Sunniva Holmås Eidsvoll of ARENDAL (VG) SV will take even more aggressive measures to solve Oslo’s housing crisis. She is open to raising property taxes.
– Housing prices have increased more than people’s incomes for a long time, and it is now a complete crisis, SV city councilor Sunniva Holmås Eidsvoll tells VG in Oslo.
He says two problems are now hitting the capital at once: excessively high house prices over time and a sharp decline in housing construction. According to Eiendom Norge’s analysis, a regular salary can only afford a nurse 1.3 percent of households in Oslo.
OBOS reported earlier this year that 58 percent fewer homes were sold in the first half of the year than the same time last year.
– When sales of new homes fall, home construction falls. Even if people get better advice again, you’ll have the same problem again in two years, he says.
10,000 regulated flats
If SV wins the city council elections, it promises to press both MDG and Aps city council president Raymond Johansson on housing construction in the city council.
– There are now 10,000 regulated housing in Oslo. This includes both expensive plots in Filipstad and plots outside the city. But currently not enough is built. It’s just old medicine and saying the market will fix it doesn’t help because it doesn’t work, he says.
He wants to open up the municipality’s purse strings so that housing construction can continue and more people can enter the housing market.
Now he warns against several actions:
- The municipality should play a greater role in continuing housing construction by purchasing housing in the new housing market. If developers know that they can sell a certain proportion of new projects, it will help to implement the projects. By buying large shares of housing projects, the municipality can get better prices.
- Ensure that 10 percent of all new housing in Oslo goes to social housing purposes. This will be done through a separate housing agency, Oslo Bolig, and in cooperation with organizations such as OBOS.
- A solid plan is that you can buy a share of an apartment, rent-to-own, or buy it at below-market rates. Then you have to pay 80 percent of the market price. When selling, the municipality can buy back at 80 percent of the market price at the time of sale.
- More municipal housing for the disadvantaged and refugees
Property tax will increase
In addition to using Oslo’s investment budget, SV would have to foot the bill by raising property taxes if it gets its way.
– We want to increase the property tax in Oslo. Now it is very moderate. “We think it should be higher for commercial properties and more expensive homes,” he says.
– Then we will allocate parts of the property tax for social housing purposes, he adds.
He says they draw inspiration from Vienna, where for years they had a large nonprofit housing sector and a property tax that went into housing policy.
– Oslo’s housing market has more people than struggling. You will set aside ten percent or about 300 houses for social housing purposes. Is that enough?
– One year is not enough. But this is a new policy, so we want to introduce it now that it will become the new normal in the future.
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