Housing prices hit new heights

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The price of luxury living in Norway broke a new record this week, when news emerged that an affluent buyer had paid NOK 120 million (around USD 18 million) for a penthouse at Tjuvholmen, the waterfront complex under development in Oslo.

Waterfront living at Tjuvholmen is attracting record high prices for flats, especially for a penthouse under construction to the west of this canal at the complex. PHOTO: Views and News

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) could report that the buyer, who hasn’t been identified as yet, was paying NOK 170,000 (USD 28,000) per square meter for the flat, which includes the entire top floor of a new building under construction at the tip of Tjuvholmen, called Kavringen Brygge.

The penthouse is the product of four flats consolidated on the fifth floor of the building, for a total of 700 square meters, plus another 130 meters on the roof level with an adjacent roof terrace complete with swimming pool. A separate flat on the fourth floor will also be connected to the penthouse, which will include several living rooms, a library, five bedrooms, the pool, a massage room and what DN called the “gigantic” roof terrace overlooking the Oslo Fjord.

“I can say in general terms that it will be spectacular,” architect Torstein Ramberg told DN. “The unique thing is that it will be at the outermost tip of Tjuvholmen, with the sea on both sides. The idea was to exploit the fantastic light out there on the water to the maximum.” He wouldn’t identify his client, nor would Tjuvholmen managing director Gunnar Bøyum, claiming “we never comment on individual transactions.”

He did say that most of the buyers now live in west Oslo, Bærum and the Nordstrand area on Oslo’s southeast side, known for its pricey villas.

All told, Tjuvholmen sold luxury flats, called leiligheter (“lye-lee-hetter”) in Norwegian, for NOK 940 million last year. Fully 10 percent of them were priced at more than NOK 20 million. The most expensive will be located in the Kavringen Brygge building, which will house a total of 22 flats and be completed in 2013.

Bøyum was quick to stress, however, that “it won’t only be millionaires living here,” with some flats set aside at lower price levels even though “it’s more expensive to build out over the water.” He said 10 percent have been sold for less than NOK 4 million (USD 660,000).

Brisk sales elsewhere, too
Sales of more conventional properties elsewhere in Oslo also were yielding strong prices, even in the relatively quiet month of January. Newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday that bidding rounds have been brisk, driving up prices well over their appraised values.

One flat on busy Waldemar Thranes gate in the St Hanshaugen district, for example, was priced at NOK 3.9 million for 105 square meters. It sold for NOK 4.7 million. Another small flat of 32 square meters (around 320 square feet) in a modest block at Majorstuen was priced at NOK 1.19 million and sold for NOK 1.585 million, almost 50 percent over takst (appraisal).

Single-family homes and row houses are also selling well and quickly. One 137-square-meter row house at Munkerud, in need of renovation, had sold for NOK 4.4 million in the spring of 2009. The new owner only made some cosmetic improvements, and buyers were warned the house needs new windows and a new roof. It was priced at NOK 4.89 million, yielding a decent gain for the seller, but ended up selling for NOK 5.7 million after 10 bidders competed for it.

Brokers explained the high prices by a lack of inventory. “There are few properties out there and many buyers,” Odd Nymark of Eiendomsmegler 1 told Aftenposten.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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