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Swede endures 28-year wait for Stockholm flat

The Local · 28 Mar 2013, 11:40

Published: 28 Mar 2013 11:40 GMT+01:00

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Strandvägen is one of the grandest streets in Stockholm. The long boulevard sweeping from Berzelli park along the harbour to the entrance of the Djurgården boasts deluxe hotels and luxury homes.

One of the apartments, right by the bridge leading to Djurgården, will soon be the home to a 64-year-old woman who was more patient than most.

After she joined the queue in 1985 at the age of 36, she is set to take over the home for a monthly rent of 9,320 kronor ($1,430), according to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

According to several experts, decades-long waits for rental flats are all too common in Stockholm.

"Well, 28 years is a very long time indeed, and these kinds of stories underline that there is a problem in Stockholm," Anders Konradsson of the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen) told The Local.

"If you want an apartment in Stockholm, especially on a street like Strandvägen, you're in for a wait. The problem is that there simply aren't enough apartments here."

SEE ALSO: Find your next home with The Local’s Rentals Section

For foreigners moving to Sweden, Konradsson explained that the best bet is to get talking and keep talking.

"If you want a nice apartment in Sweden you have to be prepared to either pay a lot or wait. But if you're in a hurry for some reason and want something reasonably priced, get talking to landlords and try to rent something second hand. Write to them, talk to them, and don't forget to check sites like [Swedish buy/sell site] Blocket," he said.

"It's quite tough, but I can't see any other way."

There are currently over 400,000 people waiting on Stockholm's housing queues, more than ever before. Since the start of the year, almost 15,000 people have joined.

These patient house-hunters have to pay an annual 225 kronor fee, however roughly 80 percent of these people have already arranged a living situation.

SEE ALSO: Check out the latest home listings in The Local’s Property Section

Experts at Swedish real estate agency Fastighetsbyrån agree that a 28-year wait is pushing the limit.

Story continues below…

"I wouldn't even recommend waiting in the housing queue myself," Johan Vesterberg, head of PR at the estate agency, told The Local.

"It's better to try and rent something directly from the owner, try that out for a while, get used to the city, then just buy something if you can manage."

"Of course, in this story it seems like the woman got the place of her dreams - and it could always happen - but a 28-year wait is a long time indeed."

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:16 March 28, 2013 by ivey007
Who gives up an apartment in that sort of location? Well, I think that is one of the issues, I have heard their are lots of wealthy people "occupying" properties in Stockholm, but not even using them.
12:18 March 28, 2013 by engagebrain
'and try to rent something second hand'

which is almost certainly not legal.

A rental flat is not yours to sublet it is yours to live in, if you don't live in it give up the contract and shorten the queues.
12:50 March 28, 2013 by bobthedog
This is a misleading story; no way did the woman wait homeless for 28 years, She probably bought and sold any number of bostadsrätt during that period, thereby cashing in on the rise in property prices and getting a rent controlled apratment at the end of it. The guy from the Hyresrättsföreningen is talking out his arse as usual, money doesn't help if you stay legal; that's the whole problem with the housing market in Stockholm.
13:05 March 28, 2013 by Abe L
#3 - Right on, that is usually what happens.

The problem in Stockholm are people like this woman. If you're 64 years old what are you doing at such a location? Make it available to those living in the area so they live closer to work. It's better for everyone, the environment and it reduces commuting congestion.
13:51 March 28, 2013 by Opinionfool
So the complaint is she waited for an apartment in one of the swankiest areas of Stockholm. Real investigative journalism there. If it were 28 years waiting to rent an abode in one of the worst areas of the city then this story would have credence and relevance as it is, it doesn't.
16:16 March 28, 2013 by downtown1999
I don't get it. I recently moved here from the US and about 6 months later bought a great place and moved in. Why could I do that but all these other people are waiting? Sounds strange. 28 years?
17:32 March 28, 2013 by jjoensuu
yea "downtown1999" but I do not think this lady's apartment was a "bostadsrätt" but a "hyresrätt" (meaning you should not have to pay a purchase fee like in a condo).

On another hand long waiting times have been a norm since like 80's
19:57 March 28, 2013 by downtown1999
Thanks. My Swedish is not so good so I do not understand the terms you used. Can't you either buy a place like I did or just find a nice rental apartment building, sign a lease and move in. It should be pretty easy, no? Is there more to it than that?
22:07 March 28, 2013 by Emerentia
@ downtown1999 Yes, but it's very, very hard to find a nice rental apartment buildning in Stockholm. A lot of people wants to live here and there isn´t enough apartments for everybody. If you just could find one you like and sign a lease and move in, the rent would be a _lot higher_ than 9,320 kronor ($1,430) for a 3-room apartment on Strandvägen. Just find a nice rental apartment building, sign a lease and move in you can do in a small town, but not in Stockholm.
22:59 March 28, 2013 by EmployedProfessional
Here are some facts;

I had a home in the countryside for many years.

I also had no problem renting(with option to buy) an apartment in NYC.

I sold the house when I decided to move to Stockholm permenantly.

I soon after bought a place soon after my partner showed signs of usung me,sexing others,you know how it works in this culture,hehe!,as they say:)

If you have assets,you will always find a way to make it here,if not,you will be sucked or f"##ked to death by the locals until you become invisible( unattractive).

Hey,it's just a fact,you are not interesting when you don't wan't buy buy a Swede another beer.

get a clue early in the evening!
19:00 March 29, 2013 by tekstrom
Everyone knows why the queue is so long - people pay under the table. It is simple, why not talk about it? It is supposed to be legal to "buy" a hyresrätt this way, but it is illegal to "sell" a hyresräatt this way. Go figure! No one wants to talk about it when I ask for explanations. As long as you "trade" it is OK.

Can anyone elucidate?
21:30 March 29, 2013 by biliousbob
I am out in Sollentuna with friends right now. Loads of new condos/apartments right by the train station. Tons of them. But there all tiny. 4-5 levels high. Why bother? If you're going to build, why not build it to the sky. If there's a housing crunch, build big ass buildings, rent them out, make a fortune, everybody wins.

I just came from an area of Washington, DC called Ballston and real estate companies are putting up 30-40 story apartments one after aother as far as the eye can see. Why not here? These guys are making a killing and there's cheap housing everywhere. It makes no sense that there's all this demand and nobody creating supply.
12:05 March 30, 2013 by tekstrom
People want to live in Stockholm because it is a beautiful city. What you suggest, would destroy it.
14:18 March 30, 2013 by juicyjuice
Agree. But Sollentuna is not a beautiful city. Mälmvägen is a dump. So are many of the closer suburbs.
15:15 March 31, 2013 by AfroSwede
@Tekstrom, whats your own definition of beauty? How can you call Stockholm a beautiful city with underdeveloped housing market that forces an old lady to stay on a queue for 28 years just to get an apartment?
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