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Living in Sweden ?

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Nathan Reed

Living in Sweden, from Canada

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Sweden at a Glance

Living in Sweden

Expat life in Sweden appeals to you? You aren’t alone! The quality of life attracts many expats every year. While the cost of living in Sweden may seem a bit steep, you get an amazing experience in return! Our guide to the “Land of the Midnight Sun” gives you a good idea of life in Sweden.

Spending their life in Sweden has become the dream of many expats. The excellent health and education systems are not the only reason to move to this part of Scandinavia. The country also impresses visitors and foreign employees alike with its breathtaking scenery. Many Swedish people live in a house by one of the many lakes and bays.

Sweden’s summers, although not the warmest, feature long, bright days while the winter season also has its romantic side. Living in Sweden’s north may bring a lot of darkness during those cold months, but it is also the site of the famous Aurora Borealis, the polar lights.

Sweden’s Housing Market

When you plan out your life in Sweden, make sure to give yourself enough time for the apartment hunt. The real estate market in bigger cities can prove to be particularly competitive. The living standards in Sweden are rather high, and apartments are often located close to schools, shops, and public transport.

You should expect about SEK 7,000-8,000 in monthly rent for an average 3-room apartment. The rent is, of course, a lot higher in upper-class, metropolitan areas. For everyday living expenses such as food, clothing, or your children’s education, you can expect another SEK 4,000-6,000 for a single person household.

"First-Hand" Rental Apartments

In Sweden, apartments can be rented with a first-hand or second-hand contract. It can be quite difficult to sign a first-hand contract without a Swedish personal identity number (personnumber) or a guaranteed income. If you get to score one of those contracts while living in Sweden, however, the contract will be between you and the owner of the building.

The usual way of finding a first-hand rental apartment is by registering with your municipality to be put on a waiting list. In larger cities, these waiting lists are extremely long and it can take several years before your municipality will consider you. Smaller towns or villages will make it easier for you, and you may get a first-hand rental apartment right away.

"Second-Hand" Rental Apartments

Second-hand rental contracts are much more common among foreigners living in Sweden than first-hand rentals. They are easier to find and you do not need a personal identity number and guaranteed income. Your rental agreement will then be signed between you and the owner of the apartment or the holder of first-hand rental contract.

While second-hand contracts are easier to come by for expats, you should still make sure to always sign a formal contract. Second-hand rental contracts are always between private individuals. You can search for apartments by typing hyra lägenhet (rent apartment), hyreslägenhet (rental apartment) or uthyres andra hand (second-hand rentals) in your search engine. Real estate agencies can be a great help as well.

InterNations Expat Magazine