Can Foreigners Buy Property In Norway?

A photo of Bruges in Norway. It shows a number of 4 story buildings designed in a classical Norweigan architectural style. The houses sit between a clear lake and a snow covered hill

Norway is a beautiful country. Its cool summers and mild winters make this country an attractive destination for Americans on the move. However, there’s a lot to know first If you’re interested in moving to Norway, whether you want to set up anywhere from Oslo or Drammen. 

Foreigners have to do thorough research wherever they choose to go. Each country has unique rules that can change the entire moving process. Accidentally misunderstanding the law could spell major trouble down the line. 

If you’re looking to move to Norway as a foreigner, you probably have a few questions. First, we’ll look at can foreigners buy property in Norway, the risks of buying property in Norway, possible problems that could arise, property value, where to start looking, and the costs associated with buying in Norway.

Do I need to be a Norway citizen to own property? 

You do not need to be a citizen of Norway to buy property there. Foreigners don’t face any restrictions at all buying Property in Norway. 

If you plan to move to Norway and have your residence permit, you can buy it right away. Even someone looking for a second home in Europe without obtaining Norwegian citizenship can also purchase a property. 

It is important to note that owning property in Norway will not help you get your citizenship or visa faster.

Depending on where you choose to buy, you might not even have to pay property tax. Finding the best place to buy in Norway can be difficult because each city or town brings a beautiful and unique charm that Americans hoping to move abroad will love. 

Risks of buying property in Norway

There are few risks associated with buying property in Norway as a foreigner. Buying property overseas may always carry some potential risks, however. 

  • You don’t want to over-bid on a property 
  • Currency exchange could mean you pay more
  • If something happens to your property, like a fire, you may have a difficult time dealing with insurance 
  • Norwegian zoning restrictions could be different than you’re used to and restrict your use of a property after the initial purchase
  • Local laws could require you to have specific responsibilities that aren’t commonplace in America

If you do thorough research on Norway and the exact region you intend to buy, you can probably avoid any significant risks. Most (but not all) Norwegians speak English as a second language, so if you find yourself in a sticky situation, it should be easy to find help. 

Can the Norway Government Seize Foreigners Property? 

Expropriation (sometimes linked to eminent domain) refers to the government’s right to seize private property. Norway has a low expropriation risk, according to the Credendo Group. 

You are only likely to have your property seized by the government if you break the law and your property is involved in the legal proceedings. If you live in an area with property tax, and fail to pay, you could face some consequences from the government.

Overall, as long as you follow Norwegian law and don’t cause any huge problems, your property will remain yours.  

Do Property Values Appreciate in Norway? 

A photo of the town of Reine, Lofoten islands, Norway. It shows a number of red fishing huts on a rocky shore surrounded by water. In the distance is a large rocky outcrop and a mountain range

Property values have been changing drastically around the globe, with spikes and dips because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country faced overall depreciation in property value from 2015 to 2017, but things are looking up. After an initial slowing in the property market during early 2020, Norwegian property values are back on track, appreciating value.

In fact, in some areas, property value is skyrocketing. In fact,, housing prices increased by 7% during 2020 alone, and this trend is expected to continue.  

With the past few years having a bit of a staggering housing market, make sure you speak to a professional before buying a property in Norway as a financial investment for the future. 

3 Areas with High Appreciation in Norway

Property is booming in Norway. The total number of homes sold in 2020 was up 5.1% from 2019, just one year prior. As a result, Norway is currently looking at significant price increases for housing across the country, especially in Oslo

If you’re looking to purchase property in Norway, the value could rise as much as 12% in three years. Of course, financial forecasting isn’t always accurate. However, this is exciting for foreigners looking to break into the Norwegian market. 

Places in Norway looking to face the highest appreciation in the next few years are sizeable cities rather than rural areas. 

Oslo: the capital city is known for its rich cultural heritage, museums, and lots of green spaces. This expensive city has 600,000 residents and is looking at property value raising 18.8% from 2020 to 2023. 

Bergen: nestled between mountains and fjords, Bergen overlooks the sea. This rainy coastal gem has music, markets, and beautiful views. In 2020, housing prices rose by 6%, and this upward trend is expected to continue.

Stavanger: one of the oldest cities in Norway, Stavanger is known for its colorful buildings, white beaches, and delicious local cuisine. The property values in Stavanger increased by nearly 10% in 2020.

Norway has dozens of charming small cities and towns with enchanting views and incredible local culture. Most populated areas currently see property values climbing rapidly, but these three places stand out in the Norwegian market. 

Best Websites for For Finding Property in Norway 

A picture of Lofoten, an archipelago in the county of Nordland, Norway. It shows a quaint town with a diverse range of colorful buildings and a soccer field.

If you’re set on buying property in Norway, you need to start looking at what is available. In Norway, you buy a property with the seller’s agent but contacting a real estate agent if you find a property you are interested in purchasing is a safe starting point.

You will probably want to see a property in person before you decide to purchase it, but how houses get sold may have changed forever because of virtual showings and bidding. Pictures are more important than ever before, so you’ll want to find the ones the speak to you.

To help you find a few properties that you like or even start your search for scratch, we’ve compiled some of the best websites for buying Norwegian real estate.

FINN: FINN is the most popular real estate website for Norwegians on the move. This online marketplace has listings for everything from property, to cars, to boats. Once you settle on that cozy property by the sea, maybe you can start looking to set sail, too. 

Rubrikk: this website has listings from all over the country and a user-friendly, attractive design. Type your desired location into the search bar and start browsing hundreds of properties for sale across Norway.

Realigro: this website is English right away when you click on the page. It’s a listing website that features properties across the globe. You’ll be able to view all kinds of properties for sale in Norway, and the price is displayed in USD. 

