Buying property in Oslo

There are no restrictions against foreigners purchasing property in Norway. It is generally considered good business to purchase property in Norway if planning to stay for a while. Values have been going up steadily in the past decade and are not expected to fall. There was a small blip during the 2008 crisis, but prices bounced right back. With the high cost of rental, it makes more sense to buy if one can afford to.

Looking for homes on the Internet is one of the easiest, and most common ways, of looking for available properties. This provides expats with an overview of what's on the market as well as gives a scope of price range. 

Financing in Oslo

It is common to take out a mortgage (housing loan) that is paid back with interest over a period of 15 to 20 years. If it is difficult to obtain a bank loan, one can apply for a municipal loan through the housing office in one's bydel (neighbourhood). The Housing Bank is a large agency that offers loans, grants and guidance about buying property in Norway. They also inform buyers about new initiatives and developments.

Oslo has no property tax, though every sale is subject to a one-time 2.5 percent transfer tax, called a document fee. In addition, a lien is typically placed on a property immediately after the sale is completed. Once ownership of a property is officially transferred, the lien is removed.

Typically one pays a 20 percent down payment on the property. The interest rate will change depending on how much one puts down as a down payment. Young people buying their first property can get a lower interest rate as well. There will be additional fees but these vary according to property type. One should ask the real estate agent what applies to the property in question.

Holiday homes are subject to an additional yearly tax of 2.5 percent of the properties assessed value. If the property is to be used exclusively for letting, it will be considered a business and the profit will be taxed at a rate of 28 percent. If sold, the profit is tax-free if owned for more than five years.

Estate agents in Oslo

One normally goes through a real estate agent when purchasing a home. Most property sold in Oslo is handled through a real estate agency. Staff undergo special training, and agencies are subject to strict rules and control routines on the part of the authorities.

Norwegian estate agents are entitled to conclude the whole real estate transaction without the assistance of a lawyer. In Norway, estate agents are also in charge of the financial settlement and for registering the deed in a central, state register (not in a notaries register). To run an estate agency in Norway, the estate agent must be insured for at least 10 million NOK to cover any liabilities the buyer or seller may incur in the course of the transaction.

Anna Maria Our Expat Expert

Based in Oslo, Norway, Anna Maria is an intercultural trainer and consultant. She focuses on supporting inpats, expats and repats through their transition periods. She has spent 25 years as an expat. She has lived and worked in 17 countries on five continents. Growing up she spent 4-5 years each in the Netherlands, the US, Peru, and Thailand. She travels extensively to keep up friendships, writes for expat online and print publications and is learning to ski to survive the dark winter.