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EUROSTAT

Ten things in Norway that are actually quite cheap

Norway is more expensive overall than any country in the EU, but some things are surprisingly good value.

Ten things in Norway that are actually quite cheap
Nappies are cheaper in Norway than almost anywhere in the world. Photo: Shutterstock

We asked our readers what things they are think are, if not a bargain then at least fairly reasonable in Norway. Here is what you told us. 

1. Diapers/nappies. 

Whatever you call them, Norway has some of the cheapest in Europe. “Diapers are way cheaper here than in the states,” says Mehgen Jean. “Diapers are the cheapest I've seen anywhere!!” agrees Molly McDonald.

Rather than being the result of a government program, this is mostly down to the free market. 

After the Kiwi supermarket chain 20 years ago started to heavily discount nappies to draw in families, an on-and-off price war between the chains has led to some of the cheapest nappy prices in Europe. Nappies continue to be supermarket's favoured loss-leader.

Someone even wrote a Masters' Thesis on it, and the resulting 'diaper-smuggling' gangs. 

 

2. Electric cars 

Researchers for the International Council for Clean Transportation found in a report last year that the Norway's generous tax breaks for electric cars make them 27% cheaper to buy and run over four years than a diesel car.

This compares to the UK, where electric cars are only 5% cheaper, Germany, where electric cars were 11% cheaper, and The Netherlands, where they are 15% cheaper. 

A lot of this came down to the higher taxes on diesel vehicles.

But after VAT and registration tax, the researchers found that a VW e-golf sold in Norway for about €34,000, compared to  €36,000 in Germany and the UK,  €39,000 in The Netherlandsm and €40,000 in France.

Some of the tax advantages for electric vehicles are set to expire next year, so snap one up while you can! 

 

3. Salmon and sushi

As the source of much of the world's farmed salmon, it would be surprising if salmon was not cheap. But foreigners living in Norway seemed divided over whether it actually is. 

“Sushi is like half the cost of LA,” claims Sean Stordahl Percival. “Is salmon cheap though, really? I'm sure Salma's more expensive than in the UK,”  questions Russell Morgan, while Ivete Leite Magalhaes claims she's seen Norwegian salmon sold cheaper in Portugal. 

4. Electricity 

“Norway wouldn't be the same without its cheap electricity,” says Viktor Šafář. In the second half of 2019, power in Norway, at €0.1744/kWh, was cheaper than the average in EU countries of €0.216/kWh and a lot cheaper than in Denmark, which at €0.2924/kWh has the most expensive power in Europe. 

5. Gyms and sport

“Going to the gym is pretty inexpensive.. a little more than an hourly wage for a monthly fee,” says Johan Gerdin, from Sweden. “In the US we pay so much for gyms,” agrees Aslan Williams. 

Football pitches are free and sports clubs for squash, tennis etc are usually cheap. 

6. Mooring a boat 

“Renting a mooring for a boat in central Oslo through a båtforening,” says Ben McPherson. “Less than £300 a year, for something that would cost you thousands in the UK.” 

7. Renting (or buying a cabin). 

“Renting cabins and really cool Airbnb’s are often cheaper than they would be somewhere else!” says Aslan Williams. 

8. Housing

“Actually, weird as it may sound, but houses!” argues Mark Courtney Francombe, a graphic designer from the UK. “I know many folk in the UK who rent, houses/or apartments at about the same price as in Norway, they just cant get on the ladder. Here… if you have any kind of OK full time job, you will, with careful planning, and a good relationship with a bank, afford to buy, something, somewhere. Maybe not Oslo Sentrum, but somewhere.” 

“Rent in Oslo is much cheaper or the same price as towns or cities in he UK and I’m sure London is much much more although I’ve never lived there,” says Madeleine Hill. 

9. Internet and mobile phone contracts 

“Mobile service and home internet is insanely more affordable here,” says Alex Macdonald from Canada. “We pay up to 4x more at home and have to pay long distance fees usually for anyone you call who lives more than an hour away.” 

People from countries in Southeast Asia, or indeed from many countries in the European Union, might disagree however. 

