Housing in Greenland

Foto: Solnedgång, Suloraq, Nuuk, Grönland
Photographer
Mats Bjerde
Are you considering moving to Greenland? The property market in Greenland is under pressure, with a severe housing shortage. Here you can read about how to find a home

It is difficult to enter the housing market in Greenland, as there is a great shortage of housing, especially in the larger towns. Consequently, it is common for many positions to have associated staff residences. 

Staff accommodation

If you have just moved to Greenland as a new employee, you may be lucky enough to be allocated a staff residence through your employer. These staff residences are important for attracting employees, as the waiting time for a municipal rental property in Nuuk is between 10-12 years for a private individual.  

Many private companies therefore have their own accommodation for employees. If your employer is the local municipality or the Government of Greenland, you will be offered a rental property with one of the public housing companies that administer municipal rental housing in Greenland. However, please note that you will lose your residence when you terminate your position.

No staff accommodation?

If you have not been allocated staff accommodation you will need to resort to the private housing market and make Google searches for real estate agents in the town in question, who are responsible for much of the private rented accommodation. You can also take a look at the town’s local newspaper, or the central noticeboards of the town or village. Talk to your colleagues and get your friends to make searches for you on Facebook, which is a widely used communication tool in Greenland. If you are moving to Nuuk, then one such public Facebook group is for example this one:   Bolig søges/udlejes Nuuk/Nuussuaq/Qinngorput (Housing sought/For rent, Nuuk/Nuussuaq/Qinngorput)

Vacant accommodation

If you are employed by the Government or by a municipality, you may often begin your time in Greenland in a so-called ‘vakantbolig’ (‘vacant accommodation’), due to the long waiting times for rented properties in the larger towns. This means that you will be given temporary accommodation until you receive a permanent residence. ‘Vacant accommodation’ is furnished.

You do not pay rent on vacant accommodation, but are instead taxed.  

Permanent rental property

The housing company INI A/S administers most of the public housing stock in Greenland. However, the housing company Boligselskabet Iserit administers the housing of Sermersooq Municipality (municipal housing in Nuuk, Paamiut, Ittoqqortormiit and Tasiilaq). Finally, a private operator, Agerskov Consulting, administers a number of homes in Nuuk through the housing company Boligselskabet Illuut. Your employer will initiate contact with the housing company.

The size of the household determines the size of the accommodation, so a four-person household will typically be offered a four-bedroom apartment. In the larger towns, especially Nuuk, there are long waiting lists, so you will just have to accept the accommodation you are offered. However, you can be placed on the waiting list for a preferred apartment.   

Owner-occupied and co-operative housing in Greenland

There is an increasing amount of private ownership of housing in Greenland, as the Parliament has stimulated the private housing market by making loans available on good terms, and by establishing a right-to-buy scheme for people living in public housing stock.  

Both natural and legal persons can buy real estate in Greenland. However, you should be aware that co-owners in co-operative housing have a residence obligation.

Site allocation

 Please note that in Greenland, you do not own the site on which a home is built.  

Citizens, private individuals, co-operative housing associations and companies can be granted the right of use to a site if, for example, they wish to build a house. You must apply for site allocation in order to obtain the right of use to the desired site.    

You must apply for a site allocation if you wish to:   

  • Build a house or other building 
  • Buy a house – after the purchase, you must apply for site allocation
  • Build an extension to an existing house  
  • Alter the use of a building, for example from shop to residence  
  • Install piping for water and sewers   
  • Set up a satellite dish on the property 
  • Build a car park
  • Build a hut in open country
  • Lay up a boat or container  

Applications for site allocation should be submitted to the municipality:

 You can search on NunaGis, which is a digital map of all Greenland. You can find instructions at NunaGis on how to apply for a site allocation.

You can also contact your local public service centre or village office, who can provide you with guidance.

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