Finding accommodation in Sweden can be a real challenge. Not just for first timers but for anyone searching for a place to call it a home. They will find themselves challenged by the rental shortage in Stockholm and all over Sweden.
Let us help you walk through some basics of the Swedish rental market to help you settle down easier and find the right housing that works for your trip, whether it is a holiday, short project, business trip or long term moving to Sweden.
Why is it so difficult to find accommodation in Sweden?
The simplest answer is that the demand is far 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 and is lagging still due to the high cost and time to build. While the population in the cities has grown rapidly, creating an urgent shortage of accommodation, it is one of the big challenges of moving to Sweden.
So, if you are having a hard time finding a home, temporary or long-term, please remember that you are not alone on this boat. You share this challenge with all the other internationals moving or visiting Sweden and 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.
Adjust your expectations
No one really wants to hear this, but adjusting your expectations to reality will dramatically increase your chances of finding a place to stay. When the approach is that it is going to be challenging, then taking up a challenge becomes more and more. Just to give you an idea about what the rental market looks like, these are pretty normal price ranges for accommodations in Stockholm city centre.
A room for 6 months can go for about 4 500-5 000 SEK a month.
A 1-room apartment for 6 months can go for about 8 000-10 000 SEK a month.
A 2-room flat, for 6 months can go for about 13 000-15 000 SEK a month.
Even if you can afford to pay these prices or even higher, one might not be able to find one in the area one would like to. In a fun way, one can really explore the city and different neighborhoods while looking at apartments. A Stockholm rental tour.
b) Out of the box approach
Your chances of finding accommodation increases significantly the further away from the city center 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 the city?
Stockholm city has one of the finest local transport systems in the world. One can connect anywhere in the city and around Sweden with this system. On top of that, the stockholm metro stations are open art galleries. Stunning spaces depicting history, art and story of the city. Making commuting more than a pleasure, but an adventure. Read more.
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).
c) Write an outstanding rental application
Interesting thing in Sweden, like a job application there is a 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.
Long-term contracts vs. Short-term contracts
In the first month of moving to Sweden, or when one starts looking for accommodation, one will find out that it’s easier to get hold of a short-term than a long-term contract. Most 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.
If you have 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. Here they are:
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.