Buying A House In Norway

Buying a house in Norway: Everything you need to know about how to buy a house in Norway

If you’re planning to move to Scandinavia’s westernmost country for a long time, you might want to think about buying a house in Norway instead of renting one.

With friendly locals, beautiful scenery, and a rosy future outlook, Norway is one of the best countries to live in. While taxes and living costs are high, you’ll get excellent public services and support for you and your family.

Regardless of whether you’re more of an urbanite or prefer to live in the countryside, Norway’s huge geographic size and engaging cities mean that you’ll find something to suit your needs.

Obtaining a residence permit is often tricky for foreigners outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), but you’re all set for an excellent standard of living if you get one.

What’s it like finding somewhere to live, though? If you’re curious to learn more about how to buy a house in Norway, you’re in the right place.

This article will show you everything you need to know about purchasing property here as a foreigner — and we’ll provide a list of resources to help you do so closer to the end of the piece.

Buying A House In Norway

Buying property in Norway

Norway is one of the world’s most advanced economies. Yes, the country struck gold with oil discovery in the North Sea — but the Norwegians have done an excellent job ensuring that its citizens benefit from the abundance of natural resources.

Moreover, the country has built a mixed economy focusing on various industries — such as fishing, tourism, and energy.

Over the past six decades, Norway’s success has led to more people moving here to fill job openings, along with many Norwegians choosing to stay in their homeland rather than emigrate abroad. To ensure that living standards and conditions remain high, housing developments have followed suit.

Because of the numerous housing developments in Norway, you can find all kinds of properties to fit your needs. If you live in Oslo and want to stay close to the city center, you might choose to purchase an apartment instead of a full house.

The Norwegian capital has a mixture of older apartments in districts like Grünnerløkka and Frogner, along with swanky new builds along the waterfront in neighborhoods like Bjørvika and Aker Brygge.

Not everyone wants to stay in the city 24/7, though, and Norway’s beautiful nature means that doing so is somewhat foolish.

On the outskirts of Oslo, you’ll find the traditional wooden houses that you probably associated with Norway in the first place. You’ll find these houses in the mountains surrounding the city, along with on the many islands accessible by public transport — such as Hovedøya and Lindøya.

Elsewhere in Norway, you can find plenty of these wooden houses for sale. Bergen and its surrounding regions are popular with expats, and this part of Norway is loved by tourists as well.

Tromsø, the largest Norwegian city in the Arctic Circle, has a mixture of wooden homes and modern apartments — as does wealthy Stavanger in the South.

If you want to regularly vacation in Norway but are unsure about moving there, purchasing a cabin is a possible solution. Many Norwegians purchase cabins, known in the local language as hytter.

These cabins are typically in rural locations, and the locals go to them during the summer — along with at Easter and other times of the year.

When purchasing a property in Norway, you should note that you have two options. The first is to buy it outright, which means that you’re the sole owner. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase through a housing cooperative — which means that you own part of the property with others.

The latter is cheaper, but you and everyone else will need to chip in if something’s wrong with the building. Both have pros and cons, so you should read up on them to decide which is better for you.

Buying A House In Norway

Is it easy to buy a home in Norway?

Living in every country has pros and cons, and Norway is no different. So, is it difficult to purchase a home here?

In Norway, buying a house is easy for some people. Others, however, have found several challenges. When you purchase a property in the country, you should prepare for a lengthy process and expect anything else to be a bonus.

When you find a house in Norway that you like, you’ll typically start with a home viewing. These usually last for an hour, and you’ll find open slots during the week. After that is when the fun (or hell, depending on how you want to frame things) begins.

Once you’ve viewed the house and decided that you like it, you can submit a bid; the property owner can look at yours and everybody else’s 24 hours after submission.

Bidding isn’t too different from other countries, such as the US and the UK — so you might already be familiar with this part of the process if you’ve owned a home before.

You don’t need the full amount upfront, but you must have at least 25% of the house’s value for your security deposit; if you’re under 34 years old, you can get away with 15% in some instances.

If you hate bureaucracy, we’ve got some bad news — buying a house in Norway requires a lot of paperwork. First and foremost, you’ll need to show that you can afford the place; proof of your income and bank statements are two good starting points.

If you’re self-employed, you might want to show how much you expect your business to make on average if you don’t have standard payslips.

For the financial ins and outs, you’ll need to contact your bank; they’ll give you a written document if you’re approved, and having one is mandatory before you purchase a home in Norway.

Many banks take weeks to provide this documentation, so you should probably look at properties with viewing dates in the semi-distant future.

Buying A House In Norway

How much does a house cost in Norway?

Norway is a huge country, and living costs vary depending on where you live. As you might expect, areas with higher demands have more expensive houses to match.

Oslo is Norway’s largest city, and it’s usually the most expensive — though Stavanger sometimes overtakes it in certain years.

