Buying A House In Denmark

Buying a house in Denmark: Everything you need to know about buying property in Denmark

Buying a house in Denmark has significant appeal. Not having to constantly find places to rent will help you feel more settled, and you might also find that your property will increase in value over the coming years. However, you need to consider several factors before purchasing one.

When buying property in Denmark, you have more than one option. Where you purchase your house or apartment will also dictate how much you pay; it’s significantly more expensive to do so in Copenhagen or Aarhus, but that’s also where most of the jobs and things to do are.

Purchasing a house in Denmark can also differ depending on whether you’re an EU or EEA citizen, or from Switzerland — or if you’re from a country outside of those mentioned regions.

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed about everything concerning Denmark’s housing market, don’t worry — you’re in the right place.

In this article, you’ll learn about how to buy a house in Denmark. You’ll discover what the rules are, where you can find property for sale in Denmark, and much more. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Buying A House In Denmark

Buying a property in Denmark

When thinking about purchasing a house for sale in Denmark, you’ll need to have a bit of knowledge in various areas of the Danish real estate market. To make things easier for you to navigate, we’ve broken everything down into a selection of subsections below.

Andelsboliger

When looking for a house to buy in Denmark, you might notice the term “andelsbolig”. The purchase of a property in this form is incredibly popular in apartment buildings, especially in big cities. To put things simply, andelsbolig means that you buy part of the building.

The concept was originally designed to make housing more affordable in the early 20th century, but it has stuck around since then. Andelsboliger are significantly cheaper than purchasing something outright. And as you might have guessed, finding them is not the easiest thing in the world.

You will get your own apartment in the building, and you’re free to do whatever you want to it.

One thing worth noting with an andelsbolig is that you and the other people living there are required to keep the building in good condition. If something breaks, you must contribute to the repair.

If you decide to go for an andelsbolig, you’ll need to make sure that everything is well-run. Otherwise, sorting things out can be a significant hassle. You can ask plenty of questions about this during the viewing process.

The buying process

When buying a house in Denmark, you typically have to go through many of the same steps that you’re probably used to elsewhere. The initial stage begins with you looking for places you like, and — when you’ve found something that interests you — you can arrange to have a viewing of the place.

If you like the house or apartment you’ve looked at, you can make an offer for the place you want to purchase. Once you’ve beaten that hurdle, you’re able to begin applying for mortgages; you should work with a solicitor to save you the headache of needing to do all of the paperwork.

When you receive the documents to sign, you’ll need to put down your signature. Once you’ve signed the purchase agreement with your seller and signed the notarial deed of conveyance, you can begin looking forward to your move-in date.

To purchase a property in Denmark, you’re typically required to place a deposit. The rules will differ depending on whether you’re an EU citizen or not; Brits count as non-EU citizens from the beginning of 2021 onwards.

Non-EU citizens might need to put down as much as 40% in some instances, and — if you’re lucky — you might have it as low as 10%.

If you’re from an EU country, you’ll need to place at least 5% as a deposit when buying a house in Denmark.

Types of property in Denmark you can buy

If you’ve decided that you want to buy property in Denmark, you will find plenty of options. Your choices will largely depend on where in the country you wish to live.

In the centre of big cities like Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Odense, many people reside in apartment blocks. The older ones are especially sought after in Copenhagen, which is unsurprising considering how much character they have.

However, you should note that you’ll need to perform a lot of maintenance in many cases. Moreover, many older apartments do not have a lift — and the bathrooms can be annoyingly small.

To ensure that the housing supply in Denmark meets the demand, several building projects have commenced in recent years — especially in Copenhagen. You will find several modern apartments on the outskirts of the city centre, with Nordhavn and Sydhavn both easy to reach by bike.

Ørested is another district with several fancy apartments; it’s easy to reach from both the airport and Central Copenhagen by public transport.

In Aarhus, you’ll find the Aarhus Ø district if you’re looking for newer builds. Odense also has a neighbourhood of modern apartments within easy walking distance of the city’s main train station. Other cities you’ll find similar builds include Vejle, Esbjerg, and Aalborg.

While many Danes live in apartments, you will also find a huge selection of houses. Most homes in Denmark look quite similar, and if you want to live close to Copenhagen, you’ll find several suburbs where you can reach the city centre by train. Hvidovre and Charlottenlund are two examples.

If you want to live in rural parts of Denmark, you will similarly find several properties that fit this bill.

Buying A House In Denmark

Is it easy to buy a property in Denmark?

Buying homes for sale in Denmark is easier for some nationalities than it is for others, and it’s also trickier to do so than in some other European countries. Generally speaking, you must have lived in the country for at least five years as a foreigner before you can purchase a property.

If you buy a house in Denmark, you must — in most cases — plan to use the address as a place of valid residence throughout the year. You can’t use it as a summer house.

