A number of experts Dagens Nyheter has spoken to claim that weak Swedish governments past and present are to blame for the current crisis in the housing market. German politicians have shown far more resolve in Berlin and Hamburg, where segregation is seen as a major social problem that is to be avoided and where there is no shortage of housing, says Anna Granath Hansson, a PhD student at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Granath Hansson calls into question recent measures such as Attefall back yard houses and an easing of the rules on lettings. “These are just emergency measures in a desperate situation. They do not tackle the problem of capital gains and interest rate deductions,” she says.
Sweden’s centre-left government yesterday unveiled its strategy to tackle the nation’s housing crisis, pledging the construction of up to 15,000 properties to rent annually.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised that the government will invest SKr 3.2 billion a year in the project, as of 2016. The reform will be financed through the lowering of the tax relief on home repair and maintenance – ROT – from 50 per cent to 30 per cent.
Prior to the general election last year Stefan Löfven promised he would leave ROT well alone. On Wednesday, the PM said that soaring ROT costs lay behind the U-turn. He also argued that the reform would create jobs.
“This means we will be able to build more new apartments and shift the emphasis from repairs to new construction. We have a housing shortage in 150 of Sweden’s 290 municipalities,” he said.
Ulf Kristersson, the Moderate Party’s spokesman on economic policy, is highly critical of the plans, saying it was a poor idea to re-introduce subsidies on the Swedish housing market and that it could pave the way for a black market.
Emil Källström, the Centre Party’s spokesman, has warned that the reform would in fact cause construction costs to soar. “We know that building subsidies end up in the pockets of the construction firms in the form of bigger profits,” he said.