With its chilly winter climate, famously expensive restaurants and unfamiliar language, Sweden might not seem like the obvious place to move to or buy a holiday home in. But if you're paying in pounds or dollars, properties are up to 25 percent cheaper than they were a year ago.
Swedish properties offer owners the chance to enjoy some of Scandinavia's most pristine lakes and deep green forests alongside historic towns and villages. Plus Sweden has longer days and more sunlight than much of Europe during the summer months, when temperatures can regularly climb to 25C in the south, and even got up to 27.8C in Kiruna in the far north in 2014.
According to Johan Vesterberg, head of press for Sweden's largest estate agent, Fastighetsbyrån, with just a €100,000 budget “you can find a decent property in most parts of the country, it will just be a question of size”.
Meanwhile the chief economist at SBAB, the nation's state-owned mortgage broker has told The Local that foreign buyers should stay away from the coast and avoid the nation's major cities in order to get the very best bargains.
“Start looking 100 kilometres way from Stockholm,” said Tor Borg.
“Central Skåne in the south is a good bet for warmer weather, but for really cheap prices you should head north,” he said.
Factor in the generally high standard of maintenance and insulation in most Swedish homes and a much swifter and open buying
procedure than in the UK and the US and you're probably already starting to check your bank balance.
Potential buyers who have their bids accepted before August can also benefit from lower mortgage repayments, before new rules come into place later this year. But even the changing legislation does not require many home buyers in Sweden to pay back the entire sum they borrow, unlike in most other parts of Europe.
Here are six properties impartially selected by The Local to help you get inspired:
1. Danvikshagen, Oxelösund
Just a 20-minute drive from Stockholm Skavsta airport (which is actually about 100 kilometres south of Stockholm), you could
find yourself relaxing in the forest at this €95,000 (£69,230, $102,000, 895 000 kronor) property, which can comfortably sleep four people and is just a short spin away from several pretty beaches and harbours. While the closest town, Oxelösund, still feels fairly industrial thanks to its mining roots, nearby Norrköping and Nyköping offer charming cobbled streets and cute restaurants if you're in need of some civilization. Classified as a summer house, a type of property which can't always be lived in year-round in Sweden, potential buyers have the option to stay here during every season.
2. Nora-Skrikarhyttan, Nora
This immaculately decorated two-level four-bedroom family home could be yours for a total of €96,000 (£69,360, $103,000, 900,000 kronor). It is situated just 90 minutes by car from Stockholm's Västerås airport (100km north west of the Swedish capital). Nora is one of Sweden's best preserved wooden towns and is also famous for its freshly made ice cream. You'll also find a railway museum and an adventure park close by and easy road access to three of Sweden's largest lakes.
3. Delsjökolonin, Göteborg
On the outskirts of Sweden's second-largest city, Gothenburg, you can find some modest, yet beautiful holiday homes. Within
walking distance of prime swimming spot Delsjön Lake and just a 20-minute hire car or taxi journey from the city's main international airport, Landvetter, our property tip consists of two large rooms, a separate kitchen and a barbecue-ready veranda. The asking price is €106,518 (£76,950, $113,745, 995 000 kronor), but bidders of €100,000 or less could be in with a fighting chance.
4. Tegefjäll, Åre
Situated in one of Sweden's most popular skiing and hiking areas, this modern apartment in the north west of the country can
be enjoyed in both winter and summer. Åre is known for a cooler and more laid-back vibe than many other European resorts. While drinks are pricey and the mountains aren't as high as the Alps, there's less jostling for lifts and the chance to picnic on reindeer rugs over lunch. The Local's property choice here has two bedrooms and a large, cozy living area. You can fly to the closest airports – Åre Östersund and Trondheim Vaernes over the border in Norway – from numerous Scandinavian cities. Bids for this home start at €91,129 (£65,540, $96,418, 850,000 kronor).
5. Skåne Tranås, Tomelilla
Less than an hour's drive from Malmö airport and also easily accessible from Copenhagen, Tomelilla is less than 20 kilometres from the southern Swedish coast, and offers much cheaper deals than in nearby waterside locations. The Skåne Tranås region prides itself as a prime spot for bird watching and boasts some of Sweden's best beaches, cycle trails and Gyllebosjön, a popular swimming and fishing lake. We've picked a two-floor property with one large bedroom and two living areas, a separate shed or workhouse and a huge garden. The smart interior boasts polished wooden floors and a modern kitchen. It is priced at €74,512 (£53,607, $78,869, 695,000 kronor).
6. Vita, Luleå
Fancy being able to watch the northern lights from your own window? This two-bedroom home in Luleå, Sweden's most northerly major city, includes a log fire in a snug lounge and a newly-renovated bathroom. You can fly here from Stockholm in just one hour and 15 minutes. Winter activities in the region also include ice climbing, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing. Luleå is one of Sweden's sunniest places during summer, when it doesn't get dark until after midnight. Kayaking and hiking are among the most popular tourist pastimes during warmer weather. You could buy our property choice in this year-round nature playground for €83,045 (£59,832, $88,041, 775,000 kronor)
To see more stunning Swedish homes check out The Local's Property of the Week every Tuesday.
Thinking of moving to Sweden? Head to The Local Jobs, listing thousands of opportunities for English speakers.
Currency conversions calculated on April 13th and 14th 2014. Photos: Fastighetsbyrån