If you want to buy a property in Denmark as a foreigner but you don’t live in the country, you can do so. However, it’s incredibly difficult in most cases; you must submit a request to the Department of Civil Affairs.

Note that while you must typically have lived in Denmark for at least five years before buying a house, you don’t need to meet any specific Danish language requirements.

Buying A House In Denmark

How much does a house cost in Denmark?

The cost of a property for sale in Denmark varies wildly depending on location. The most expensive regions are Copenhagen and its surroundings, with real estate being especially pricey in more affluent areas like Frederiksberg and Gentofte.

On the flip side, you can — if you fancy living somewhere quieter — find very good prices for homes in smaller towns.

If we look at Boligstatistik, the average price per square metre in all of Denmark was 17,808 DKK (£2,093.12) for a detached or terraced house in Q2 2022. In an owner-occupied flat, the cost was 36,583 DKK (£4,229.23).

Both of those prices significantly increased in the Copenhagen municipality, with a detached/terraced house costing 53,049 DKK per square metre and an owner-occupied flat being priced at 55,059. As for Frederiksberg, an owner-occupied flat cost 60,626 per square metre.

Gentofte had significantly higher house prices, too. A detached or terraced house in the district cost an average of 69,221 DKK per square metre, though an apartment cost less than in Copenhagen or Frederiksberg — with the average being 51,136 DKK in the same range.

In Aarhus, buying a house was also higher than the national average. However, prices were significantly lower than in and around Copenhagen. A detached/terraced house in Denmark’s second-largest city cost 28,536 DKK per square metre on average, while an owner-occupied flat was 40,889.

Housing prices were significantly lower in rural areas, as you might have expected. On the island of Ærø, for example, you could find listed homes for an average of 7,184 DKK per square metre.

Note that the average prices listed here are all for initial listings.

Can a non-EU citizen buy a property in Denmark?

As mentioned earlier in this article, a non-EU citizen can buy a property in Denmark. That includes if you’re a UK citizen. However, they can only do so under specific circumstances.

First, you must have a residence permit — which can be tricky to obtain. Moreover, you must have met the criteria of living in the country for at least five consecutive years.

For non-EU citizens that are not a resident of Denmark, potential buyers must receive a special permit.

Buying A House In Denmark

Pros and cons of buying a property in Denmark

Now that you know the basics of buying a house in Denmark, we can put together the pros and cons. You’ll find a list for each of these in the sections below.

Pro: You don’t have to be a Danish citizen to buy a property in Denmark

While you must have lived in Denmark for a significant period of time, you don’t need to obtain Danish citizenship before buying a place to live in the country. As long as you meet the residence requirements and are able to afford the purchase, you’re free to look for a place to buy.

You should, however, note that many official documents will be in Danish. As such, you should request English-language versions for reference if possible. But even if you do this, only the Danish version will be legally-binding.

Choosing an ideal solicitor can help you tackle any issues you might face in this respect.

Pro: Danish houses are of excellent quality

If you successfully buy a house in Denmark, the quality of accommodation is some of the highest in the world. Danish homes are well-insulated, so you’re unlikely to feel too cold during the winter months. Moreover, building regulations in the country are strict — ensuring that safety is paramount.

You should, on the flip side, note that some apartments have thin walls. As a result, you might hear noises like people walking on the floorboards — which can get quite annoying in some cases.

Pro: You don’t have to deal with the notoriously difficult rental markets in Copenhagen and Aarhus

When you first moved to Denmark, you might well have had to deal with the beast that is rental markets in the big cities. Finding an affordable place to rent is significantly challenging in Copenhagen and Aarhus, with demand regularly outstripping supply.

Once you’ve found your own place to live, you won’t need to worry about dealing with finding a place to rent. You can enjoy peace of mind as a result, and you won’t need to worry about continuously needing to move out all the time, either.

Pro: Buying a house in rural areas is surprisingly cheap

If you’re willing to cast your net further, you can find some incredibly affordable houses in Denmark. The cheapest ones are in rural areas, but you don’t actually have to travel too far out of Copenhagen to find affordable accommodation.

Many of the capital’s outer reaches have well-priced homes for sale, and you can easily get into the city via the S-train.

When buying a house outside of the big cities, you also won’t need to deal with the noise. However, you’ll want to ensure you’re within a decent enough proximity of a train station — as buses are often infrequent.

Con: You’re not guaranteed permanent residency

Now that you know more about the benefits of buying a house in Denmark, let’s look at some of the drawbacks. If you’re a foreign resident, one of the largest negatives is that purchasing a place for sale in the country does not guarantee that you become a permanent resident.

Even if you own a house in Denmark, you must continue to meet the conditions of your residence permit. However, you can apply for permanent residence after five years if you’re an EU citizen.

