‘Harder than ever’ to get student flat in Stockholm

An influx of foreign students is one of the factors behind the worsening shortage of student housing in Stockholm, with only 15 percent of university students in the Swedish capital this autumn having been allocated a student flat.

“The demand for student housing this year is greater than ever. If you compare with the last few years, it’s increased. There is a significant difference now compared to five years ago,” said Anders Cronqvist of Stiftelsen Stockholms Studentbostäder (SSSB), the student housing foundation that owns many of the student apartments in the Stockholm area, to Sveriges Radio (SR).

Cronqvist explained that SSSB manages around 8,000 student-designated flats in the Swedish capital, but that only 4,000 of them are available for new tenants in any given year.

Meanwhile, there are more than 80,000 university students studying in Stockholm.

According to Cronqvist, there are three main reasons for the Stockholm student housing crunch.

“The cohorts for these years are quite large at the moment which means more people are studying,” he said.

“There is also a tough job market for young people so there a lot of people that instead choose to study and a third reason is that we have a lot of foreign students.”

While in the past, students seeking housing in the Lappkärrsberget area near Stockholm University would have to wait three months, now the wait is at least two years.

While SSSB wants to build more student flats, efforts to do so are often scuttled due to higher bids for projects to build standard tenant-owner apartments (bostadsrätter).

However, Cronqvist is hopeful that politicians will take action following continued attention on Stockholm’s lack of student housing.

“We feel like the politicians are listening to us,” he told SR.

Last autumn, Sweden’s housing minister Stefan Attefall argued that students should avoid enrolling in universities in the country’s large cities where student housing in scarce.

The stance drew criticism from Stockholm politicians and business groups who accused Attefall of threatening Stockholm’s chances of remaining a leading, knowledge-based city.

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