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Property latest: What’s the outlook for Norway’s housing market this Autumn?

As is the case in most of Europe, Norway's housing market is currently characterized by a lot of uncertainty. However, housing prices in the country are expected to fall this Autumn due to – among other things - cyclical patterns and the effect of rising interest rates.

Modern buildings Oslo
Photo by Hans Ott / Unsplash

After a year of rising housing prices in Norway, the market is starting to cool off a little. According to the latest Real Estate Norway data, house prices fell by 2.2 percent in September. Adjusted for seasonal variations, prices fell by 0.6 percent.

However, it is important not to overstate the decrease, as home prices in Norway are cyclical – they’re traditionally lower in the Autumn and Winter.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has left a mark on the real estate market, most experts still agree that falling prices should be the norm in October, November, and December.

This Autumn, price developments will also be characterized by a considerable level of uncertainty as the energy, security, and inflation crises continue to grip Norway, Scandinavia, and the Old Continent.

Housing market snapshot

Wondering how many homes are sold or how many homes are put for sale on the market each month? Curious about the average price and sale time for a home in Norway at the moment?

We’ve got you covered.

In September, 9,798 homes were sold in Norway, a 5.6 percent decrease compared to the corresponding month in 2021. At the same time, 11,716 homes were listed for sale, which is 17.3 percent more than in September 2021.

Furthermore, it took an average of 29 days to sell a home last month, according to Real Estate Norway.

The September statistics show that the number of properties on the market has registered a robust increase, while home sales have leveled off.

This points to a potentially lower home price trend in the months ahead.

Interest rate hikes

The fact that price developments in September were relatively weak in virtually all parts of the country – with the exception of Ålesund and the surrounding area – could indicate that the Central Bank’s (Norges Bank) interest rate hikes are beginning to work.

There are also other signals that Norway’s economy has started taking note of the monetary tools at Norges Bank’s disposal and broader crisis-related factors.

In its Tuesday forecast, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) announced that unemployment in Norway is set to increase in the months ahead as the economy continues to be affected by a shortage of goods, raw materials, and energy.

As activity levels in the Norwegian economy decline, growth in the workforce will likely level off.

The Norwegian economy is booming at the moment, but should this development reverse, it would also likely negatively affect housing prices in the short term.

Change expected in January

If prices continue to follow seasonal trends, expect to see them rise again from January due to the lack of properties on the market and as buyer interest starts growing.

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What to expect in the real estate market in Norway in 2023

Interest rate hikes, lower levels of housing construction projects, and the multiple crises in Norway and Europe have had a notable effect on the Norwegian real estate market. What should one expect in 2023? Here's what an expert thinks.

What to expect in the real estate market in Norway in 2023

Norway’s housing market is going through a very busy period, as is the case with the overall economy.

The country’s central bank (Norges Bank) has been aggressively increasing the key interest rate in an effort to cool down economic activity, and the policy has started to have an effect on housing prices.

According to the latest figures from Real Estate Norway (Eiendom Norge), housing prices in the country decreased by 1.9 percent from September to October. Adjusted for seasonal variations, the price decrease amounted to 0.8 percent on a national level.

READ MORE: What rising interest rates mean for Norway’s property market

Several important factors will affect the housing market in Norway before the year ends.

The Norwegian Ministry of Finance plans to assess the lending regulations in the country before January 1st, 2023, and the central bank will have its last interest rate meeting of the year in mid-December. Furthermore, a new Financial Contracts Act will come into force on January 1st.

Real Estate Norway expects the fall in real estate prices to continue throughout the year and believes that it is not unlikely that housing price developments in Norway will end at around 0 percent by the end of 2022.

What to expect in 2023

While the organization usually prepares a forecast for the housing market for the year ahead in December, The Local managed to get a few early predictions from the managing director of Real Estate Norway, Henning Lauridsen, in a phone call.

“The central bank estimates two rent hikes next year, both during the first half of the year. Therefore, housing prices will probably drop slightly in the first part of the year. We expect to see them rise again sometime after the summer of next year.

“Furthermore, we believe the number of sales in the market to be back to approximately the same level that we had before the pandemic, that is, that things will go back to normal,” Lauridsen told The Local.

New lending regulations

He also commented on the state’s upcoming assessment of the lending regulations, voicing his criticism of the lending regulation update proposed by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet), which, among other things, stipulates that banks should not grant loans if the customer’s total debt exceeds five times their annual income.

“We don’t believe the Financial Authority’s proposal will be accepted, and we hope it will be set aside. At the current level, we also don’t think there is a need for increased interest rates.

“We’re not sure what’s going to happen if we get stricter lending regulations on top of interest rates as high as they are going to be at the start of next year. It’s totally unnecessary, and most people won’t get as much in loans as they did half a year ago.

“The high interest rates are doing the (necessary) job on their own,” Lauridsen concluded.

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