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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 

Find out what's going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local's short roundup of important news.     

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Norway unveils plans to offer Johnson & Johnson vaccine to volunteers 

Norway will offer the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to volunteers from June 15th, the government announced on Wednesday.  

This is despite various health authorities in the Nordic country advising the government that the risks outweigh the benefits. 

Strict conditions, including a medical consultation, will apply to anybody who wants to be vaccinated with the single-dose vaccine. 

Only certain people will be eligible for the vaccine, including those who need to travel to countries with high levels of infection, those who – for various reasons – are unable to wait their turn to be vaccinated, and those who have loved ones suffering from severe forms of cancer. 

Doctors will have the final say on who will receive the jab voluntarily. 

“The patient has the right to weigh in on the decision but cannot demand to receive the vaccine. Doctors will have the final say,” Health Minister Bent Høie told reporters at a press conference.

Neighbouring Denmark offers both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which Norway dropped entirely in May, to volunteers.

Face masks and WFH to continue in Oslo well into the summer 

Oslo will not be dropping face mask requirements or the advice for its citizens to work from home anytime soon, the capital’s executive mayor has said. 

“Face masks and the home office are some of the very last things we will change,” Executive Mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen told newspaper Aftenposten.

On Tuesday, Oslo announced that it was extending current coronavirus measures until June 18th after cases rose by 87 percent last week. 

READ MORE: Oslo extends coronavirus measures after cases rise by 87 percent  

The city is currently on step two of its five-step plan to reopen and lift measures. 

First-time buyers can afford fewer than one percent of homes in Oslo 

Just under one percent of property in Oslo is within the reach of first-time buyers, according to a new report from The Co-operative Housing Federation of Norway (NBBL). 

“The numbers are now so serious that the alarm bells should ring,” Bård Folke Fredrikson from NBBL told financial paper E24

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

In 2010, 39 percent of first-time buyers could afford to get on the property ladder in Oslo, compared to just 0.9 percent today. 

Highest number of drug overdoses for 20 years

There were 324 drug overdose-related deaths in Norway last year, the highest number of overdoses since 2001. 

Pandemic restrictions and more potent heroin may be among the explanations, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has said. 

“There is a particularly large increase in deaths as a result of opioids, such as morphine, codeine and heroin,” senior researcher from the NIPH drug and tobacco department, Linn Gjersing, outlined in a report

212 new Covid infections 

On Wednesday, 212 new coronavirus cases were registered in Norway, a decrease of 28 compared to the seven-day average of 240. 

In Oslo, 61 new cases of infection were registered, 16 fewer cases than the seven-day average for the capital. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.9. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another nine people, indicating that the infection level is declining.

Number of Covid cases in Norway. Source: NIPH

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Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Norway's house bidding process is equally stressful and confusing, but before putting in an offer, you should make sure you aren't making any of these costly mistakes. 

Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Buying a house is normally stressful enough, whether it’s getting a mortgage in place, going to dozens of viewings or spending hours going through listings. 

In Norway, the process is further complicated by the house bidding process, which you will have to go through when buying most properties today.

Additionally, you could make several mistakes that could make the process harder or cost you dearly. 


Not having financing in place

Before you can bid on a property, you need to visit the bank to ensure financing for your purchase. If you are taking out a mortgage on the house, you will need to make sure you know the set limit the bank will allow to borrow. 

When you make a bid, the estate agent will contact the bank to ensure that you have the financial arrangements. If you do not have enough money or the mortgage your bank agreed on doesn’t cover the cost, your bid will be rebuffed. 

Therefore it is crucial to know your financial limits when entering bidding rounds to avoid any disappointments. 

Making a bid on a house you aren’t sure about

You should be absolutely sure that you could see yourself living in a property when you bid on it. This is because bids in Norway are legally binding, meaning that even if you put in a speculative bid and it’s accepted, you won’t be able to back out.

This means that you should avoid putting in any offers on homes you aren’t 100 percent sure about.

So while you may be in a rush to get on the property ladder or take a step up, patience will prevail over diving in headfirst. 

Forgetting to do proper research

The devil is always in the detail, and as dull as it may be, you should always read the small print to avoid any nasty shocks. 

This is especially important when buying apartments in Oslo and other cities where you will likely encounter housing associations where residents will be expected to pay various fees or contribute to the upkeep of the block. 

“For instance, if they are planning to replace the roof of the block the next year, you will read about it in the sales documents. It is important to consider whether you can afford a property also after potential add-ons,” Trine Dahl-Pettersen, real estate agent at Eindom 1, explained to The Local

Reading the small print isn’t the only place where research pays off. For example, one reader who has bought a house in Norway pointed out that finding a place that needs a little bit of work can help you avoid intense bidding wars, and locals tend to want a ready-made home to move into. 

“Finding a property that won’t go sky high over the asking price when bidding can be challenging. However, I quickly noticed that Norwegians are not afraid to bid high for a ready-to-go home,” Scott told The Local of his experiences buying in Bergen. 

“If you are comfortable doing some work on it, you can find a much better deal, maybe even under the asking price,” he added.

Therefore, market research can help prevent you from paying over the odds. 

Making more than one bid at a time

Unfortunately, putting plenty of bids out and seeing which offers stick could be a lot more disastrous than you may think. 

As mentioned earlier, bids in Norway are legally binding. Meaning that if you have two bids accepted at the same time, you will be legally obligated to purchase both of them.

Not having BankID

Despite the bidding process being done over the phone, there are still some hoops to jump through. 

You’ll need to have a Norwegian Bank ID available for the bidding process, as it is needed to confirm your identity when sending your bids. 

Without this, you won’t be able to lodge any offers. 

In addition to bank ID, you will need a Norwegian identification number (D-number/Personnummer) to hand.