“You have to deprioritize some stuff. What's the point of kitchen towel paper when the loo roll is two metres away?” student Sofie Melander told the magazine Hem&Hyra (Home&Rent) about life in a student loft that measures 20 square metres in central Stockholm.
The towering monolith she calls home is among the closest you'll get to a skyskraper in Stockholm. The building once housed the Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and is universally known as Skatteskrapan (The Tax Skyscraper). It was converted to compact-living student flats five years ago.
But the student housing costs more than a nickel and a dime. Melander's rent is 4,560 kronor ($700) a month, which covers neither electricity nor broadband.
Hem&Hyra magazine has drawn up a map of the priciest student housing in Sweden – four of them are in Stockholm. On average, across the capital, a student faces an annual bill of 2,000 kronor per square metre. Just 100 kilometres west of Stockholm, a student living in a studio faces a monthly bill that is a slim one quarter of the price in the capital's priciest digs.
The cheapest student studio was found in Kronoparken, in the student town Karlstad in central Sweden.
The top end of the list, however, was dominated by Stockholm, Solna, Borås and Helsingborg. In Helsingborg, two properties made the top ten: the Design hostel & apartment, and Haga studentbostäder. Two spots in Borås also qualified: Byttorpshörn and Ärlan. Strandparken in Halmstad and Centrum väster in Jönköping were also among the most expensive.
Stockholm's neighbouring municipality Solna, which Hem&Hyra has included as housing in the capital, made it onto the list with Kungshamra and Pax student housing, Stockholm itself had Skatteskrapan and Kattrumpstullen on the list.
In Stockholm's Skatteskrapan, Melander told Hem&Hyra that she had to top up her student grant and loan by working a day and a half a week to make enough to pay the rent.
“I'm studying humanities, so it's OK, but if I was enrolled in a technical course at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), it would have been impossible.”
Per Dahlbeck, spokesman for the company that owns the building, said the students got a lot of bang for their buck – not only the central location on Stockholm's Södermalm island, but access to shops, a library and a gym under the same roof.
“It's a unique building at a fantastic location,” he said. “The pulse of the inner city and accessibility are two things that students are on the lookout for.”