Stockholm housing list could get world record

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Stockholm housing list could get world record
Stockholm, where the average wait for an apartment is 8.4 years. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/TT

UPDATED: The queue for a first hand rental contract in Stockholm is now so long that a Swedish politician is trying to get the city into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016.


The accolade of ‘the world’s longest waiting list’ probably isn’t one that city officials will be excited to shout about.

But if one opposition Liberal Party politician has his way, Stockholm’s housing crisis will score the Nordic capital a spot in the next edition of the famous record book.

“It is unreasonable that we have this housing waiting list,” he told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper on Wednesday.

He said that he had formally submitted an application to the people who compile the Guinness Book of World Records, adding: “I think I will get an answer in a few weeks.”

Half a million people are in the City of Stockholm’s official queue for both public and private rent-controlled accommodation.

The average wait for a property is more than eight years, rising to two decades in some of the most sought-after areas.

This has resulted in a highly competitive subletting market emerging, while at the same time the cost of both renting via individual private landlords or buying a home in Stockholm has shot up.

Hannah told Expressen that he had entered the city into the record books “for the simple reason that we are in an extreme housing crisis”.

“Oslo. Helsinki. Berlin. Amsterdam. Brussels - one week maximum to get a rental contract. In Stockholm it takes 8.4 years! It’s an unreasonable situation threatening many young people’s futures,” he said.

The MP, whose party was part of the Alliance coalition that formed Fredrik Reinfeldt’s previous centre-right government, argued that politicians needed reflect on how the housing crisis had evolved.

“There are 350,000 young people who have no home of their own (…) because of the laws and rules that we politicians have set up. Therefore, we in the Liberal Party have been a little self-critical and we want to move towards a change in the system we have today.”

GUIDE: How to steer Sweden's crazy rental market

Stockholm is the fastest-growing city in Europe, with the city's population expected to top one million in the next five years amid record immigration.

Sweden’s current Social Democrat-Green coalition recently promised to set aside 5.5 billion kronor ($665m) for various housing projects across the country in what Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson described as the "biggest housing political investment in 20 years in Sweden". 

Stockholm's business community also appears to be pulling together to try and ease the crisis, with a focus on helping foreigners to find accommodation.

Julika Lamberth, Business Development Manager for Stockholm Business Region, a state-funded company working to increase investment in the city, told The Local last week that the organisation was stepping up efforts to link tech firms with local municipalties and real estate companies in the area.

"We are a facilitator and we can connect interesting players together (...) to make it easier for international companies to continue to attract international talent."

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