• Sweden's news in English
Housing crisis
Swedish PM: 'Stop arguing, start building'
PM Stefan Löfven in parliament on Wednesday. Photo: Christine Olsson/Jessica Gow/TT

Swedish PM: 'Stop arguing, start building'

TT/The Local · 13 Jan 2016, 12:18

Published: 13 Jan 2016 08:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2016 12:18 GMT+01:00

With queues for rent-controlled apartments pushing 20 years in some parts of Stockholm and property prices rising 14 percent across the country over the past 12 months or so, Sweden's housing crisis remains one of the most hotly debated topics in the Nordic nation.

After months of heated inter-party debates, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan penned a letter to their opponents, published in Swedish broadsheet Dagens Nyheter on Wednesday, calling for greater consensus to help tackle the problem more quickly.

They point out that Sweden's national authority for urban planning, construction and housing (Boverket) estimates that more than 700,000 homes need to be built by 2025, as the country's population swells faster than expected, partly due to rising immigration.

"The government has taken a series of decisions to make it faster, easier and cheaper to build homes," the ministers argue in their statement, saying that they want to further simplify building regulations and increase funding.

However they argue that political infighting is delaying decisions surrounding housing construction and call for more cooperation between the Social Democrat-Green coalition and the main opposition centre-right Alliance parties as well as Sweden's Left party. The nationalist Sweden Democrats were not mentioned in the letter.

"We need to put political deadlocks and conflicts aside. Let us debate the individual proposals but agree that the goal is to meet the need for new housing. To this end, the government is prepared to do whatever is necessary," the text continues.

The ministers also argue that there is "great potential in increased housing construction" in Sweden, including helping job creation and job mobility across the country as well as assisting the growth of Swedish companies across different regions.

Löfven addressed the housing issue during Sweden's first parliamentary debate of the year, which kicked off on Wednesday morning.

"Sweden needs investment, we need cooperation. (...) Together we'll build a stronger Sweden," he said.

However, it may be difficult for the two blocs to find common ground on housing. The centre-left tends to argue that building more rental apartments are the solution, while the centre-right instead favours deregulating Sweden's housing market.

Story continues below…

And Jan Björklund, head of the Liberals, one of the minor parties of the opposition, seemed to reject Löfven's proposal to work together across party lines in the parliamentary debate.

"There are two things missing in the Swedish housing market. That's housing and a market," he said.

The debate comes as as the country's coalition continues to struggle in opinion polls. Only around 33.5 percent of voters recently stated that they would back the Social Democrats or the Greens, compared to 39 percent who preferred the Alliance bloc.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Coeliac disease not caused by early weaning: Swedish study
Carin Andrén Aronsson now plans to investigate why Sweden has such high levels of coeliac disease. Photo: Polarbrod

Mothers who stop breastfeeding early are not to blame for their children developing gluten intolerance, a new Swedish study has found.

Zlatan look-a-like storms pitch as Man U take on champions
A grinning Zlatan pushed the man away with the palm of his hand. Photo: YouTube

Zlatan fever has hit the UK, with a look-a-like storming the pitch on Saturday only to be palmed off by the grinning Swedish football star.

Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
'Egor Putilov' had access to all areas of the Swedish parliament: Photo: Riksdag

A Russian-born political secretary for the Sweden Democrats has resigned after making six million kronor ($0.7m) in a property deal with a St Petersburg businessman.

Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Bruce Springsteen tells SVT talk show host that Trump is an 'embarrassment' to the US. Photo: SVT/Youtube

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has described Donald Trump as an embarrassment to the United States, in an interview on Sweden's Skavlan talk show.

'World class' developer told to leave Sweden over admin slip
Software developer Tayyab Shabab. Photo: Private

Tayyab Shabab has a house, a job and pays tax in Sweden, but he has now been told he must leave within three weeks.

Police release men held over bomb threat on refugee home
Police officers outside the building. Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT

UPDATED: Two men arrested after a bomb threat was made against a home for refugees in Boden, northern Sweden, have been allowed to leave custody.

Embassy: No-go zones 'do not exist in Sweden'
Police on the Serbian-Hungarian border. Photo: Sofia Eriksson/TT

Sweden's embassy in Budapest has sharply rebuked Hungary after an official leaflet claimed that Stockholm and other European cities had become "no-go areas".

The Local List
Ten reasons why it's awesome being knocked up in Sweden
Being pregnant in Sweden can be pretty great. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

US writer Lisa Ferland shares her top reasons why she thinks Sweden is wonderful for expecting mums.

The Local Recipe
Welcome in the autumn with this Swedish tiger cake
Tiger cake and coffee, the perfect combination. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Fika: the best part of the day. Make this tiger cake and you'll keep everyone very happy.

Four arrested over Gothenburg riots
File photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Four people have been arrested in connection with riots in a Gothenburg suburb this week.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
People-watching: September 21st
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »


23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
People-watching: September 14th
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
Shakib, 23, works and pays taxes — but will Sweden let him stay?
Watch this Swede roll his kayak without spilling his beer. Respect.
People-watching: September 7th
The Local Voices
'Swedes are polarized on refugees - it's the welcome mat or the exit door'
WATCH: Yes, this Swedish rising star really is Abba legend's grandson
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
jobs available