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Finding housing in Norway

Most foreigners who relocate to Norway typically rent before purchasing a property. This allows you to better understand the region you’re moving to before having to dive into the very competitive real estate market. Therein lies the problem: Norway is a “buyer’s market” with the majority of native Norwegians owning property. In fact, many Norwegians own several properties, and it’s not uncommon for even young Norwegian adults to own an apartment.

That can actually be helpful for renters because it makes the rental market much less competitive for them. That being said, there is not a huge amount of inventory available, and in markets such as Oslo the best places do go quickly.

To get you started here are three good options for finding housing:

  • Finn.no is Norway’s largest classified website has perhaps the largest amounts of rental available. Setup alerts to get notified when new rentals come on the market.
  • Hybel.no is another housing website that focuses primarily on the renter market with all content available in English. This is mainly for student housing.
  • Friends and coworkers: Another great option for finding a place is to simply ask your Norwegian friends and colleagues. Often, they know of rentals that are yet to be posted. As a bonus you might be a familiar neighbor, although thanks to Norwegians’ general shyness you’ll probably never actually have to talk to them.

There are many other considerations when renting in Norway, but it’s worth noting the biggest shock to new arrivals is often the large deposit required to rent a place. Typically, this amounts to three months’ rent and must be paid before you move in. The deposit is held in an escrow account and returned to you after you vacate the apartment. This is in addition to paying the first month’s rent as well.

If you’re on a smaller budget, a college student, or just want to be more social, then you might want to consider moving into a collective (known as kollektiv or bokollektiv). This is where a few residents come together to rent one large place. Typically, everyone gets their own bedroom but areas like the kitchen are shared spaces.


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