There are plenty of people who dream of relocation to Norway to start a new life here, or just to enjoy their retirement in an incredible country with lots of amazing nature. How about waking up in your home in Lofoten to see the northern lights, or maybe you’d rather live in a small, Norwegian village surrounded by the incredible nature on all sides?
People who relocated to Norway will want to buy a house, but what’s the housing market like in Norway, and can even foreigners buy a property in Norway?
Anyone can buy a property in Norway, including foreigners and foreign companies. However, owning a property will not increase the speed or chances of getting Norwegian citizenship, or give you rights to come to your property if you cannot otherwise access Norway.
So feel free to buy a property, but don’t expect to gain any rights from it. The housing market is unregulated, and it’s very “money talk” kind of vibe, so put in the biggest offer, and the property is yours.
However, there are some laws that you will need to follow when buying a property in Norway, such as the money laundering laws, “boplikt” / residency requirement and other laws that regulate properties and its financing.
Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to buy a property in Norway as a foreigner.
Anyone can buy a property in Norway if they got the money
The property market in Norway is completely unregulated, so anyone can buy any property they want to. Just like most countries you typically put an offer on a property, and it’s up to the sellers if they choose to accept it, or wait for a better offer.
The sellers won’t care if the offer is from foreigners or Norwegians, and it’s money that rule. You will not need to be a Norwegian citizen or live in Norway to buy a property, and you can even make long-distance offers from other parts of the world if you feel like it.
There are foreign companies who buy up properties in Norway to rent out without actually operating in Norway, so there’s certainly no need for even a small connection to Norway to be able to buy properties here.
Does buying a Norwegian property give you any rights?
Owners of a property in Norway has the private property rights, but buying a property as a foreigner does not really give you any benefits or additional rights when it comes to visas, citizenship or entry to the country.
Even if you own a house, you will still need to apply for citizenship by the same grounds as everyone else, and are subject to exactly the same laws as people who are renting a place to live, or are living in another country.
Some examples of special requirements and permits needed for buying certain properties
Most properties and houses in Norway are unregulated, but there are a few small exceptions where owning a property will come with additional requirements and responsibilities.
These are pretty rare, but we’re going to go over them to give you an idea what they are like.
Residency requirement / “boplikt”
The residency requirement is a special law set by each municipality in a certain area or region that requires people who own the house to actually have someone live there.
The laws behind the residency requirement are pretty difficult to fully understand, but the short summary is that you are supposed to live there for at least 5 years, and not use the property as a cabin or second home.
This residency requirement is pretty often seen in popular cabin areas where the municipality want to lower the housing prices of the people actually living there, and preventing rich cabin owners to just buy cheap houses to use as a recreational home.
Hereditary right of inheritance
The hereditary right of inheritance is used on farms where the firstborn of the previous owner is legally allowed to buy the house for the same amount of money as the highest bidder.
This is to allow the farm to stay in the family line. You only see the hereditary right of inheritance rule on farm properties, and they are pretty uncommon these days since it’s a legacy law that only applies to old farms who haven’t yet broken the hereditary right of inheritance.
Requirement to farm the land
Farms can also come with a requirement to farm the attached land if you buy the property. This is actually pretty common for most farms, but it’s very easy to get around it by renting out the farm areas.
Some even buy the farm just for living there, then give the rights to farm the land away to someone who wants to have a bigger area to farm. It’s typically very easy to rent out the farmlands, especially if you are not looking to make a lot of money from it.
Where to find properties and houses for sale in Norway
It’s actually pretty easy to find all properties and houses for sale in Norway, because 99 % of all properties for sale are listed at Finn.no. This is a Norwegian website that is only avilable in Norwegian, so finding a property is done by:
- Go to Finn.no.
- Click on Eiendom (Norwegian for property).
- Choose either Bolig til salgs (Houses for sale) or Fritidsbolig til salgs (Cabins for sale).
- Choose your region and municipality in the area called Område on the lefthand side.
- Find an interesting property.
And that’s pretty much it. Each property will have some written details on it, as well as a telephone number to the realtor. So give the realtor a call if you are interested in the property and want to ask questions, or maybe even want a visit to see the property for yourself.
Property tax in Norway
Each Norwegian municipality has the right to choose if they want property tax or not, but it’s becoming very common for municipalities to have it. The property tax can be as high as 0.0004 % of the property’s value, and the max property tax is set by the government.
While this might seem like a very low number, there are some tidbits to how the value is set that kind of makes it difficult to determine exactly how much you can expect to pay.
Don’t be surprised to pay around 10,000 NOK is property tax per year if you own a regular Norwegian house worth 3 – 4 million NOK.
How much does a house in Norway cost?
Norway is a big country with a pretty big variation in the property values, but you should expect to pay 2,000,000 NOK or more for a house in rural areas, or 3 million or more in small cities.
Houses inside the big cities like Oslo or Bergen can be extremely expensive, and don’t be surprised to find them costing 6,000,000 NOK or more for a regular house.
Read more: All about Norwegian house prices.
That said, you can often find decent houses for sale for around 2 million Norwegian kroner if you are willing to live a short distance from the city center in most cities and towns (with the exception of the five biggest cities).
Most people pay their houses by getting a mortgage here in Norway, but you are required by law to have at least 15 % of the mortgage amount before you can get a loan. You must also be able to prove that these 15 % are from a legal income, which can be a bit tricky if you have had them saved up for a long time in a foreign bank.