Welcome to the Stockholm Accommodation WikiEdit
Finding a room, an appartment or a house in Stockholm is very difficult when you move to the city.
Prices are high and the rules of the accommodation market may seem bizarre at first.
This wiki is supposed to collect and provide valuable information to all those who come to Sweden's capital to live here, temporarily or permanently.
Stockholm is Scandinavia's largest city and attracts people from all of Sweden and the whole world. During the last decades the influx of people has always been larger than the construction activity. Thus the housing situation gets gradually worse: real estate prices rise and rental appartments are more and more difficult to get.
Some simple guidelines Edit
- Think small: if you come from a country where spaceous flats are easily attainable you should lower your expectations. For inner-city flats you should be extremely happy with about 25 square meters per person, much smaller, shared rooms are not unusual.
- Extend your range: inner-city accommodation is mostly expensive and comes with other drawbacks. The average stockholmer lives further away in less touristy and posh places. Public transport is very extensive in Stockholm. So take places in consideration which are further away.
- Be quick: When money or queue time is not on your side, you have to be quick whenever a new ad comes up.
- Search parallely: there is no single road for success. Try all ways you can find.
- Take whatever you can get: when you are new to the city, take every opportunity you can get as there might be no second one anytime soon.
- Expect to move: getting a decent place in this area is like a career. You start out small and improve on every step. So you have to move a couple of times until you have reached a sufficient level.
Or simply: lower your standards, be quick and try everything. But be aware: Don't pay anything in advance if you are not sure who you are dealing with.
Where to start Edit
Of course you should try every thinkable way, but when you are about to move to Stockholm from somewhere outside of Sweden, you should start at Andrahand. You shouldn't look for a permanent solution, but for one which gets you through the first months.
Students should also try Studentbostad for exclusive student accommodation. But remember: a huge number of new students comes every summer to Stockholm, and those who come from Sweden have certain advantages. So your primary objective in the months May-September should be to find anything at all.
Most Swedes speak English well. However, the huge majority of websites relevant for the accommodation search is in Swedish.
To use these websites you should learn some terms. A list of relevant vocabulary can be found on the page Swedish Vocabulary.
How language reduces your chances in general is hard to tell. Some landlords may not mind to use a foreign language, but for most of them it will make a difference. To try at least some phrases will certainly meet positive reactions as it shows your willingness to learn the language.
If your English is not good either, you should work on that. Concerns over the ability to communicate at all will reduce your chances significantly.
The rental market is strictly regulated. Therefore it follows its very special rules.
Normal appartments Edit
The rent of an appartment is not subject to the market in Sweden. Instead there is the Hyresregleringen which fixes prices independent of the market forces of supply and demand.
Since the price may not decide who gets an appartment, it is mostly done by the so-called bostadskö (accommodation queue): those who have signed up to the queue can apply for appartments. Those among them with the longest queueing time have the best chance to get it. Most rental appartments are actually in communal ownership or otherwise owned by public company as there can't be made much profit with them. Some queues as Signalisten in Solna actually draw by lot to select distribute accommodation among all applicants, with people already living in Solna having higher chances.
A list of other suppliers can be found under Hyresrätt.
Second-hand appartments ("Andrahand") Edit
Since appartments are so difficult to get, people try to hold to them as long as possible. Instead of giving up the flat when they move out, they rent out the flat to other people.
In reality, this has created a market which is actually not supposed to exist: Andrahand (second-hand).
Most andrahand flats are rented out not according to the contract. Thus, if the illegal situation is discovered by the house owner, the tenant will be thrown out.
However, second-hand appartments are in most cases the entrance to living in Stockholm. They are often neither reasonably priced nor a long-term option, but the only ones which are available to virtually everyone. And if you are lucky, you may even find a place in a city quarter where you could never afford an appartment under "normal" circumstances.
For further details how to get such an appartment, see Andrahand.
It is not like a shared flat in other European countries. In Stockholm this often means that somebody who is so lucky to have an appartment rents out some rooms of it. By this he reduces his living costs.
In reality however it often may turn out that the "landlord" lives for free in his room and his tenants pay the whole rent (and other additional costs). In cases of illegal Andrahand (see above), the "landlord" increases his income by letting the flat to several people and thus making more money than with a single tenant.
Thus, these rooms are disproportionally expensive compared to the regular rents. However, they are still cheaper than a whole appartment.
Student Accommodation Edit
Students rarely have money or waiting time to find anything on the other parts of the market. Therefore there are special appartments and rooms which are exclusively available to students.
A list of suppliers of such special accommodation can be found under Studentbostad.
Students should also have a look at the Andrahand market for rooms and flats.
