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Everything you need to know about the Norwegian State Housing Bank

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Everything you need to know about the Norwegian State Housing Bank
Norway's state housing bank aims to try and help people on the property ladder. Pictured is a large house in Norway. Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

Getting on the property ladder can be tough, and Norway's mortgage requirements are stringent. The Norwegian state has its own bank to help those struggling to get a housing loan.


Norway is a nation of homeowners, with around 80 percent of households owning their own homes. 

The model covers everything from private renting to building homes, although it's normally high homeownership rates that attract the most attention. 

However, it can be challenging for everyone to get onto the property ladder. Foreigners have much lower ownership rates than locals, and there are several factors behind this. 

One such factor could be certain banks' higher requirements for foreigners to secure mortgages. Then rising house prices can put mortgages out of the reach of everybody. 

This is especially true when you can only borrow a maximum of five times your annual income and can only secure mortgages of 75-85 percent of a home's value. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about the Norwegian housing model

You may also dream of building your own home on a plot of land. However, securing a loan will be impossible as the construction will typically cost more than what the home will be worth once completed.

This means that banks are unwilling to offer loans as the potential collateral won't cover the costs. 

Norway's solution is the Norwegian State Housing Bank. The bank, which was established in 1946, has quite a bit of history. Its aim is to be the main agency responsible for implementing social housing policy. 

One of the housing bank's main cornerstones is offering loans and mortgages to people who would struggle to get one from a bank. This can be buying a home or redeveloping one. 


The start-up loan is also known as the municipal start-up loan. To obtain one, you must apply to the municipality in which you live or wish to buy. 

It is also the municipality that will decide whether you qualify for the housing loan or not. In some cases, part of the loan would be a grant – meaning there is a portion of the mortgage you won't have to repay. 

For starters, those considered young enough to save for a bank loan cannot get a start-up loan. Those who are in a position to save or already have a loan from a private bank are also considered ineligible. 

Those who are also at risk of losing their home are also eligible for refinancing via the start-up loan scheme. More details can be found (in Norwegian) on the state housing bank's website


The housing bank also offers loans and mortgages. Some developers allow for a system where people can apply for a loan to the state housing bank. 

The bank also offers loans on homes to be built or upgraded. These loans are granted if eco-friendly means and good waste management are used in the project, with accessibility and low energy consumption being core parts of a home's design. 

There are three different quality objectives one can apply for. These are eco-friendly homes with low consumption, homes that would be fit for a lifetime with all the rooms one would need on the ground floor, or upgrades to homes to significantly lower energy consumption and improve accessibility.

One reason why you would want a loan from the Norwegian State Bank is due to the low-interest rates it offers. Rates are typically between 4 and 4.5 percent. 

The Norwegian State Bank also pays out housing allowance. This is money to cover your housing costs if you are on a low income. More information can be found in English on the bank's website


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