10. Second hand sports equipment 

Norwegians love flea markets and buy a lot of sports equipment, meaning that its easy to buy cross-country skis, mountain bikes and other outdoor sports gear second hand, either on the website finn.no or at flea markets all over the country.  

Other respondents' suggestions 

Other things that foreigners suggested weren't too pricey included: canned tuna, tinned mackerel, public transport, electronics, milk, instant coffee, almonds at Christmas, McDonalds cheeseburgers, supermarket sweets, motorbikes, vegan skincare, knitting wool, Maille Dijon mustard, Tacobox, coop frozen pizza, loff bread, baked goods through the Too Good to Go app, disposable barbecues, tap water, and fresh air. 

Things in Norway that are free. 

It's probably worth remembering that many of the best things you can do in Norway don't cost anything at all.

“Being able to camp two nights more or less wherever you like as long as its 150m from a house,” is, says Simon Orchard, a former British army soldier, worth quite a lot, particularly when so many of the places you can camp are so stunning.

Then there's the cross-country skiing trails, mountain tracks and subsidised ferries. 

And OK, so it's mostly funded by your taxes, but cheap, high-quality kindergartens are one of the best things about living in Norway, as is the high-quality healthcare, libraries and everything else laid on by the country's generous welfare state. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOUSING

Property in Norway: Prices rise nationwide but fall in Oslo

The price of a property rose 1.2 percent across Norway in March but fell by same the amount in the capital Oslo. Overall house prices are now 12 percent higher than they were a year ago.

Property in Norway: Prices rise nationwide but fall in Oslo
Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

The growth is just over one percent higher than what is considered average growth according to new figures from real estate organisation Eiendom Norge.

A house sold on the market in March took 43 days to sell, over a week shorter than the month before when it took an average of 51 days

Figures show that less people currently own a home due to rising house prices. According to Statistics Norway the proportion of tenants has increased by around one percent.

This growth in house prices is not expected to last much longer, however.

“With the increased supply we have seen in March, inflation will probably slow down somewhat towards the summer,” CEO of Eiendom Norge, Hennig Lauridsen said at a press conference.

Nejra Macic chief economist at the Forecast Centre, an independent market analysis company, told state broadcaster NRK that she believes March may be the last month where house prices rise in Norway.

“If it is not March (the last month with growth), we do not think it will be long. We have covered most of the growth this year,” she said

Kari Due Andersen, chief economist at Handelsbanken, agrees with this and believes that due to floating mortgage rates house price growth will soon slow down.  

“It is a rule of thumb that says that the mortgage rate that people have in the bank is on average 2 percentage points higher than interest rates. That is because the banks adjust the key policy rate to costs. When the key policy rate rises, so does the mortgage rate. Then a mortgage becomes more expensive, and many have floating interest rates. It is a factor that will contribute to house price growth slowing down, and that households will wait,” she told NRK.

Despite the fall in March, house prices in Oslo are still up 15.6 percent compared to last year. Grethe W. Meier, CEO, of Privatmegleren, told online news site Nettavisen that the drop was not concerning.

“I think it is important to see February and March together. In addition, in March, the proportion of small apartments fell. It is probably these apartments that have been driving the price up, and they are more volatile. When that share has fallen it helps to lower prices,” she said.

READ MORE: Property in Norway: What to expect if you’re buying a home in Oslo

Those looking to buy a home received warning from Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, that interest rates could rise this autumn rather than next spring.

“It has helped that people have understood that the bottom has been reached for mortgage rates, and that there is only one way interest rates will go in the future. When it downs on people that interest rates will rise then house price expectations will also weaken. Then there will be an increasing number of people who will sell before they want to buy. Then the pressure and bidding wars will disappear. But it will take time and will not change overnight,” said Macic.

House prices March also rose in Norways other biggest cities 

  • In Stavanger, the increase was 0.7 percent. Prices are up 7.9 percent in the past twelve months
  • In Bergen, prices rose by 3.0 percent, and have increased 12.7 percent in the last 12 months
  • In Trondheim, prices were up 2.2 percent and have risen 10.6 percent in the past 12 months. 

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