Each of these websites is optimized to show off the best of what Norway has to offer. If you’re not sure what areas to look at first, check out VisitNorway and find which areas speak to you.

Once you find an area that you might like, you can start doing more in-depth research and determine if it is the right choice for you.

8 Steps to Buying Property In Norway as An American

Buying property as an American abroad can be tricky, but knowing which steps to take can demystify the process and make the whole thing easier. 

If you’ve explored Norway online, spent an extended time in the country, have an idea of which areas interest you most, and feel ready to take the plunge into the world of Norwegian real estate, then start here. These steps will help you understand the basics of the buying process and provide an outline so that you won’t get swept up in the property market. 

#1: Talk to Your Bank 

Find out your financial health before taking any other steps. Meet with your bank to talk over what kind of mortgages you qualify for, if you need to make any extra payments to the bank, and notify them that you’ll be potentially accessing your account from Norway.

You won’t want your funds to get held up while you try to purchase a property overseas, so make sure to alert your bank and keep them up to date as you buy. 

#2: Seek Help

In Norway, you need to hire a real estate agent to buy or sell the property. 

A real estate agent will help you understand the area where you want to purchase better, interpret Norwegian rules and laws so that you won’t have legal trouble, and file the necessary paperwork for you.

While most Norwegians speak English, you’ll probably find that official documents are usually in the native language. Having a real estate agent who speaks fluent Norwegian will help you navigate buying easier and with more confidence. Make finding an agent experience dealing with foreigners a priority. 

#3: Find A Property

At this point, you’ve already found areas in Norway that you’re interested in checking out more. Tell your real estate where you were looking and show them listings you like. 

Then it’s up to your real estate agent to set up your viewing. Most viewings are only a few hours long and on weekends. You may find accommodation if this is not ideal, but you will need to speak with your agent directly.

At the viewing, you’ll be able to look at the property and ask questions to determine whether or not you want to move forward. Make sure to be thorough, and prepare questions in advance if you’re going to make the most out of seeing the property. 

#4: Put in a Bid

Once you’ve toured the property and reviewed the financial information, it is time to make a bid. Your real estate agent will file this for you.

Bids are legally binding in Norway, so make sure you do not bid higher than you can afford because you could face hefty fines.

If you are set on buying in Norway, make sure you take the official and legal routes to purchase property. Each district in Norway has its own laws and regulations, so be sure to research each specific area before making a bid. You don’t want to buy a property in Oslo before you take the time to understand Bergen. 

#5: Get A Contract

The real estate agents will draw up a selling contract to cover the needs of both parties. This contract will detail the terms of purchase and what will happen if either party breaches those terms. 

Make sure you understand the contract entirely before signing and ask any questions you need. It is critical you speak up to your real estate agent about any potential problems you may have, especially when buying overseas.

#6: Get the Deed

At this point, the seller will transfer the official deed to you. It will remain with your real estate agent as the final steps and paperwork is completed. You will also need to pay your down payment now.

#7: Register the Property

Congratulations! You’ve purchased the property in Norway. At this point, your real estate agent will help you register the home in your name with the local bodies dealing with homeownership. 

You will have to pay a registration fee. The amount may vary depending on where you choose to buy, so make sure you consult with your real estate agent.

#8: Make Payments

Now that the property is yours, it is time to start making your other required payments. You’ll need to pay your real estate agent their cut, your transfer fees, and start paying for the property each month.

It may seem like there is a lot to do, but you’ll have an easier time if you start with an open mind and time to research all your options. Norway doesn’t have any roadblocks to stop foreigners from purchasing property, so as long as you can afford the property and associated fees, you should be in good shape. 

Cost Associated with Buying Property in Norway 

Not only will you have the costs mentioned above in step eight of buying a home in Norway, but there are additional costs. Some of these are one-time fees, like registration paperwork, or typical property fees you see in America.

If you intend to live on your property, you will have the typical costs associated with homeownership. You will also need to pay utilities like electricity, water, natural gas, or even parking monthly. 

You might be curious about property tax in Norway. Depending on where you purchase property, the amount you are taxed will vary. More populated cities tend to have higher rates of taxation.

Oslo, for example, does not have property tax for residential dwellings. Instead, you will pay a 2.5% transfer fee on the property at the time of purchase. After you have paid that initial fee, you do not need to worry about property tax at all.

How do I get a loan for a property in Norway?

All of your Norwegian property dreams can’t come true if you are unable to finance the purchase. Most banks will let you apply for a mortgage as a foreigner in Norway. These are comparable to America, with the terms typically being 20 to 30 years.

To apply for the mortgage, you’ll need to provide your tax returns and payslips. The bank might not approve you if you have a spotty employment history or problems with your taxes. As a foreigner in Norway, you are a higher risk to them.

Once you get approved, make sure you have at least two weeks for the paperwork to file and funds to transfer into your account. Remember, bids are legally binding in Norway, so do not get your heart set on one particular property before the money has come through.

Suppose you are having difficulty getting approved for a mortgage. In that case, you may want to find out if there are any resources available for foreigners at your embassy or by speaking to a knowledgeable real estate agent. 

In Conclusion

Norway is a beautiful country with all kinds of appealing draws, from the rugged terrain to the charming ports and one-of-a-kind local culture. If you choose to buy property in Norway, take time to get familiar with the country and immerse yourself in the local area and people. While it’s one of the rainiest countries in the world, you’ll never be at a loss for what to do.

The Land of the Midnight Sun has some of the most mesmerizing natural scenery in the world. Even if you want to start working in Norway as a foreigner, it’s easy to forget the stress when the Northern Lights are at your doorstep.

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