In the coming week, we welcome new and old students around the country. In 12 of Sweden's 33 student cities, the first is met by housing shortages, uncertain contract types and ocher rents.
Assuming they haven't turned down the dream education for fear of not having anywhere to live, of course.
Every fall, the Swedish Student Union unveils a report on the state of the student housing market. A report that shows that in the largest student cities, very little has happened in the past decade, if not longer.
In Stockholm County, where a quarter of the country's students are located, the situation is the worst with queuing times of 2-5 years for a student apartment and secondary rents around SEK 11,000 / month for one.
The Stockholm Student Union's Central Organization (SSCO) has been working on the student housing issue since the 1930s, which means that Stockholm's students have been struggling with the housing shortage for almost 100 years.
An anniversary we are not looking forward to. In the near future, housing shortages were the worst in the early 2010s, giving rise to Sthlm6000 +, a project aimed at increasing the region's student housing stock by 6,000 housing units in 2013–2017.
After several years of close non-existent student housing construction, it finally swung upwards.
Unfortunately, the project did not reach its target before the due date, but was convinced that it would be reached in 2018. In addition, the final report 2017 stated that the project's projections indicated that in 2019 we would have 22,675 student housing in Stockholm County; an increase of 90 percent since 2012.
90 percent! But then something happened. The housing market swung, despite continued high demand, and players stopped building. Projects are laid on ice.
In fact, we can see that the goal of distress and scarcity has been reached in 2018 (from 12,000 to just under 18,000) and that more than 4,500 student housing would need to be completed this year to reach the forecasts for 2019. With today's prevailing pace of construction, it feels not likely.
This fall, 34,000 students will study at Stockholm University and a large proportion of those who apply already live in Stockholm.
Students who move to the housing shortage despite are usually referred to the secondary market and rents that far exceed what the study allowance allows.
Not finding a home can never be a reason for a student to opt out of Stockholm or cancel their studies prematurely. But unfortunately we know that sometimes it is.
The government talks about "knowledge lifting" and that Stockholm and Sweden should be a world-class student region, but where will these students live?
In order to secure the skills required in the future and make Stockholm an attractive region, a general increase in the Stockholm area is required of both the number of student housing and smaller rental rates.
Stockholm has the potential to be a world-class student city.
We have the potential to attract students from the rest of the country and the rest of the world - if only there was somewhere to live.