If you have some savings you can buy a place.
Requirements to buy Edit
Due to the market situation (see next section), there are serious concerns for a real estate bubble which might burst. Therefore the formerly very lax requirements have been sharpened. Here are some general conditions:
- The bank may give you only up to 85% of the price. You have to bring the other 15% by yourself.
- You have to have a clean record when it comes to unpaid bills.
- You should preferably be able to show that you had a decent income in the last year. Tax records are public in Sweden, and so the tax return can and will be checked by the bank. It won't show any of your income until the June the year after you earned. So if you haven't been at least for a year in Sweden, you have to provide other reliable information on your income.
In general, unless you have large sums at hand, this is no option for somebody who has just arrived in Stockholm. Banks will give you loans only reluctantly, and you risk serious financial difficulties when your plans don't work out.
Market situation Edit
The bleak situation on the rental market (and in general) creates a big push towards the real estate market. Especially condominiums have gone up in price far faster than wages rise.
The last 15 years have seen a rise of about 300% (!) in prices while wages have only gone up 50%. On the market for normal houses it is "only" 200%.
People have been able to pay that thanks to
- comfortable tax deduction. All interest you pay can be fully deducted from your income, which in fact means that about a third of the interest payments are a gift from the state.
- lax bank requirements. Not so long ago it was possible to lend all the money for a flat or a house from the bank. Furthermore, the banks have very low demands when it comes to back payments. Many debtors just make the interest payments but do little or nothing to amortize their debt. Instead they rely on rising prices so that the sale of their flat/house will liquidate their debt.
This system has worked so far, but concerns for a bursting bubble are growing. Currently (June 2011) the expectation of sinking house prices has caused stagnation on the market.
It is difficult to give absolute price standards as they always change. As a rule of thumb you should not expect to get any flat worth having which is cheaper than 1 million SEK. Decent flats cost at least 1.5 million SEK, and houses are much more expensive than that.
Low prices are an indicator that something is wrong. Some typical explanations are:
- It is situated at a very unconvenient place, i.e. poor or no connection to the public transport system, long travel times to the city and single lane gravel roads. That is often accompanied with severe problems to get anywhere when the first snow comes.
- There is a significant need for renovation.
- The cooperative (of a bostadsrätt or radhus) which owns the house may be in a dire financial situation. This requires them to take a very large fee (avgift) to pay their debts. So the costs for the purchase may be low, but the monthly costs will be very high.
- On e.g. Blocket you find sometimes (holiday) houses which are ridiculously cheap. This is very often that only the house is for sale but not the land on which it stands. Holiday houses are often prefabricated so that they can be taken apart and transported somewhere else. While this may give you a cheap house, it is worthless without a place to stand on.
Types of real estate you can buy Edit
Condominium (Bostadsrätt) Edit
The Swedish version of the condominium, called bostadsrätt (accommodation right), is quite different from other countries. You don't actually own the place. Instead you buy a share of a cooperative which owns the whole house. So what you're buying is a club membership and the exclusive right to live in your flat. That's why you may not rent out the place without a permit from the cooperative.
Furthermore the club membership costs a monthly fee (avgift). How much that is depends on the cooperative's financial situation.
Row House (Radhus) Edit
Since row houses (radhus) are actually a single building, the same scheme as for the bostadsrätt applies. However, in some cases the members of the cooperative have paid to release their houses ("friköpt"). In that cases a row house is just like a regular house, but of course closer to the neighbouring buildings.
House (Villa) Edit
Holiday House (Fritidshus) Edit
Statistics say that about 75% of all Swedes have access to a holiday house (fritidshus). So, it is very common, and the distinction between a regular house and a holiday house is not always clear. Many holiday houses are only usable in the summer. But what they almost all have in common is that they are in rural parts of the region. This means: very limited or no connection to the public transport system, almost mandatory to have a car and the roads are in poor shape in the winter. But they are not much cheaper than a regular house. However, many live in such houses permanently.
Where to live Edit
The Stockholm region, often called Storstockholm (greater Stockholm), is very diverse. There are huge differences between the rural parts and the city. Stockholm city itself does not even cover the densely populated parts of the region. Its borders are in some parts in residential areas so that the division is mostly administrative.
It may be helpful to know about the character of the different parts.
The following listing is ordered by municipality (kommun). Sweden is divided into provinces (län) which are in turn divided into these municipalities. These administrative divisions play a significant role in reality - the rental house market is organized along kommun lines and even the income tax differs from kommun to kommun.
Generally Stockholm province (Stockholms Län) is considered almost identical to the Stockholm region. However, there are some parts of the surrounding provinces which are still in range for everyday commuting. They are also mentioned in the listing.
