Important things to know about Housing and Rental in Sweden

If there is any country in Scandinavia that many internationals would like to visit and live in then Sweden is it. Sweden has popularity for its excellent living wage, top notch universities, robust social welfare system and many more. But once you become one of the lucky ones to get the coveted Schengen visa with the destination being Sweden, the next big  thing that quickly comes to mind is where to put up. As a first timer in Sweden who has not had enough chances of making new friends, all that counts much is a space where to retreat to and just feel easy. As much as it is recommended that you be open to creating new friendships, getting to experience the rich Swedish culture and more, you can only do as much from a comfortable home or apartment. So here are the important things people need to know about the housing and rental for newcomers in Sweden. We explain about the types of housing, rental costs, buying a house, utilities and many more. Here we go. 

Getting a perfect match for rental in Sweden may be an arduous task, just take your time

Some insightful details about Sweden for newcomers

Sweden is one of the countries in Europe where it’s fairly difficult to find good housing and rental. The competitiveness of the housing sector is clearly demonstrated by the ability of a black market for long-term leases. It also implies that expats might find it even more difficult to navigate the sector. Your best bet is to buy a house instead of renting if you’ll be in Sweden for a long time. The situation with getting rental apartments in Sweden becomes even worse in the bigger cities including Stockholm, Lund, Gothenburg, Malmö, Uppsala and Västerås. For more specific details about these cities, please check out

While the real situation of  housing in Sweden remains a real concern, it’s not all doom and gloom. Any careful and keen observer will realize the many upsides to the Swedish housing clear win for those sending in Sweden is the guarantee of liveable conditions in whatever kind of house available. The available houses have all that one may require to live a comfortable life including electricity connection, ample parking space, running taps, and house heating among others. You will have access to various options both in the city or countryside. So, whether you are looking for high-rise apartments or standalone modern homes, you can find them here. Similarly, based on how long you are here, you can also get furnished or unfurnished homes. 

Finding Accommodation in Sweden 

As soon as you hit the housing and rental market in Sweden, you will come across first-hand and second-hand rentals. Just like shopping for clothes first-hand, apartments are rented directly from the landlord. Second-hand apartments on the other hand, are sublet through the current tenant. Unfortunately, getting access to a first-hand apartment is fairly complicated. 

It’s because they are limited and might only be available in very popular areas. Besides, they also have waiting lists that last as long as several years. Though Second-hand rentals are common, there is a catch! Some only let you stay in a unit for a year, which might be a disadvantage if you are in Sweden for long. However, you can use it as you wait to find a more permanent place.

Renting a House or an Apartment in Sweden 

Sweden continues to experience a housing shortage that mostly affects people in the cities, particularly students and foreigners. Rents in Sweden are based on your municipality and whether you live in an urban or rural area. Nevertheless, given the high costs of living, you can expect to pay a significant amount of rent. Research indicates that Swedish rental costs account for an average 30% of most people’s salary. 

On the bright side, rentals also come with annual caps thanks to the Swedish government. Cities like Stockholm, Malmö, Gothenburg, Uppsala, and Solna have the highest number of expat population. If you are planning to settle in any of these cities, you can expect to pay a minimum house rent of 10,700 SEK each month.

Rental Process and Rules in Sweden

Housing and rental in Sweden is challenging thanks to the scarcity of houses in the sector. If you are moving to a large city then finding a house might be even more problematic. It’s because cities have the largest population of expats and students who all need housing. You will be forced to stay in a series of second-hand rentals before landing a first-hand contract. 

Unfortunately, a second-hand lease will cost you more than a direct rental would. To land a housing and rental contract you will need a personnummer (Swedish identification number). Most landlords will also ask for an employment contract and proof of sufficient income. If you are in the low-income bracket, a landlord will ask for a guarantor.  

Second-hand contracts also require the original landlord to approve them since their permission is required. Some landlords will even ask to vet the new tenant before they can approve a rental contract. It’s important to confirm that you are paying the same amount of rent as the first tenant. The only excess you are allowed to pay is for a furnished apartment.

Alternatively, you can settle for a short-term rental before you find a second-hand lease. Luckily, they cost almost as much as you would for a standard yearly rent in Sweden. Furthermore, you only need your original passport and a copy for a short-term rental. However, the length of your stay will determine if you require proof of income and/or an employment contract. 

Buying Property as a Foreigner in Sweden

Thanks to the crowded housing and rental market in Sweden, most people opt for buying property. Luckily, Sweden has low interest rates when it comes to buying a house so you will save money. Property types range from condominiums, detached houses, link houses (similar to a townhouse), and even countryside cottages. 

When looking for property you will come across words such as “villa” referring to a single-family home. It also helps to familiarize yourself with words such as lägenhet (apartment), radhus (link house), kedjehus (terraced house) and fritidshus (vacation house). Buying a house in Sweden will cost you approximately 53,500 SEK per m² to 74,900 SEK per m². 

However, the price will vary depending on where you stay. The places with the highest property prices include Lidingö, Solna, and Danderyd. Likewise, you are likely to find the cheapest prices in the Greater Stockholm area in Nykvarn and Södertälje.

Buying a House in Sweden

Unlike other countries, Sweden doesn’t restrict foreigners from buying property. Hence, you can expect a straightforward process as soon as you agree with the seller. The process involves bidding, negotiation and survey, contract signing, and down payment. The only problem is that finding a good property to buy might be difficult. Your best bet is to use a real estate agent especially if you are not fluent in Swedish. 

Requirements for buying a home in Sweden begin with a mortgage. Most mortgage providers will ask for proof of employment and a steady income. They will also check your credit history, residency permit, personnummer and a Swedish ID card. Lenders will only offer up to 75% of the property value and 30% of the loan is tax deductible.