Finding accommodation in Sweden can be a real challenge. Not just for Newbies – anyone searching for a place to call home will find themselves challenged by the rental shortage in Sweden.
In this guide, we walk you through the basics of the Swedish rental market and give you some insider’s tips that will make your rental search significantly easier.
Why is it so difficult to find accommodation in Sweden?
The short answer to this question is simple: the demand is bigger than the supply. This is especially the case in bigger cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Lund. The construction of apartments all over Sweden has lagged behind, while the population in the cities has grown rapidly, creating an urgent shortage on accommodation.
So, if you are having a hard time finding a home, remember that you are not alone: you share this challenge with the rest of the Swedish population.
What you can do to increase your chances to find accommodation
There are many things you can do to increase your chances of finding accommodation on the Swedish rental market.
a) Adjust your expectations
This is a tip that no one wants to hear, but adjusting your expectations to the reality will dramatically increase your chances of finding a place to stay. Just to make yourself an idea about what the rental market looks like: these are pretty normal price ranges for accommodations in Stockholm city centre (other cities might be a bit cheaper):
- a room, for 6 months -> about 4 500-5 000 SEK/ a month
- a 1-room apartment, for 6 months – > about 8 000-10 000 SEK/ a month
- a 2-room flat, for 6 months – > about 13 000-15 000 SEK / a month
b) Look outside the city centre
Your chances of finding accommodation increases significantly the further away from the city centre you are willing to live. The demand for apartments close to the city centers is huge. But the question you should ask yourself is: Do you really need to live in the middle of city?
The areas considered the “city” in Sweden are usually quite small and the surrounding areas might just be 10, 15 or 20 minutes away with public transportation (which is both reliable, fast and well coordinated). Living in a suburb (“förort” in Swedish) normally means that you live close to nature while you’re still will be able to enjoy all the fun and comfort that a city life provides.
c) Write an outstanding rental application
The shortage on the rental market makes the application processes very competitive. Writing a rental application that really stands out from the rest will improve your chances of finding an apartment in Sweden. Find out more on how to write an outstanding rental application here.
Long-term contracts vs. short-term contracts
You will soon notice that it’s easier to get hold of a short-term than a long-term contract. Most Newbies who plan to stay for a longer period will look for something more lasting – no one likes to move every three months. But opting for a short-term contract might have some significant pros – especially at the beginning of your stay in Sweden. Here we try to outline the pros and con of each approach.
Abroad and planning to move to Sweden? Or have you recently arrived and are urgently searching for a place to stay? Then we recommend you look for short-term contracts. Knowing that you will have to move again shortly might not be your dream, but going for a short-term contract has its pros:
- Plenty of apartments to choose from: many choose to rent their apartments when going on vacation or to work abroad. So there are many more short-term than long-term contracts.
- Fewer competitors: People already living in the city look for long-term rentals, so you will find fewer people asking for these apartments.
- Lower price: Short-term contracts are usually a bit better priced (1 to 3 months).
- Get to know the city before you settle permanently: Once you are in the city and you have a clearer idea about where you want to live, how the Swedish apartments are and what your net salary is (in case you already have a job) you can search for something more permanent.
Finding a long-term contract is what most people search for. Being able to settle and focus on getting your life going instead of being in the search for a new place to stay is an important step. There are however a few matters to consider:
- The one-year limit: Most long-term contracts are for 6 months with a possibility of another 6-month extension. In some cases, you can get a one-year contract straight away, but it’s rare that you find something longer than that. After one year, most of the landlords that own a “Bostadsrätt” (flat in a building) have to ask for permission to sublet the apartment to the board of directors of the building.
- Sign up for a bostadskö: If you are considering a longer stay in Sweden, you might consider signing up at a “bostadskö”. Most Swedes sign up as soon as they are allowed (nowadays once they turn 18) and the waiting time on these “bostadskö” are very long. However, if you are patient and not too picky about your choice this might be an option.
Where to find rental ads and landlords
There are a number of rental ads, landlords and rental solutions and agencies. We have listed a bunch of them here.
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