SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

OSLO

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

RENTING

‘No quick fixes’: Gloomy forecast for Norway’s rental market

High demand and a shortage of properties has led to a tight rental market in Norway's big cities. The Local spoke to real estate experts to find out what needs to happen for the situation to change.

'No quick fixes': Gloomy forecast for Norway's rental market

After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, day-to-day life in Norway is – more or less – back to normal. 

While many young people and students in Norway are enjoying their reclaimed freedom of movement and lifestyle, the aftereffects of the pandemic continue to impact their lives, most notably when it comes to finding rental accommodation.

Financial newspaper Finansavisen recently reported that, at the end of June this year, there were 45 percent fewer rental properties on the market compared to 2021. 

The rental market is particularly tight in big cities like Oslo and Stavanger, and properties are being rented out much faster than last year

Are there any signs that the situation will improve in the coming months?

A demand crisis in Oslo and Stavanger

As things now stand, those looking to rent in Norway are in for a rough time.

“The demand for rental properties was lower than usual during the pandemic. At the same time, house prices in Norway rose. We believe that quite a few people used the opportunity to sell their rental homes at the time. 

“After the pandemic, all the students and people working in Norway (for example, workers from Sweden and Poland, as some of them went home during the pandemic) have largely returned to the cities. 

“So, demand is very high, we have a demand crisis in some areas – especially Oslo and Stavanger. However, many places in Norway don’t have such a problem; it’s mainly the case in big cities,” real-estate industry veteran and director at Real Estate Norway Henning Lauridsen told The Local.

Fewer second homes

Carl O. Geving, Managing Director at Norway’s Real Estate Association (NEF), agrees with Lauridsen. He also points out that, during the pandemic, there has been a decrease in the number of second homes in Norway – homes that are usually rented out.

“We see increasing demand in the rental market, that is correct. The market is very tight, especially in Oslo, because of the lack of possibilities to rent apartments. 

“The number of second homes for rent in Oslo has decreased from 59,000 to 54,000 since 2019. So, in Oslo, it is quite difficult to find an apartment for rent – the fact that the construction of small apartments in the capital is limited, the tax framework, and the decrease in the number of investors in construction projects also make the situation worse,” Geving said in a phone call with The Local.

No quick fixes

In the short term, industry experts see only dark clouds on the horizon for people looking to rent in Norway’s major cities.

“It will take some time for the situation to change. The lack of housing in Oslo results from insufficient development over 15-20 years. However, in Stavanger, the situation may improve in six months or a year. Overall, it’s pretty difficult at the moment; there is no easy solution,” Lauridsen stated.

Geving agrees: “There are no quick fixes. With the current tax system, it’s difficult for things to change fast. If we get a price correction in the buyers’ market, we will likely have even fewer second homes. Norwegian authorities are trying to help to get more people to rent, but that also takes time.”

Thus, the rental market squeeze in large cities seems to be here to stay. 

Is there anything people looking for rental housing can do to adapt? The Director of Real Estate Norway believes people can try to look further away from where they initially wanted to rent. 

“That could be a possibility. But it will be difficult,” Lauridsen noted.

On the other hand, Geving thinks that buying properties together with friends – a practice common in parts of Norway – could be part of the solution.

“We can see that, in tough times, more people try to buy properties together with friends, it becomes more common. 

“Still, it’s challenging. Students and young people have limited capital, typically. In previous years when we had this debate, students and young people managed to get by, but the market is more crowded this year. Thus, some people will likely choose to live outside Oslo in the surrounding municipalities and travel to the capital via train or bus.

“The problem is less serious in Bergen and Trondheim, but in Oslo, it’s quite tough,” Geving pointed out, adding that building more student homes in the capital could also be part of the solution.

SHOW COMMENTS