If you’re from outside the EU, you can apply for permanent residence after eight years of living in the country — though in some cases, you can do so as early as four. You will, however, need to meet more requirements than an EU citizen would.

If you buy a house in Denmark, you might also need to prove that you plan to continue living in the country in the long run.

Con: Buying a house in the main cities is often expensive

Copenhagen and Aarhus are where many of the main jobs in Denmark are. They’re also the places with the most vibrant city life, but — unsurprisingly — competition for places to live is also fiercer.

If you want to buy a house in Denmark’s main cities, you’ll need to come to terms with the fact that you will pay much more than in most other parts of the country.

Nonetheless, doing so isn’t impossible; if you put together a solid enough plan, you can find the place of your dreams without needing to sacrifice the big city life.

Con: It’s tricky to buy a property if you don’t live in the country

If you do not live in Denmark, you can expect a hard time trying to buy a house in the country. As mentioned earlier, you must have special permission to purchase property in such cases.

If you were thinking about buying a house in Denmark for property investment purposes, you’re probably better off looking at opportunities elsewhere.

Buying A House In Denmark

Can the Danish government seize foreigners’ property?

If you purchase a property in Denmark, you might worry about having your home seized. But in most cases, you shouldn’t have too many issues with this; you’re only likely for something like this to happen if you’re involved in criminal activity of some kind.

One thing worth noting, however, is that you will often need to sell your home if you choose to leave Denmark at a later date. If you don’t follow the necessary procedures, you may receive a fine.

Does property appreciate in Denmark?

When purchasing a place to live in Denmark, you’ll want to think about whether the property’s value increases. Again, the answer to this question depends on multiple factors.

In certain parts of Copenhagen, you can expect your property’s value to increase over time. One prime example of this is the Sydhavn district, which currently has a lot of ongoing developments. In addition to multiple modern apartments going up, the city’s metro will expand here in 2024.

You might also find value in buying a property on the island of Lolland. While it hasn’t got the best reputation among Danes, the area will receive significant business once the tunnel to Germany is completed in 2029.

Areas with the highest appreciation

Finding statistics on property appreciation in Denmark is difficult, and doing so by area is also tricky. However, you will find a selection online.

As cited by Global Property Guide from the Association of Danish Mortgage Banks, property asking prices rose throughout Denmark in the 12 months leading up to June 2021.

Copenhagen and its surrounding areas saw the highest year-on-year increase, with house prices rising by 14.4%. Away from the capital, the north of Jutland also saw a rise going into double figures. In this part of the country, the year-on-year rise was 11.8%.

While Copenhagen and its surroundings saw the highest rise in the purchase price by percentage, the rest of Sjælland did not. In fact, it fell by 0.7% annually.

Elsewhere in the country, Midtjylland — which includes Aarhus — was the scene of an 8.8% increase in property prices. Southern Denmark, meanwhile, saw an increase by 1.9%.

Real estate listings in Denmark

Real estate in Denmark is a big business, and you will find plenty of places to look for apartments in the country. Nybolig is one of the largest agencies, and you will see its offices in most towns and cities throughout Denmark.

Danbolig is another important company, and — like Nybolig — its shop windows are visible throughout most of the country’s urban areas.

Some of the most popular rental websites also have places that you can go to if you want to find a house or apartment to buy. Boligsiden is one such example; you can search based on how much you’re willing to pay, along with other parameters such as the municipality you’d like to live in.

Is there a Danish real estate website in English?

When looking at buying a house in Denmark, you will notice that many websites are only available in Danish. As such, knowing what to look for will help significantly if you wish to find the best match.

You should also pick up a couple of useful words and phrases, such as:

  • Til salgs = for sale
  • Legjlighed = apartment
  • Kommune = municipality (Københavns omegn refers to the areas surrounding Copenhagen, such as Gentofte, Hvidovre, and Brøndby)

If you want Denmark real estate services in English, you can always use Google Translate. Alternatively, your real estate agent will speak excellent English — so you can receive the help you need from them without too many issues.

Buying A House In Denmark

Buying a house in Denmark requires a lot of steps

So, there you have it — that’s our complete guide on buying a house in Denmark. If you’ve lived in the country for five years and you plan on sticking around for the long run, finding a place to call your own will help you feel more settled.

You can choose between apartments and houses, with options available both in big cities and more rural locations.

When buying a house in Denmark, you can also choose whether you want to purchase via an andelsbolig agreement — which could save you a lot of money if you’re lucky enough to find one. Regardless of your choice, you’ll find something that fits your budget and needs if you’re willing to be patient.

Before you decide to settle in Denmark, understanding the benefits and drawbacks of living here is a good idea. We’ve written a full article outlining everything you need to know, and you can check that out here.

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