Over half a million now waiting for apartments in Stockholm

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Over half a million now waiting for apartments in Stockholm
Renting an apartment in Stockholm is a challenging task. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A reminder of the Swedish capital’s housing crisis has been served by the latest figures from Stockholm’s Housing Agency (Bostadsförmedlingen), which show that the number of people waiting to rent an apartment through them grew by almost 40,000 in 2016.

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That brings the total number of people in Bostadsförmedlingen’s waiting list for an apartment up to 556,000 people – seven times more than were on the list 15 years ago, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reports.

At the same time, the number of rental contracts the agency signed off on reduced compared to 2015. If apartments reserved for the likes of students and pensioners are excluded, and only standard long-term rental agreements are taken into account, only 6,900 new apartment rentals were brokered by the agency during 2016, compared to around 8,100 in 2015.

At that pace, it would take almost 50 years for all of the 556,000 people on the waiting list to earn a standard long-term contract, known as a "first hand" contract in Sweden.

“The trend has been going on for a long time. The housing queue grows by an average of 8-9 percent annually. During 2016 some housing companies said they had to do major renovations, and released fewer apartments,” Bostadsförmedlingen marketing head Marika Nordström told SvD.

The dreaded waiting time for a precious first hand lease is growing, with the average wait increasing by a year in 2016. The waiting time for an apartment in Stockholm County is now 9.1 years as a result. For an apartment in the city centre, it increased to 13.5 years.

Of those looking to find an apartment through the Housing Agency’s waiting list, 85 percent live in Stockholm County. Bostadsförmedlingen emphasized that many in the queue are not actively looking for an apartment.


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