Norway is a beautiful country with plenty of opportunities for those who want to live there. If you’re thinking of making the move, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is the cost of housing.
But how much are houses in Norway? Are they expensive? And as a foreigner, can you buy a Norwegian home?
Don’t worry – we’ll take a look at the average cost of houses in Norway and give you an idea of what to expect.
How much are houses in Norway?
Norwegian real estate website Krogsveen states that the average price per square meter of homes in Norway is currently NOK 49,858, representing a 6.2% increase from the previous year. In addition, a separate study found that the average price for a house in Norway at the moment is NOK 4,244,759.
However, exact prices will, understandably, vary depending on in which city the house is located. For example, average Oslo house prices, as the capital of Norway, are the most expensive in the country. In fact, noting the average price per square meter for the whole country above, Krogsveen says that this same figure in Oslo only is NOK 86,639 – close to double the average price in the rest of Norway.
However, you may be surprised to hear that the study mentioned above found that the second most expensive city in Norway for housing is Tromsø, which is located above the Arctic Circle. That is, don’t necessarily expect to find cheap houses in Norway’s far north.
That study was done recently on the average price of residential housing in Norway based on each city. You can see the results below:
|Location||Average price (NOK)|
The same study notes that almost half of all properties sold last year were detached houses, showing a clear preference for this style of housing in Norway.
How much is a house in Norway in US dollars?
The average price per square meter of homes in Norway is currently the equivalent of USD 5,670, with the average house price in Norway being about USD 482,722. This increases in Oslo, though, where the average price is equivalent to USD 696,946.
Those prices may seem a bit more reasonable when put into US dollars, especially if you’re coming from somewhere overseas where housing prices have been out of control the last few years. That said, of course, the exact average amount of housing in a certain area will vary based on a number of factors, including the city (and where in the city) and the size and style of the house.
Specifically, if you’re coming from overseas and are expecting something like a McMansion, I’d suggest readjusting your expectations a bit. Houses in Norway are, in general, not as big as some may be used to back home in certain countries, including the US. This absolutely doesn’t mean they’re worse – if anything, it shows the benefit of not building big just for the sake of having that space that you don’t really need.
And as an added bonus, given that prices are often calculated by the square meter: a slightly smaller home means smaller costs!
Are houses expensive in Norway?
While Norway isn’t among the most expensive countries in the world for real estate, houses have become more expensive in recent years. Specifically, over the last year, real estate website Krogsveen found a 6.2% increase in Norwegian housing prices compared to the previous year.
That’s clearly quite a lot, although it may be worth mentioning that this was measured in the period coming out of what is hopefully the end of the pandemic, where housing prices worldwide have shot up.
Overall, though, houses are relatively expensive in Norway. This also reflects the high cost of living in Norway (the Norwegian stereotype on about how expensive the country is may not be far from the truth…). Norwegian salaries are among the highest in the world and the price of goods and services are often similarly high in line with this (just check out the prices of these Norwegian brands as an example). That includes housing.
Of course, as with any housing purchase, it’s important to consider the other costs involved in owning a house after you buy it. In particular, noting Norway’s often harsh climate, energy costs, particularly for heating, are always a big consideration.
The bigger the house, the higher your heating bill will likely be, so it’s important to balance that out in your budget. To be fair, at the time I’m writing this, energy prices in Europe are at record highs and while the Norwegian government has agreed to subsidize power bills to some extent, it’s still not cheap.
To be fair, most houses in Norway are built to withstand the cold. Well insulated walls and double paned glass are often the norm in many areas, which help to offset your heating bills. But that only makes it more important to check these things when considering whether to buy a home, as they can make a big difference to your wallet over time.
Can a foreigner buy a house in Norway?
Yes, foreigners are able to buy houses in Norway with no restrictions. The one exception is certain properties that require owners to reside there. This means that if you don’t live in Norway, you won’t be able to purchase one of these properties.
This is known as “boplikt” and mostly applies to farms or houses in areas that are seen as favorable for tourists to come and stay there. One of the goals of this policy is to ensure that by having people actually live in these sorts of places, prices aren’t pushed up too high by vacationers, meaning local people can no longer afford the area.
You can see a summary of how this works on Wikipedia here (in Norwegian).
As a foreigner, you’re also entitled to apply for a mortgage in Norway just the same as any Norwegian citizen. You may have to provide up to 25% of the purchase price yourself while also showing proof of a salary, but the exact requirements will vary based on the bank. It’s best to simply approach some banks to see what they can offer you so you can plan accordingly.
Is it cheaper to live in Norway or the US?
Overall, the cost of living in Norway is higher than in the US, although housing costs are either on par or even more expensive in many major metropolitan areas of the US. However, salaries are, on average, much higher in Norway, providing you with more purchasing power.
That said, as with any consideration of the question of the cost of housing, it really depends on where you live and what your salary is. A slightly cheaper house in an area with much lower salaries isn’t actually cheaper overall, given your purchasing power is similarly reduced.
Essentially, if you’re thinking about moving from the US to Norway (or from anywhere, really) and are wondering how much are houses in Norway compared to what you’re used to back home, you’ll need to look at your own personal circumstances. This includes what you’re paying for housing at the moment, what your salary will be in Norway and average prices of houses advertised in areas you’re interested in.
On the last point, finn.no is the biggest site for real estate in Norway. If you use Google Chrome, I’d suggest installing the Google Translate browser extension before starting your Norwegian real estate hunt, as it will automatically translate each page, making the overall process much easier.