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Revealed: The state of Sweden's housing shortage

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Revealed: The state of Sweden's housing shortage
Recently built homes in Malmö, southern Sweden. Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se
08:56 CEST+02:00
More than 80 percent of Sweden's municipalities face a shortage of housing, according to a new report. But do the figures exaggerate the problem?

A total of 240 of Sweden's 290 municipalities, or 83 percent, said there was a local housing shortage in the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning's (Boverket) annual report. Despite being a high figure, it was down on the record peak of 255 municipalities two years earlier. 

The biggest demand was for rental accommodation (hyresrätter), according to the municipalities' assessments. Many of the municipalities said that a lot of people in need of housing were unable to move into the accommodation available, due to high production costs and recently tightened rules on how much individuals can borrow from banks.

"The offering should be more varied," said Boverket community planner Marie Sand.

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Only four municipalities reported a surplus of housing, and of those which said they had sufficient housing to respond to the need, the largest was home to 60,000 people.

Young people and those who had recently arrived in Sweden were among the most severely affected by the shortage, according to Boverket, but it did note there had been "a sharp increase" in the amount of student housing being built.

"The housing situation for new arrivals is still very strained, although the situation has stabilized somewhat," the report stated. "In three years, the number of municipalities that judge that there is a shortage of housing for newly arrived people has decreased from 272 municipalities to 221."

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The Swedish Property Federation (Fastighetsägarna) has been critical of Boverket's surveys however, arguing that the way they are carried out is problematic and that they risk important questions in judging housing provision.

"[Boverket's surveys] look too unilaterally at the need, and not the demand for housing," said Martin Lindvall, head of social policy at the organization.

"In many municipalities, housing is being built that many residents can't afford. Many municipalities also do a calculation based on the desire for the municipality to grow, so the need is [judged to be] greater than it actually is," he told TT. "People overstate the housing shortage."

IN DEPTH: The story of Sweden's housing crisis

 

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