When it comes to housing, Stockholm is probably one of the hardest markets. I keep getting questions about how I found housing, so I decided to write this post as a little helper for the lost.
Firsthand Housing — Firsthand is (besides actually buying an apartment) the most valuable contract to get. It means you are renting directly from the owner. The only way to get this type of housing is by signing up for the housing queue here. However, to get a place in the city center you must be on this list for around 15 years. To get a decent place in the outer parts of Stockholm 8 years can be enough — if combined with luck. Firsthand housing is usually cheaper than secondhand housing, but most of all it’s safer, as it is legal by all matters.
Student Housing — Student housing can be obtained by queuing in the same list as mentioned above or by queuing here. On the 2nd list you may be lucky to get a place within 1–1,5 years. However, you are only allowed to keep the place as long as you are studying full-time.
Secondhand Housing — Secondhand housing is when people who have a firsthand contract from the official housing list, rent the apartment out to yet another person (or sometimes even that person to another and so on). This can be legal or illegal, depending on contract details and circumstances. Secondhand contracts are usually more expensive than firsthand ones. A studio apartment, which is around 6000kr rented firsthand, can easily cost over 10000kr when rented secondhand. Yet as a foreigner this is almost the only way to get a place in Stockholm. The best place to search is here.
Flatsharing — Flatsharing is becoming more and more popular in Stockholm. Room prices can highly vary. The average lies at around 5000kr for a (more or less) well-located room. With a lot of patience, you may be lucky to find something cheaper. Many rooms are already furnished which can save you additional costs. However, contracts are usually short-term and you have little to no rights, meaning that if you get kicked out, you literally get kicked out. Therefore it’s vital to find someone to live with that you can trust. It’s also worth mentioning that most apartments in Stockholm tend to have small rooms, so a room most likely wont be bigger than around 12sqm.
Buying — Amongst young Stockholm people it is becoming more and more popular to buy an apartment right after finishing school or during the first years of study. This is mainly due to the fact that housing keeps increasing in value and the banks have very low interest rates, making it actually cheaper to buy than to rent longterm. As a foreigner this might not be your first choice, but something you should consider if you decide to stay in the Capital of Scandinavia for longer.
General Tips — The best source to search for housing when you are not in Stockholm is blocket. Hundreds of rooms and studios get listed every day and the activity rate is high (which of course can also be a disadvantage). When I was searching for housing from abroad, I also used airbnb. I wrote to some hosts asking for long-term contracts and got several positive answers. Besides Airbnb, facebook is a good source for housing search as well. There are many groups to find housing in Stockholm, yet the risk to be scammed is high, so never pay in advance before getting a key and seeing the place.
In general I have to admit that yes, it is hard to find housing in Stockholm. But with some preparation and good social skills it shouldn’t be a problem. Just be patient and smart about it.