Updated 2 months ago

Finding accommodation will be one of your biggest priorities on moving to Stockholm. Here is how to proceed.

With a population of 1.2 million, Stockholm is not only the country's biggest city but also its most densely populated one — and the fastest-growing in Europe. A global tech and talent hub, Stockholm attracts expats as it provides many professional opportunities and appealing wages. At the same time though, finding an apartment in Stockholm is much harder than in other Swedish cities, as well as more expensive.

The housing market in Stockholm

The housing market in Stockholm is extremely competitive. Finding first-hand rental is nearly impossible, as there is a housing queue you will need to register to and the waiting period can take up to several years (!) before you are placed in an apartment. As a result of that, people in Stockholm rent second-hand, i.e. renting the accommodation from the current tenant, with the owner's consent. Since even renting second-hand will take some time, good alternatives in the meantime include renting short-term, flat-sharing or co-living.

Rent prices are rather high: you advised to preserve at least 50% of your monthly salary to pay rent. For instance, you will need an average of 8,000-13,000 SEK (800-1,300 euros) for a regular studio apartment, and around 16,000-27,000 SEK (1,600-2,700 euros) for a three-bedroom apartment in a popular neighbourhood. These prices usually exclude monthly charges such as electricity and water bills. Note, on the other hand, that most rentals are rent-controlled in Stockholm, so you should not expect any increase in your rent.

 Good to know: As the area has a great public transport system, many people find it better (and less expensive) to live in smaller towns or outskirts and commute to work to Stockholm every day.

Districts & neighbourhoods in Stockholm

As one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities, many housing units in Stockholm are quite old, especially in Gamla Stan; the old city. You should be aware that Gamla Stan is one of Stockholm’s most beautiful and coveted neighbourhoods and it’s extremely difficult to find housing there. Equally posh are Norrmalm, home to the Royal Opera and many boutiques and department stores, and Ostermalm, which has been compared to New York’s Upper East Side.

Other popular areas include Södermalm and Vasastan. Indeed, most of the expat community in Stockholm has preferred these areas due to the availability of housing and the proximity of essential services and facilities such as schools, public transport, offices, etc. Södermalm is considered Stockholm’s most hip and alternative area: here, you can find a diverse range of housing, from centuries-old cottages to Art Nouveau apartments. Vasastan is also quite popular with expats, due to its many second-hand shops, a variety of bars and restaurants and lively atmosphere.

How to find accommodation in Stockholm

As it has been already mentioned, if you are planning to settle in Stockholm you will have to be very patient and plan your move well in advance. Word of mouth is no doubt a useful tool when it comes to housing search, so feel free to ask your friends and contacts on the spot regarding any vacant housing units. There are also Facebook groups you can join so that you get notifications once something is available.

You may also check out classified ads on housing websites and in local newspapers. Some housing websites actually do a lot more than just featuring ads and can actively assist you in things such as building an online profile that will help set you apart as a good candidate, managing rental agreements, signing the lease etc. Some of these services, like Qasa, are free, while others, like Bostad Direkt require a fee. Consider also registering with a real estate agency which can find you help the ideal accommodation according to your needs and budget.

 Good to know: Since the start-up and tech communities have become so prominent in Stockholm, the trend of co-living (as well as co-working) is currently on the rise. Initiatives like Tech Farm have several properties in Stockholm, where you can rent a private or shared room in a big house and co-live with communities of like-minded individuals. This way of living is also great for networking and business opportunities. Of course, if you have a family or pets, this option may not be for you.

 Useful links:

The Stockholm Housing Agency
Move to Stockholm
Regional rent and tenancies tribunals
Hyra bostad

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