The Norwegian capital has the country’s highest housing prices, according to Statista, with the average cost of buying a property here standing at 6,128,484 Norwegian Kroner in February 2022 — which is just over $636,000 in US Dollars and a little more than £508,500 if you’re from the UK.

Tromsø is the second-most expensive city to buy a house in Norway, and much of this is due to the shortage of homes compared to the demand. The arctic city is home to one of Norway’s main universities, and it’s an important hub for multiple industries.

Buying a home in Tromsø cost 4,795,905 NOK in February 2022, and that’s not far from $500,000/£400,000.

Trondheim is a major tech hub in Norway, and it’s also home to one of the country’s most prestigious universities. Housing is expensive if you’re looking to buy; in February 2022, prices stood at 4,255,343 NOK ($442,262 / £353,392) on average.

Stavanger is Norway’s most important city for the oil and gas industry, and the prices for buying a property match this. Norway’s fourth-largest city is the fourth-most expensive to buy a property, with prices in February 2022 standing at 3,886,209 NOK — which is a little over $403,000.

Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway, but its housing prices are surprisingly lower than the national average — and you also won’t pay as much compared to the three cities already mentioned. At 3,871,150 NOK ($402,336), buying a property in Bergen was slightly cheaper than Stavanger on average.

The average price of buying a house in Norway was 4,244,759 NOK in February 2022, which is just over $441,000 if we look at the current conversion rates when writing this article. As you can see, though, the larger cities bump up that cost.

Can a foreigner buy a house in Norway?

Norway’s immigration laws are difficult to navigate for non-EEA citizens, but the people are pretty welcoming toward foreigners. And unlike obtaining a residence, the good news is that you don’t have any legal restrictions if you want to buy a house in Norway.

Regardless of whether you’re a foreigner who has lived in Norway for multiple years or you don’t have a residence permit whatsoever, you’re free to purchase a house in Norway if you can afford to do so.

Buying a house in Norway might be more difficult from abroad. First and foremost, you might find it trickier to bid for something — and you might also pay more than you should have if you’re not clued up on the housing market.

When buying a property for sale in Norway, you should also remember that you might have to pay property tax — regardless of whether you have a residence permit.

And if you want to become a Norwegian citizen (or you’re waiting for an answer for your residence application), owning a house in the country will not influence the process either positively or negatively.

Can foreigners get a mortgage in Norway?

If you’re already looking at homes for sale in Norway, you’ve probably thought about the prospect of getting a mortgage. Once again, the good news is that you can receive one without being a Norwegian citizen.

Considering the cost of a home in Norway, you will probably need to get a mortgage to fund your purchase. To obtain one, your bank will need to approve that you have the means to buy the home or apartment you’re looking at.

If you want additional support, you’re also entitled to a loan if you live in Norway; the municipality you live in can give you up to 80% to help you fund your home, but this isn’t guaranteed, and you’ll need to meet the necessary criteria.

It’s also worth noting that you can only get a loan for homes; if you are planning to purchase a holiday home, you’ll need to figure out an alternative way to fund your purchase.

So, if you live outside of Norway, buying a property is significantly harder; unless you haven’t got issues financing your purchase, you might want to strongly reconsider whether it’s worth moving forward with your plans.

Can the Norwegian government seize foreigners’ property?

If you live in a foreign country, you might have concerns about your property potentially getting seized by the authorities. And if you’re planning to purchase a property in Norway from abroad, you might have even bigger worries in this respect.

However, you should know that the police in Norway are quite relaxed and would rather not resort to force if push came to shove.

Realistically, you shouldn’t have any concerns about your property getting seized. If you’ve engaged in criminal activity or not paid your taxes, you’ll probably have issues — but you’re probably fine if you’ve stayed on the right side of the law.

Buying A House In Norway

Does property appreciate in Norway?

Property appreciation requires several factors, but having a good economic situation is one. Buying a house in Norway is hugely tempting, mainly because the country has a thriving economy that also looks like it will be stable for the foreseeable future.

As such, prices across the country are rising.

The pros and cons of buying property in Norway are varied. One of the biggest benefits is that Norwegian housing is generally of excellent quality, and you can expect your home’s value to increase over time in most instances.

Of course, you’re responsible for some of this; you’ll need to keep everything in good shape so that it has a high resale value. You’ll also need to consider where you live, as some parts of the country have higher levels of appreciation — as we’ll discuss in the subsection below.

If we refer back to the Statista research mentioned earlier in this article, average property prices rose in Norway between February 2021 and 2022 from 4,100,901 NOK to 4,244,759. Tromsø saw a pretty significant jump, as did Oslo.

What are the areas with the highest appreciation?

Unsurprisingly, Oslo has one of the highest rises in house prices. The Norwegian capital has grown significantly in recent years and is one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities.

Over the past few decades, the city’s population rise has shown an upward trend; by 2035, 1.35 million people are expected to call the metropolitan Oslo area home.

