Housing and Housing Policy in the Nordic Countries

image of Housing and Housing Policy in the Nordic Countries

Nordic countries are often thought to have broadly similar housing policies, because they have traditionally had similar policies in areas like education, health care and social services based on shared fundamental values. In housing, however, these countries have distinctive national differences in areas like housing finance, support policy, tenure legislation and rent policy. This book takes an indepht look at housing and housing policies in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The chapters describe, analyse and compare the following areas, in a thematic way: Housing markets, housing production and housing standard The roles of housing policy actors national government, municipalities, private business, households and nonprofit actors Housing tenures and rent legislation Housing consumption, housing expenditure and user costs Housing support policy, housing finance and housing taxation Physical planning and urban policy Sustainable development of cities and housing areas. The differences between the housing policies of the Nordic countries mean that, taken together, these countries have experience of a wide range of approaches, policies and instruments. This combined experience can be used in assessing the value of particular policies and instruments in particular contexts and assessing how they can be made to work together as effectively as possible.



The housing market, housing production and housing standards

The standard of housing in the five Nordic countries has improved markedly during the period after World War II while differences in housing standard between the countries have shrunk. However, the Nordic countries display large differences in the housing market structure, public support for housing and the structure of the financial market. The first part of this chapter describes the housing stock, its standard and changes in the Nordic countries. The second part of the chapter describes trends in the Nordic housing markets. There are close ties between developments in the housing market, the financial market and national economies in general. The turbulent development over the past 20 years is illuminated by a description of national economic trends and financial market developments. The large swings in housing prices during this period are basically due to the way in which the housing market functions: the extremely slow changes in supply when there is a change in demand are dealt with in the short term by price changes.


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