Housing Shortage In Stockholm Leaves Thousands Waiting

Hammarby Sjöstad, Visit Stockholm, Mikael Sjöberg


Housing Shortage In Stockholm Leaves Thousands Waiting

With a population nearing 870,000, Stockholm is one of the most sought-after places to live in Sweden, if not the entire world.

However, with that intrigue, comes a catch. According to the New York Times, the city had to introduce a waiting list for those looking to rent within the city in 1997. That list has amassed more than 650,000 names, resulting in a wait of close to 30 years, depending on location.

From an outsider’s view, it seems residents might be pleased to live in such a coveted city, but that’s not entirely the case. Anna König Jerlmyr, the Mayor of Stockholm told the Times, “We need a new national housing reform. We need to have a conversation.”

The housing shortage is costing the city in a big way. According to the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the lack of accessible properties costs the city close to $12 billion a year. The chamber also estimates that the shortage has discouraged close to 150,000 people from relocating to the city since the 1990s.

In order to combat some of the issues surrounding the housing shortages, the city has turned to an introvert’s worst nightmare: group homes. In many cases, former hotels have been converted into massive dwellings capable of housing more than 50 people at a time. In what sounds more like a college dorm, these group homes include common areas, working rooms, shared kitchens and sleeping pods scattered about. There is one saving grace for those who have their own rooms: separate bathrooms.

And even with 49 roommates, prices aren’t cheap. According to the Times, “rents range from about $650 for a bunk in a six-person room to about $1,600 for the most expensive room.”

While group homes are a step in the right direction and provide many a chance to live in the city, Stockholm officials know they aren’t a viable, long-term solution to their housing shortage problems. Currently, planners and officials are working to provide more options to its current and prospective residents. Royal Seaport, a central Stockholm district, for example, is undergoing a massive redevelopment that aims to provide more housing and workplace options. According to its website, the area plans for at least 12,00 new homes and 35,000 workplaces by 2030.

It’s a start, but the 12,000 new homes in Royal Seaport will only provide housing to a fraction of the 650,000 people currently on the waiting list.

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