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The rental market in Stockholm is highly regulated, with a long waiting list. Property prices in Stockholm are high and are generally considered to be overvalued.
Most expats rent accommodation in Stockholm and leverage their network of local friends to find a place to stay in the city. Subletting is very common, but downsides include having to relocate when the short sublet contract is over, so expats taking this route may end up having to move multiple times a year.
Types of accommodation in Stockholm
Apartments are the most common form of expat housing for people living in Stockholm. Most apartments are unfurnished, but basics such as bathroom and kitchen fittings are provided.
Finding larger houses will prove more difficult, especially in the city centre. Family-friendly accommodation can be found in the outlying suburbs of Stockholm.
Finding accommodation in Stockholm
Kungsholmen and Södermalm are popular areas for expats in Stockholm. Buildings in the city centre are generally historical and have height restrictions, so depending on the area, many have been renovated.
How close a property is to the public transport network is an important factor to consider when looking for an apartment in Stockholm. This is largely due to the tough winter conditions and expensive costs associated with driving, parking and fuel in the city.
Expats can browse online property portals and local newspapers for listings. Where possible, expats should make use of their personal network to find accommodation, and try to get local friends to spread the word that they are looking. Of course, real-estate agents are another avenue, whose expertise and knowledge of the area often prove quite useful in the complicated quagmire of Sweden's rental market.
Renting accommodation in Stockholm
There is a general housing shortage in Sweden, but this is especially the case in Stockholm. Locals often find it more economical to live in their own homes than rent them out to tenants, although subletting is common.
Many of the rental properties in Stockholm are obtained through the Housing Service. A house-hunter pays the Housing Service to allocate available housing to them, based on a set of preferences they provide the service with. There is usually a long waiting list, however, which means that some tenants opt to rent directly from private landlords at inflated prices.
This leads to its own challenges, however, as unscrupulous landlords may try to get tenants to make a down payment before they have even seen the property in person, use the high level of competition to inflate the rental prices they originally quoted and then increase rents above market levels for furnished apartments.
To avoid some of the pitfalls of the Stockholm rental market, expats are advised to use only reputable online property portals, act quickly if they identify a property they are interested in and sign up to the Housing Service waiting list. It can take years to find a property through official channels, but it usually pays off in the long run.
Given how complicated renting property in Sweden can be, it may be in an expat’s best interest to work through a real-estate professional. Many expats who are certain that they will be staying in Sweden for a long period of time choose to buy property in Stockholm.
It is very common to pay one month’s rent as a deposit. Common practice is also to give three months’ notice when moving out, so expats should be prepared and make sure to read the lease terms and conditions carefully before signing.
Home insurance often covers registered residents of the property; it is important to ask to see the coverage. Utilities are typically included in the rental amount and can include electricity, water and internet.
Buying property in Stockholm
Buying property in Stockholm is a popular option for those experiencing difficulty locating a rental and who plan on staying for a while. The bidding process is quite simple and the contract is not binding until it is signed in person.
Financing is readily available for those with a permanent job and who have at least 15 percent of the purchase price in down payment money. Amortisation is required for those with a mortgage of less than 25 percent.
The apartments in Stockholm are very competitive and prices are high compared to the suburbs.
The interest charged on home loans in Sweden is tax deductible and the rebate is paid at the end of the tax year. This creates incentives to purchase a more expensive apartment.
►See Accommodation in Sweden for more on moving to the country
►For more on settling in Stockholm, see Education and Schools in Sweden
"The standard of accommodation is excellent throughout the city. I would recommend expats make use of sites such as Blocket, which is a sort of Swedish Craigslist. Facebook groups are also useful, but word of mouth probably works best. So, those expats with friends or acquaintances in the city should definitely make use of them to get the word out that they’re house hunting." Read more of Steve's thoughts on expat life in Stockholm.
Are you an expat living in Stockholm?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Stockholm. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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