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Swedish summer homes a hit with foreigners

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Swedish summer homes a hit with foreigners
11:24 CEST+02:00
The number of foreigners who own summer houses in Sweden has doubled since 2000, with Danes, Germans and Norwegians taking the lead in purchasing a Swedish smultronställe for their families.

In 2012, more than 36,000 of Sweden's vast stock of summer cottages had gone into foreign ownership. Almost 12,000 Danes have bought a second home across the Östersund strait.

Germans and Norwegians are the second and third most common foreign owners of holiday homes in Sweden, with about 10,000 nationals of each country opting to purchase a Swedish countryside cottage.

Only 12.1 percent of the remaining foreign owners of holiday homes were from other countries, according to figures released on Monday by Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån - SCB).

In the Swedish counties of Skåne, Kronoberg, and Värmland, foreigners now own almost half of the summer houses. Skåne is across the sea from Denmark, while Värmland borders Norway. In the municipality of Markaryd, foreigners now own 59 percent of holiday homes (fritidshus) in the area.

It was long very common for Swedes to own a second home (fritidshus or sommarstuga) where they spent large parts of their summer holidays, with many employees taking out leave in July. As Sweden has climbed upwards in the income tables, however, many citizens have opted out of spending chunks of holiday time at their domestic smultronställe ("wild strawberry spot" - a Swedish expression for a place special to your heart).

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Statistics Sweden said that the number of foreign summer house owners had increased by 99 percent since the turn of the century, with purchases from Norwegians and Danes increasing the most.

"One reason could be increased transport links with two bridges," Statistics Sweden noted in a statement.

"The Öresundsbron bridge to Denmark opened in the year 2000 while the Svinesundsbron bridge between Norway and Sweden was inaugurated five years later."

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The number of Norwegians spending part of their holidays in Swedish cottages had gone up by 292 percent since the year 2000; the Danish summer residents increased by 164 percent.

The spread of summer-house ownership also showed certain preferences for the different groups.

"The further north you get, the fewer foreign-owned summer houses," noted Statistics Sweden.

"The Norwegians mostly go for counties bordering Norway, such as Västra Götaland and Värmland, but they have started to find their way to Jämtland."

TT/The Local/at

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