us.”

Student accommodation must accommodate the different needs of different members of the student body, Milosavljević said, including those who move with partners or spouses, or even with their children.

In the past year, one new student apartment building was built in Malmö, with 94 new spaces for the city’s student body. This is inadequate, Milosavljević said. While Malmö is growing, and there is residential construction being carried out around the city, it is unclear how many of those new buildings will prioritise the city’s student population.

The city’s student population, too, is growing. As the pandemic era ended in Sweden, students returned to campus. And new students joined them. While student ranks grew, housing options remained stagnant.

“From our perspective from the Student Union, we have talked about, in the previous years, how the situation after the pandemic is going to get even worse for the students,” Milosavljević said. “There’s an increase of students coming back, new students, and already not even enough housing.”

Milosavljević has fielded calls and emails from students who say that they cannot move to Malmö because they cannot find housing.

“They are already working on it,” Milosavljević told The Local of the university’s response.

There are plans to create more housing for international students, but these proposals focus mainly on students from European Union, leaving other international students out. All international students should be given priority for student accommodation, Milosavljević said, because none of them have access to the Swedish housing market.

“I do believe strongly that the City of Malmö and Malmö University need to have urgent negotiations and start building straight away,” she said.

Because Malmö University is a public university, it must follow the lead of the Ministry of Education and Research. Milosavljević acknowledged that in the aftermath of Sweden’s recent elections, which put the right-bloc in power, student housing shortages might not rank highly on a list of national priorities.

“The Student Union Malmö considers this situation quite urgent and acute,” Milosavljević said. “We are more than prepared to sit down and talk so we can actually do something, instead of just having meetings. The students will continue to suffer if the living conditions and the bostad [housing] situation in Malmö is not improved.”

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