Housing prices rise once again

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Housing prices in Norway have risen 6.6 percent since July 2009, given average sales contracts last month, and that’s without speculators boosting the market.

Figures from the national real estate brokers association Eiendomsmeglerforetakenes Forening indicate that prices dipped 1.5 percent from June to July, but rose at roughly three times the inflation rate year-on-year.

A price decline is common in Norway in July, when most Norwegians take summer holidays and the market slows down. Homebuilder OBOS, for example, said July sales were half those in June, while square-meter prices rose slightly to an average NOK 35,571. That’s up 5.9 percent since January.

Owner-occupants on the rise
Brokers also report that buyers are now mostly people who actually intend to live in the properties under negotiation, and not speculators hoping for quick profits on resale.

“The general price development shows that we have a market that functions like a real housing market, and to a lesser degree as a short-term, speculative market,” Terje Buraas, chairman of the brokers’ group, told newspaper Aftenposten. “People are buying a home to live in, not just to invest in.”

Properties in Stavanger and Oslo are among the most expensive, while those in Bergen and Trondheim sold most quickly, at an average 25 days from advertising to sale. Nationwide, the average sales time was around 30 days.

New help from home
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that more parents are helping their children buy homes. Young Norwegians are generally considered independent from the age of 18 and don’t traditionally rely on parental support, or want to, either for their college educations or their first homes. But loans have become harder to get and many young, first-time homebuyers are having to borrow from their parents, have them co-sign the loan or even accept cash gifts.

Brokers told DN they’re seeing more parents coming along on property showings. “We’re hearing a lot of ‘Mama, what do you think of this?’ and ‘Papa, do you also think this is nice?'” broker Anne Aartun told DN, which called the parental participation a new “phenomenon” in Norway but mostly limited to the higher-income areas in west Oslo and downtown.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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