Norwegian newspapers have been full of ads for holiday cabins in the mountains recently, a sure sign, along with closed schools in the Oslo area this week, that the annual høstferie (fall/autumn holiday season) is underway. Real estate brokers and sellers hoped the clear, sunny weather earlier in the week would also help boost buyer interest.
They can hardly be considered the simple, classic Norwegian “hytter” anymore, with all modern conveniences and pricetags of around NOK 5 million (USD 850,000), often much more. Norwegian buyers are far more interested in comfort than they were a generation ago, brokers report, and now another criterion is important: Driving time from where buyers live and work.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported recently on a study conducted by Prognosesenteret, the building industry’s leading marketing and analysis firm, showing that price, running water and electricity, travel time and views are currently the most important criteria for hytte buyers.
“Travel time steadily means more,” Bjørn-Erik Øye of Prognosesenteret told DN. He holds Norwegians’ real estate preferences under constant review, and says that few buyers are willing to buy property that takes more than three hours to reach. Shorter distances mean more ability to use their holiday homes, and more Norwegians now buy hytter for year-round use, not just as summer cottages by the sea or skiing retreats in the winter. And they want to use them on weekends, not just for extended vacations once a year.
Real estate brokers ran pages of ads for hytter on the market last week and this week, and for new projects under development, in the hopes that folks enjoying a traditional week of autumn holiday for hiking in the mountains would stop by for viewings. Developers of a large project at Høgevarde, just north of the popular Norefjell ski resort, about a two-hour drive from Oslo, think their location will help boost sales.
Meanwhile, those off on høstferie this week were able to enjoy brilliantly sunny weather and clear, crisp days for hiking and hunting. The weather was changing on Thursday, with some rain in the forecast but slightly warmer temperatures due over the weekend.
The fall holiday week is actually rooted in farmers’ needs for extra help at harvest time, and was initially known as potetferie (potato holiday) because children were let out of school to help pick potatoes. The Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo has been arranging what they call “genuine 1950s-era potetferie” events for those who didn’t travel to the mountains.