Housing and Housing Policy in the Nordic Countries

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Nordic countries are often thought to have broadly similar housing policies, because they have traditionally had similar policies in areas like education, health care and social services based on shared fundamental values. In housing, however, these countries have distinctive national differences in areas like housing finance, support policy, tenure legislation and rent policy. This book takes an indepht look at housing and housing policies in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The chapters describe, analyse and compare the following areas, in a thematic way: Housing markets, housing production and housing standard The roles of housing policy actors national government, municipalities, private business, households and nonprofit actors Housing tenures and rent legislation Housing consumption, housing expenditure and user costs Housing support policy, housing finance and housing taxation Physical planning and urban policy Sustainable development of cities and housing areas. The differences between the housing policies of the Nordic countries mean that, taken together, these countries have experience of a wide range of approaches, policies and instruments. This combined experience can be used in assessing the value of particular policies and instruments in particular contexts and assessing how they can be made to work together as effectively as possible.



Housing allowances

All the Nordic countries except Iceland introduced some form of household-based assistance for housing consumption for low income households during the 1940s. The most important target group was families with children. In Finland, Norway and Sweden households had to have several children to qualify for the allowance. To begin with the allowance was also limited to households living in rented housing, with the exception of Denmark, where an allowance was also available to families with children in certain kinds of housing with ownership rights. In Finland, during the 1940s and 1950s, a “family housing allowance” was granted on a limited scale to families with many children living in their own homes (owner-occupiers). Furthermore the dwellings had to fulfil certain minimum standards to qualify for an allowance. In 1995 Iceland introduced a housing allowance for households in the rented sector.


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