Housing

General Information

Approx. 80 % of the Norwegians own the housing they live in. Tradition is one cause. Taxation is another, as bank interest is deductible.

Population mobility is rising. This has a certain influence on house rentals, especially in the cities, but the Norwegians still prefer to buy. Detached houses are usually privately-owned and rented out for a short period of time, normally 1-3 years. Flats are privately-owned usually through a co-operative or an ownership association.

Most homes are heated electrically and therefore the developed standards to minimize electrical hazards are stricter than those of other countries. Gas is not common in homes, most sales are to professional kitchens and industry.

Available housing tends to be on the market for a relatively short period and it is therefore not possible to reserve a property before arrival, since the house owners already know that there are plenty of tenants to choose from.

Types of Properties

  • Enebolig – Standalone/detached house. May come with or without a garden.
  • Tomannsbolig/Flermannsbolig – Semi-detached house where there can be 2 or more apartments in the same house. Common areas like the garden and laundry area can be shared.
  • Rekkehus – house in rows.
  • Leilighet – apartment. Do note that leilighet refers to apartments in a block and also to apartments in a semi-detached house (tomanns/flermannsbolig).
  • Bofelleskap – shared house/apartment where you have a bedroom to yourself but share the other areas of the property.

Size of Properties

Norwegian houses vary in size, style and layout. Bungalow types of houses are very rare, so expect 2 or 3 floors. Standard size front doors are 210×110 cm, interior door 210×90 cm. Standard heights under ceiling is 240 cm, but many top floors have aslant walls, limiting the space, especially in the bedrooms which are located on the top floors. The size of bedrooms range from 7 sqm (single) till 14 sqm (master). The maximum size of a living room is 45 sqm, which normally includes a dining area. Kitchens are maximum 20 sqm incl. the kitchen table area. Bathrooms are maximum 7 sqm, most commonly with a shower. Some properties have bathtubs but they are not common. Nomal size of a 4 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms is 225 sqm. An average size of a 2 bedroom apartment is 80 sqm. Apartments normally have a bathroom with a shower.

To make expectations as realistic as possible, we would like to give some additional advice:

  • We recommend that you take some time to get to know the areas you are most interested in before we take you out viewing. This will make your decision for a permanent housing easier. 
  • Please be aware that houses in Norway, and especially the bedrooms, may be smaller than what you are used to. It is normal for most properties to have only one or two bathrooms.
  • Properties in the city centre do not always provide parking. Some street parking (zone parking) requires a fee to be paid to the city’s parking company. If you are planning on having a car, we would recommend focusing on properties where parking is provided.
  • Most rental objects, furnished and unfurnished, would include white goods: cooker, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and a tumble dryer.
  • A normal size master bedroom is 12 – 15 sqm and a children’s bedroom 7-10 sqm. A standard house with 3-4 bedrooms is 160 – 230 sqm. A standard 2 bedroom flat is 70 – 85 sqm.
  • Normal wear and tear is tolerated, but please be aware that any damages above normal wear and tear would have to be compensated when the property is handed back. In Norway, this can be very expensive so we would like you to be aware of this throughout the rental period. This also applies for gardens, terraces and driveways, where regular maintenance is required during the growing season from April –September/October.
  • Due to allergies and with respect to wear and tear, there may be restrictions to keeping pets.

Search engine – www.finn.no

If you would like to get a general idea of what the rental market is like, you can visit the website

http://www.finn.no/finn/realestate/lettings/advanced?nonewsearch

This link will take you to the search option. Some English translation:  Select advanced search ”Avansert søk”. Select area  ”Velg område”, select the name of the district. Under this option you can select specific towns or areas.

As mentioned above, available housing tends to be on the market for a very short time and it is not possible to reserve a property before arrival, since the house owners already know that there are plenty of tenants to choose from.  Still, it can be an interesting tool in getting to know the market and to get a general idea of pricing.

Financial considerations

Housing in Norway is on the pricey side for many reasons, including the cost of insulation in such a cold country, the high standards of living among the citizenry, meaning that few low-cost houses are built, and the high wages that drive up construction costs.

The rental market in Norway is known for its diversity. No rental units are the same. The units differ according to size, type of dwelling, material standard and geographic location. Some have been renovated recently while others have not been renovated for many years. There are many new builds and apartments as well.

The rental properties in Norway vary from small rooms of 10 sqm to large detached houses of 250 sqm and more. There can be large variations in rental prices – for example a 2-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from 12000 NOK to 26000 NOK, depending on the size of the property, the type of dwelling, material standard, geographic location and even decorative style. Properties can be rented furnished/partly furnished/unfurnished, with or without cable TV/Internet/heating and electricity.

It is possible for tenants to negotiate with landlords regarding the rental price and what they would like included in the rent.

March 2017

Oslo

Prices are generally stable while some prices in popular areas have increased. There are fewer large properties for rent. It is advisable to be quick while deciding on a property. It is more of a landlord’s market at the moment.

Stavanger

It is a tenant’s market here at the moment – it is advisable to try and negotiate good prices for the rental properties and/or include more in the rent (furniture, appliances, utilities).

There are fewer larger properties for rent while there are many smaller apartments available.

Rental prices have decreased over the last 2-3 years, although some rental properties with high standards and great location have been rented for more than the asking amounts. Tenants have more choice now and most tend to go for newly renovated properties with modern and tasteful decor. Tenants are also more assertive in their expectations of house owners.

Bergen

Prices have decreased slightly. It is possible to try and negotiate good prices for the rental properties and/or include more in the rent (furniture, appliances, utilities).