Stockholm City Edit
Stockholm itself consists of the following boroughs (stadsdelar):
- Inner City (Innerstad): all inner city areas are rather wealthy and densely populated. Single family houses are rare. Instead it is very much like any other big city in Europe. The inner city has excellent connections to the public transport system.
- Kungsholmen: mixed area with rather expensive parts like the scenic Norr Mälarstrand, but also a lot of less spectactular residential buildings. Comparatively affordable, but nonetheless quite exclusive. Public transport is provided by busses over the whole island, but there are also some stops of the green line and blue line of the subway.
- Norrmalm: not as posh as Östermalm, but almost as expensive. It is densely populated and home to many shops and other institutions, e.g. the city library. Aside from a sizable number of bus lines, public transport is provided by the green line of the subway
- Östermalm: Undoubtedly Stockholm's most expensive city quarter. Strandvägen sets price records and Stureplan is the synonym for posh culture in Sweden. Porsches and Ferraris are a common sight in the streets, and even lesser known places are never affordable for an average Stockholmer. It is also home to a number of embassies which makes it even more exclusive. However, there are also some less exclusive parts like Storängsbotten. The red line of the subway goes through Östermalm. Furthermore it is the terminus of the Roslagsbanan commuter train.
- Södermalm: It used to be the part of the city where workers and artists lived. This has stayed true in the sense that there is some subculture activity there. There also still some areas with social problems. However, the general development has made it one of the most desirable - and thus most expensive - areas of the whole region. The red and green line as well as the commuter train pendeltåg are going through that part of the city.
- South (Söderort):
- West (Västerort):
As one can see there is no East and no North - at these borders other municipalities are directly connected to the city without being administratively a part of it.
Other municipalities of Stockholm province Edit
- Botkyrka: a commune southwest of Stockholm. It has a reputation of being a socially and economically weaker part of the region, though that does certainly not apply to all parts of it and stems probably mostly from the quarters which were built in the Miljonprogrammet. Its northern parts Fittja, Alby, Hallunda and Norsborg are well connected by the Red Line of the subway. The parts little further south like Tumba and Tullinge are served by the commuter train Pendeltåg. The souther half of the commune is only served by buses and is rather rural.
- Danderyd: the commune with the highest average income per citizen in all of Sweden. Very posh and exclusive, especially Djursholm, which is the embodiment of wealth in Sweden. But there are some less privileged quarters. It is furthermore home to the large hospital Danderyds Sjukhus. Public transport is provided, by the Red Line of the subway and the commuter train Roslagsbanan as well as some buses.
- Ekerö: a commune situated on several islands on Lake Mälaren and home to the royal family. Most of the inhabitants live on the four main islands. Despite the scenic landscape, it is not really an exclusive place to live in. This is probably mainly due to the transportation situation. There is only one bridge connecting it with the mainland. There is an additional ferry to Botkyrka which is very expensive. The westernmost island Adelsö is only connected by a ferry as well, making it a one hour drive to get to the nearest subway station. Public transport is done entirely by buses. Most parts of the kommun are well connected, but travelling is time consuming. However, there is improvement in sight: the new transit road Förbifart Stockholm will connect north and south of Stockholm region and provide an alternative to Essingeleden. Its central part is a tunnel underneath Ekerö and an exit is planned in the municipality, thus providing it with excellent connections. This however will not be reality until somewhen around 2020.
- Haninge: a commune southeast of Stockholm with access to the sea. Its central parts are well connected to the public transport by the commuter train Pendeltåg. Almost larger settlements are along that line. Some parts have a dubious reputation due to the high number of Miljonprogrammet flats and accompanying social problems.
- Lidingö: a small commune bordering Stockholm on the east, consisting of one single island. Its only road connection is a bridge to the city, and there is a tram (Lidingöbanan) which gives access to the subway (Red Line) in Ropsten. Thus, it is very closely entangled with Stockholm and almost a part of the city. It is considered to be quite expensive, though that does not apply to all of the island.
- Nacka: an island commune to the southeast of Stockholm. Generally it is an upper-class suburb with low taxes and lots of single family houses. There are also large appartment building areas like Orminge and Fisksätra. Public transport is provided mostly by busses, with the exception of the Saltsjöbanan which connects Slussen with the southeastern parts of Nacka, its terminus being the posh Saltsjöbaden. Road connections are through a bridge to Slussen and the tunnel Södra Länken. Motorway 222 runs over the whole island, connecting all parts well to the road system. The eastern part is on a separate island which is only connected by a small bridge.
