Chapter 6: Norway
Since World War II, homeownership has been one of the key political housing goals in Norway, supported for decades by widespread universal subsidies as well as regulation of housing prices. The explicit homeownership policy has implicitly been supported by the tax system through a long tradition of limited taxation on housing by international standards. Since a significant part of social housing policy also operated to support homeownership, the structure of the housing market is a high rate of homeownership, a relatively small rate of private renting and a particularly small rate of social renting. Today political instruments, such as large universal subsidies and strong regulations within the homeownership sector, have disappeared. However, extensive tax subsidies exist, fuelling the demand for homeownership and limiting demand in the rented sector. The traditional profile of the PRS still remains that of a sector for poor households and young people living temporarily in rental accommodation. The small size of the social sector has resulted in that PRS having to cover many low-income households. This chapter begins by presenting important principles about Norwegian housing policy emphasizing both its historical development and the changes in the mid-1980s to help understand today's situation. It shows the development of the PRS over time in relation to other tenancies. The quality of the sector today is examined, followed by the characteristics of landlords and tenants. Further sections analyse key economic elements such as rent setting, subsidies, regulations and taxation.
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