Swedish MPs less likely than voters to rent

Swedish MPs less likely than voters to rent
Sixteen percent of Swedish parliamentarians rent their homes, with critics claiming the imbalance could explain the "owning bias" of recent years' tax reforms. About one in three Swedes rent.

"Not only does the state annually put aside 40 billion kronor ($6 billion) on home ownership through tax deductible interest rates and household services (Rut and Rot) and the like, but one also taxes rental properties (hyresrätter) much more harshly than co-operative apartments (bostadsrätter)," Rental Tenants Association (Hyresgästföreningen) chairwoman Barbro Engman told the members magazine Hem&Hyra. 

While one in three people in Sweden rent their home, the equivalent figure for the parliamentarians was less than one in five (16 percent). 

"I suspect that lowered taxes on home ownership these last few years were easier to pass in a Riksdag where most people live in co-op flat or in houses," said Reinhold Lennebo, CEO of the Swedish Property Federation (Fastighetsägarna).

The Hem&Hyra magazine review found that three in five MPs live in a house, whether that be a town house, a villa, or a cottage in the countryside. Centre Party politicians were the most likely to live in a house, while the Left Party parliamentarians were the least likely to do so. 

The location of the MPs' homes was also scrutinized. None live in any of the fifteen neighbourhoods in Sweden that the government have identified as the areas with the most socio-economic challenges in Sweden.

Four percent of MPs said, however, that they considered their home address to be in a "socially vulnerable" area. 

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