In the 12 months between February 2021 and February 2022, housing prices in the Norwegian capital increased from an average of 5,892,116 NOK to the 6.128 million NOK figure we mentioned earlier in this article.

Further north, Tromsø’s housing prices have also jumped significantly. The cost to buy property in Norway’s main arctic city jumped by over 600,000 NOK in the 12 months up to February 2022, and that trend will probably show a continued upward trend in years to come.

Percentages

We can look at Statistics Norway for a deeper breakdown across the whole country. Between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022, the price index for existing dwellings rose by 7.1%. Where was that growth proportionately, higher, though?

Trondheim saw a huge price index jump of 11.4% in the time period mentioned above, and Trøndelag County, in general, was also high on the property appreciation index. Houses in the region (excluding Trondheim) rose by 7.9% in value from the first quarter of 2021 to the same stage in 2022.

Nord-Norge, which includes the counties of Vestfold og Telemark — along with Troms og Finnmark and Nordland — also saw a significant appreciation rise between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022. In this period, housing appreciation rose by 8.6% across these counties; Tromsø is in Troms og Finnmark.

Regions close to the Norwegian capital also saw a significant increase in housing price indexes from 2021 to 2022. For Vestfold og Telemark and Viken (excl. Akershus), the percentage for existing dwellings was slightly lower than Northern Norway at 8.5%.

Norway’s oil industry remains as important as ever, but the truth is that Stavanger has plenty of charms that make it worth living in — even if you aren’t working in that particular sector.

The iconic Lysefjord is within touching distance, and the pretty old town — plus its nearby islands — makes it a popular destination for expats, locals, and travelers.

Factoring all of this in, the price index for existing dwellings unsurprisingly increased between 2021 and 2022. The figure stood at 8.3%, which was higher than the Agder and Rogaland region, excluding the city (7.3%).

Interestingly, the regions surrounding Bergen saw a higher price index increase than the city itself. While Bergen stood at 6.3% in this respect, Vestland and Møre og Romsdal, excluding the city, was 7.4%.

Another interesting revelation from Statistics Norway’s published research is that while house prices in Oslo rose by a reasonable amount between 2021 and 2022, the price index for existing dwellings wasn’t that high.

In Oslo and Bærum, the figure was 5.6% — which was the lowest for all of Norway. Meanwhile, Akershus (excluding Bærum) was 6.1%.

If we look at the whole of Norway, the price index increase for existing dwellings was 7.1% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022.

Buying A House In Norway

Can I rent out my house to other people in Norway?

One of the reasons you might consider looking at a property is so you can get involved in real estate in Norway. Housing is in high demand thanks to a prosperous job market and plenty of students from Norway and abroad, but is it possible to rent your house to other people in the country?

If you rent a property, you aren’t allowed to let or sublet your home or apartment without the landlord’s consent — and that includes things like Airbnb listings. However, the rules for an owned property are a little different; we’ll do our best to explain them in simple terms.

If you’ve bought a house in Norway, you can let it to others. You will need to declare your rental income to the tax authorities, which will sometimes count as capital gains; in this instance, you’ll pay 22%. However, you will sometimes need to pay business tax instead — and that can soar as high as 50.6%.

You can let your property in several ways, with options available for both homes you own and holiday homes.

The Norwegian tax authorities have an in-depth page with everything you need to know about letting your property, and we recommend looking through it all — and contacting an expert — to ensure you remain compliant with local regulations.

When renting your property in Norway, you should get a deposit from your tenants and make sure they’re in a good position for you to let it to them.

Where can I find real estate listings in Norway?

If you’ve read this far and you’re still keen on buying a house in Norway, you’ll find plenty of places to do so. FINN.no is the main place to find a home or apartment to rent or buy in the country, and you’ll find listings for multiple regions — including all of the main cities.

When using FINN.no, you can find places for sale in Norway by going to Eiendom > Bolig til Salgs. Scroll down to “Område” (Area) on the left-hand toolbar to choose the regions to which you want to narrow your search.

As for a Norwegian real estate website in English, the majority aren’t as varied — so we recommend going for FINN.

Buying A House In Norway

Norway is a great place to live!

If you’re thinking about moving to Norway, or you’ve already received a job offer from a Norwegian company, congratulations! You’re about to enjoy a standard of living that few countries on the planet can replicate, and you’ll have beautiful nature almost everywhere you go as well.

With connections to other parts of Scandinavia and Europe from Oslo’s main airport, you’re in a great position to travel as well. Buying a house in Norway is expensive, but it’s worth it if you want to move or retire here.

Now that you know how to buy a house in Norway, you’re ready to start searching. You’ll find plenty of properties in and around Oslo, but other cities are arguably even more charming — and you can enjoy a peaceful life while not skimping on the urban side of things.

Are you still struggling to determine where you want to live in Norway? Don’t worry — we’ve created an indispensable guide, outlining the best places to live in the country. Scroll through your options and decide which city best fits your personality, job opportunities, and preferences.

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