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How much does it cost to rent in Sweden?

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How much does it cost to rent in Sweden?
Vaxholm in the Stockholm archipelago is one of the priciest spots for Swedish renters. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT
11:14 CEST+02:00
The price of a first-hand rental saw only a modest increase over the past year, new figures show, but there are stark differences between Sweden's municipalities.

On average, rent prices have increased by 1.1 percent over the past 12 months, and another increase is expected for the coming year.

That's according to the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen), which measured rental costs across the country to find out how much it costs to rent first hand, based on figures from Statistics Sweden.

Since 2000, the average year-on-year rise has been 1.7 percent. This is higher than inflation rises over the same period, but has been kept relatively low by low interest rates and small tax increases.

However, the cost of renting varies significantly from region to region.

Monthly rent costs twice as much in the most expensive municipality – Täby in northern Stockholm – as it does in the cheapest area, Fagersta in Västmanland. In Fagersta, first-hand renters pay on average only 63 kronor per square metre per month, while that figure rises to 118 kronor per square metre in Täby.

The five most expensive municipalities for a first-hand rental were all located in Stockholm county, with Vaxholm, Haninge, Nykvarn and Nacka all setting renters back between 109-111 kronor per square metre each month.

At the other end of the scale, Bjurholm in Västerbotten County boasts the second cheapest rentals, followed by Norsjö in Västerbotten, Tibro in Västra Götaland, and Storuman in Västerbotten.

LONG READ: The story of Sweden's housing crisis

In general, lower rents can be found in rural inland areas, with prices creeping up in university towns or large cities as well as along Sweden's coastlines, where demand for housing is much higher. Another factor that pushes up rents is large-scale building of new accommodation and/or renovations of older rental properties.

Prices rose the most over the last year in Nykvarn, Haninge, Lidingö and Östermalm, all in Stockholm county, as well as in Svenljunga in Västra Götaland, with the high level of new housing in these areas the key factor. In these municipalities, monthly rents rose by an average of between 7.37 percent (Lidingö) and 17.2 percent (Nykvarn).

In urban areas, there was a large difference between the expensive rents in central areas and more affordable prices in the suburbs. This gap was particularly large in Stockholm, where monthly rents were an average of 130 kronor per square metre in the central Kungsholmen district, compared to 80 kronor per square metre in Spånga-Tensta north of the centre.

"Rental negotiations are currently under way for 2019 and the Swedish Union of Tenants is working to streamline the negotiations and continue the work of digitizing and making available the negotiation results at a local and national level," said Erik Elmgren, the union's negotiations manager.

The full interactive map can be viewed online here.

However, the high demand for housing means that for many people in Sweden, a first-hand rental contract is out of the question altogether. Sweden's residents must join a queue system to be eligible for one of these elusive rent-controlled properties, and in popular areas the average length of time before they can actually get their hands on such an apartment is several years.

This means that new arrivals from abroad, or people who have relocated within Sweden, are especially unlikely to find a first-hand rental. Instead, they often sublet, also known as renting second-hand – but as The Local reported earlier this month, rents in this category have risen even more sharply over recent years.

FOR MEMBERS: How to navigate Sweden's crazy rental market

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