Traditionally rental accommodation is more common in Sweden, as legal conditions are very favourable for tenants. However, the regulation and restrictions in the rental market mean that waiting lists are extremely long. It is often easier and quicker to buy a property than to rent one. Many expats choose to buy rather than be forced to change apartment regularly in arrangements where they are sub-letting their home.
House prices vary greatly across the country. Prices in the larger cities are substantially higher than those in the more sparsely populated areas of northern Sweden. Areas in southern Sweden such as Falsterbo, near Malmö (one of Sweden’s three officially recognized metropolitan areas) and the university town of Lund, are popular destinations for those choosing to move to Sweden. A three-bedroom house will cost around €350,000. Other popular, hence more costly, destinations are Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö. If you are looking for a cheaper purchase, the less populated regions of the north are your best bet; a property on a lake in the calm of the north, for example, could cost as little as €25,000.
You can find properties by just looking around or using an estate agent. There are no legal restrictions on foreigners buying property in Sweden. The most common way of buying property in Sweden is through an estate agent.
Visits usually take place on Sunday afternoons and last 30 minutes to an hour. Do not be surprised if you find yourself viewing an apartment along with 10 or 20 other people as viewings are nearly always held in groups. If you are seriously interested in a property, you can ask for a private viewing during the bidding process.
Properties are sold by bidding. The seller and his estate agent set a basic price and a few days after the viewing the bidding process opens. There are no legal regulations on this process and prices can rise rapidly. It is easy to get carried away during the bidding, so try to fix a limit and to agree with your bank on how much you can spend before the process starts. Once the seller is satisfied with an offer, a contract is signed with the winning bidder. The contract is the only legally binding document, so keep going until you have signed it. The whole process does not take more than a few weeks, and a single week is often enough to finish the whole buying/selling process.
When you buy a Swedish property, especially if it is an apartment, try to get some information about the tenant-owner association (Bostadsrätsförening), in charge of your prospective property. These associations are extremely important, as they will help you if you have problems with your neighbours or if you want to lease your property.