Buying real estate in Oslo

property in Oslo
Updated 2019-10-08 15:13

House prices in Oslo have been on the rise for the past decade, and although the market is beginning to stabilize, the housing market remains competitive. Not unlike property prices in other Scandinavian capitals, acquiring property in and around the city centre of Oslo is pricey.

Regulations for buying property in Oslo

Expats with a residence permit in Norway are able to purchase property right away. In fact, foreigners without a residence permit can buy property in Norway although the process will be lengthier and the services of a knowledgeable property agent are strongly advised.

Expats staying in Norway can apply for a mortgage approval from their local bank. Interest rates are generally low, and there are start loans and financial assistance available from the local municipality.

Types of property in Oslo

Oslo is a big city, and the Greater Oslo Region comprises several municipalities with suburban areas. From apartments and high-rise buildings in the centre of Oslo to shared housing options and stand-alone townhouses in the outer suburbs, there is a wide variety of properties available for purchase in this international city.

Starting the property search in Oslo

Buying a property in Oslo requires a significant amount of planning. The first step is to set up a budget and get an idea of how much you are able to spend. Use a local home mortgage calculator for amounts related to your personal requirements.

Once you have an idea of the desired loan amount, you can start to apply for a ‘boliglån' (house loan). It's a good idea to apply for a loan at several banks since mortgages can be competitive – in fact, you can even take offers from different banks to your own bank to try and argue for lower interest rates.

Once you have secured financing in the form of a loan certificate (a written guarantee from the bank that you have a mortgage in place), you can start looking at properties. is the best place to start your search. It is a database that includes almost all of the properties advertised on the independent real estate websites. Unfortunately, the website is only available in Norwegian, so it is a good idea to get familiar with Norwegian housing terms and the process of buying a property.

Types of ownership in Oslo

It is important to understand the different types of ownership before purchasing a property in Oslo. A self-owned house is generally more expensive with lower common costs (‘fellesgjeld'), while shared ownership properties are favoured by those with high disposable incomes but low liquidity.

  • Eier/Selveier: purchasing a ‘selveier' property means that the property is fully controlled by the owner. A document fee of 2.5% of the purchase price is charged with the sale of this type of property.
  • Andel: purchasing an ‘andel' property refers to buying a share in a house with a smaller purchase price but larger monthly fees. These types of properties are usually part of a housing association and owners must adhere to the cooperative housing rules. No document fee is charged.
  • Aksjeleilighet: translated as equity ownership, this type of property is basically rented out from the housing stock company, and the owner becomes one of the shareholders. No document fee is charged

The bidding process

Properties in Norway usually have a viewing time of one hour on a set date when anyone can drop by to view the place and ask questions to the agent and/or owner. The bidding round for properties is opened on the following day. Bids can be put in digitally or by mailing the agent; bids are binding, and bidding on a property when you don't have the funds can result in major fines.

The bidding round is usually fast-paced and highly competitive. Decide before the time what your maximum bid is and try to place it strategically before the deadline so as not to drive up the price higher than you are willing to pay. The highest bidder within the set timeframe wins.

Does it sound intimidating? Perhaps it would be better to rent a property in Oslo first.

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