Are tenures between owning and renting a solution for those struggling to enter the housing market?

Skyrocketing housing prices mean that those who wish to buy a home ­- either because they have an explicit wish to own their home or because they do not get access to the rental market – often have to save up large sums for a down payment. This might be a challenge for young people and others with limited savings, such as lone parents, divorcees and pensioners.

In a first publication in the Oslo Metropolitan University-led project Strategic Housing, a joint study between Nordregio and KTH looks into Swedish housing models between renting and owning. Two shared ownership and two cooperative rental models are analysed from legal and economic perspectives to see to what extent and subject to what risks these intermediary tenures add to housing opportunities of lower and mid-income groups.

Findings indicate that buyers benefitting from the models are mainly medium-income households without large enough savings to buy into the regular housing market. For these households, the concepts might be an opportunity to access housing they could otherwise not aspire to. However, legal and financial literacy among buyers is partly limited, which should be addressed as far as possible by developers going forward. Further, legal considerations in relation to agreements in the shared ownership models and untested new variants of cooperative rental might arise as models are used and tested in the coming years.

The obstacles preventing developers from expanding the concepts, mainly access to land and financing, can only be addressed by interested municipalities and financial institutions. An extensive information effort by developers and successful projects are probably needed to move towards recognition and institutionalization of the concepts.

The full research paper has been published open access in the Nordic Journal of Urban Studies.

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