- Norrtälje: the largest municipality by area and among Stockholm region's most rural ones. Except for Norrtälje town itself it consists mostly of very small villages. This may rule it out for many commuters, but in general it is an interesting option when it comes to comparatively cheap real estate. Long distances and travel times have to be accepted to get to the city. There are long distance buses which connect Norrtälje to Tekniska Högskolan/Östra Station in Stockholm. They go at a very high frequency, but are often full (fullsatt). There used to be a Roslagsbanan branch which extended to the commune until the early 1980s. There are vague plans to use this branch again, but no immediate action is to be expected.
- Nykvarn: this commune is located at the very south-west of the region. It seceded from Södertälje in 1999, forming an entirely new municipality as there was no historical predecessor to it. Its geographical position makes it a good choice for access to Mälardalen cities like Eskilstuna, but it is probably not the first choice for people working in Stockholm. It is connected by bus to Södertälje and has a regional train station. The Pendeltåg commuter train however does not serve that part of the region.
- Nynäshamn: the southernmost municipality in Stockholm province, beautifully situated at the sea. Some parts of the commune like Ösmo are quite affordable, but commuting times to Stockholm are rather long due to the distance of almost 60 kilometers. Improvement has been made in recent years. The road (Riksväg 73) from southern Stockholm to Nynäsnhamn has been turned into a motorway in recent years. The last part of the construction is supposed to be finished somewhen under 2011. It is served by the Pendeltåg commuter train, but often a change of trains is required in Västerhaninge.
- Österåker: a rather rural commune northeast of Stockholm. Connections are generally good through the E18 motorway, Roslagsbanan and buses, but travel times are rather long. Thus, real estate prices are comparatively low there.
- Södertälje: Despite being an economical center in the southern part of the region and its scenic position between the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren (just like Stockholm itself), it has a rather dubious reputation. It has been very popular with immigrants since the 1960s when the city's companies needed workers. Then it used to be workers from Finnland. Nowadays Sweden's liberal policy regarding political asylum leads to immigrants from troubled world regions such as Iraq and Eritrea, and Södertälje happens to be one of the hot spots of this development. This has lead to some social problems especially among the youth. News reports on property damage and smaller riots have lead to a negative perception of the city.
- Solna: One of the communes which are mostly for historical reasons separate from Stockholm, though there is a real border to Stockholm through Lake Mälaren and the E4 motorway. It is dominated by residential area and has one of Sweden's largest population densities. There are some park areas in the city. Furthermore it is home to the Karolinska Hospital and the Karolinska Institute (medical university and Nobel Prize awarding institution), the swedish national footboll arena, and Crown Princess Victoria (living in the Haga park), It is a middle-class area close to Stockholm city, connected by the Blue Line and the commuter train Pendeltåg to it. By bicycle, the Karolinska', Universitiy' and KTH main campus as well as the city centre are reachable in about 15 minutes.
- Sundbyberg: Like Solna a very urban middle-class commune very close to Stockholm City. It was supposed to merge with Solna in the 1960s - actually the border between the two goes partially right through residential areas - but that never happened. Instead it stayed separate, nowadays Sweden's smallest commune by area with the second-highest population density. It has very few park-like or forest-like areas. It is connected by the Blue Line as well as the commuter train Pendeltåg.
- Upplands Väsby: Though seemingly far off the city, this commune is rather popular as a place to live due to its convenient location both to Uppsala and Stockholm. It has a small area and consists mainly of the city Upplands Väsby city in its center. It is the terminus of the commuter train Upptåg which connects the city with Arlanda Airport and the city of Uppsala. Furthermore the commuter train Pendeltåg from Stockholm passes through.
- Värmdö: an island commune east of Nacka, with which it shares its main island. It encompasses also a huge part of the archipelago islands. Taxes are the highest in the province, and housing is dominated by holiday houses of upper middle-class and upper-class home owners. Real estate prices are therefore quite high. There are also some regular residential areas, especially in Gustavsberg and Hemmesta, both well connected through busses to Slussen.Road connection is via motorway 222. There is only the rather small Skurusund bridge connecting the island with the rest of the province, with the exception of a ferry to Vaxholm.
- Vaxholm: a small commune to the northeast of Stockholm. The largest landmass is part of the mainland, but only a few people live there. Thus, the rather small main island Vaxön is the center of the municipality. Further settlements are on other islands. It is a popular and well known holiday destination, especially in the summer. Due to the scenic environment real estate is mostly quite expensive there. Public transport connections are restricted to a bus line going to Tekniska Högskolan in the city center of Stockholm. There are also the archipelago ferries to Stockholm, but they probably have little importance for commuters. There are road connections to the E18 north of Täby. Some parts are only connected by ferry.
Surrounding cities of other provinces Edit