Over 1,000 housing companies were surveyed by Sveriges Radio (SR) about their housing queues and their average respective waiting times for would-be residents.
Almost 600 responded.
While Stockholm had the longest waiting times nationwide, with hopeful house hunters in queue for an average of over eight years for a first-hand rental contract, it wasn’t just the big cities that kept the applicants in the lurch.
In Kiruna and Gällivare, both in far northern Sweden, the average waiting time is between five and seven years. In Halmstad, southern Sweden, the wait is between six and seven years, and in Stenungsund near Gothenburg, the wait is over seven years.
Linköping, in central Sweden, has over 19,000 people waiting in line for an apartment.
Anna Wennerstrand, press officer at the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästsföreningen), explained that the situation isn’t improving.
“This housing situation has been a problem for a long time and it’s only getting worse. And while it’s definitely an issue for specific individuals around the country, it’s also a big societal problem – especially in terms of Sweden’s growth,” she told The Local.
She blamed the government for not building more houses, stating that it has been decades since anything has been done to alleviate the shortage.
“It’s especially difficult for people who are moving to Sweden as well as for younger people and students, and the government isn’t doing anything about it.”
The immediate solution, according to Wennerstrand, is to build more apartments specifically for would-be renters.
“The local politicians have the responsibility and the possibility to make a difference,” she said.
“But municipalities around Sweden don’t want people to move in, they prefer well-paid and well-educated residents, and as a result only provide houses that are available for purchase.”
While Wennerstrand claimed the shortage makes life “really, really, difficult” for anyone looking to find a place in Sweden, her advice remains the same for house hunters – regardless of their postcode.
“My advice is that you have to just keep looking,” she told The Local.
“Talk to your friends, network, and approach housing companies as much and as often as you can.”
Collectively, the companies surveyed by SR have over 2 million people on their waiting lists.