Breaking the downward spiral

Improving rural housing markets in the Nordic Region


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Housing issues usually play a major role in urban studies, but are often overlooked as a factor in rural development. This policy brief explores aspects of the dynamics of the ‘frozen’ rural housing market in the Nordic Region, with a specific focus on the role of financing, the part played by municipalities and the potential benefits of a larger rental market.Housing is generally seen as a human right, a consumable that serves as the framework for our lives. However, at the same time, real estate is a financial commodity on the market. In many rural areas, the market value of houses is low – often considerably below the cost of construction. In consequence, it is very difficult to obtain loans to build or buy. This ‘freezes’ the market and has a strong impact on rural development overall, in effect acting as a boost to the trend towards urbanisation and the depopulation of rural areas. We will explore ways to counteract this dynamic.
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