The latest statistics for housing sales in Norway show that prices have indeed tumbled during the past month. In Oslo, the price fall was more than expected, and marked the weakest month of May in 14 years.
Housing prices fell an average of 0.7 percent from April on a national basis in May, but were still up 7.8 percent since New Year and 8.3 percent since May of last year. In Oslo, average prices fell 1.4 percent from the month before, but were still running ahead of last year. Prices have been coming down since February, when price growth compared to 12 months earlier topped out at 13 percent.
“This is the weakest May we’ve had since 2003,” Christian Dreyer, head of the real estate brokers’ organization Eiendom Norge told state broadcaster NRK. “Housing price growth is abnormally weak.”
New, stricter lending rules clicked in from January 1, at the same time there’s been a homebuilding boom, and that’s widely credited for the downturn aimed at halting double-digit price rises in the Oslo area. Many view the housing market slowdown as good news, since prices had risen so fast and so high that affordability is a major problem.
Prices were rising again, meanwhile, in Stavanger but that also was viewed as good economic news. Stavanger was hard hit by the oil price collapse in 2014 and has suffered widespread layoffs and rising unemployment. Now the economy is recovering on the West Coast, with housing prices up 1 percent in Stavanger, 0.5 percent in Bergen, 0.3 percent in Kristiansand and 0.7 percent in Trondheim from April.