Engelsk • English

Owning your own home

74% of households in Norway own the home they live in.

There are different ways of owning a home. The two most common are:

  • freehold property
  • housing cooperative property


The most common way of owning a home is as a freehold owner-occupier. We have to raise the money ourselves when we want to buy a freehold property. One normally borrows money from a bank, but you also need some capital of your own.

There are several different types of freehold property. The two most important are:

  • A property we own alone, e.g. a detached house
  • An owner-occupied section, e.g. a flat or terrace house

When we live in a property which we own alone, we bear all the responsibility for the property, both the financial and maintenance responsibility. Bills for, for example, building insurance and local authority charges (water, rubbish collection, and the like) are sent directly to the house owner.

When we live in an owner-occupied section, we own the actual flat ourselves, while the land on which the property sits is owned jointly with the other section owners. Bills for, for example, building insurance and local authority charges are sent to the tenants’ association’s committee. The expenses are then apportioned to the section owners. These expenses are called service charges. Service charges are normally apportioned according to the size of the section. This means that a small owner-occupied section will have lower monthly service charges than a larger one. There is usually no joint debt in a tenants’ association.

Housing cooperative

In the case of a housing cooperative the building (flats, terrace houses, semi-detached houses, detached houses) is owned by the housing cooperative. When we buy a home in a housing cooperative what we are really buying is a share in the housing cooperative together with the right to live in a specific section.

There are two kinds of housing cooperative:

  • Housing cooperative linked to a house building cooperative
  • Independent housing cooperative

When we buy a home in a housing cooperative we buy a share in the cooperative (pay a premium). We must raise the money for this share premium ourselves. It is important to understand that this share premium is only part of the real price of the home. The housing cooperative’s joint debt also has to be taken into account to work out the real price.

The service charges for a housing cooperative flat are usually higher than for an owner-occupied section in a tenants’ association. This is because the service charges in a housing cooperative cover the interest payments and loan repayments relating to the housing cooperative’s joint debt, local authority charges, building insurance, electricity for communal areas, and any caretaker expenses.

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