Abandoned properties a challenge for rural Sweden

Abandoned properties are a problem in many of Sweden’s rural municipalities, as people continue to move to urban areas. In this picture, an abandoned house in Canada’s province of Ontario. (Francis Bouchard/CBC)
Many properties in rural Sweden are simply abandoned as more people move to the towns and cities. This is becoming a challenge for several municipalities.

One big problem, says Emma Rosenbom, researcher for The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, is that many municipalities cannot get hold of the owners of the empty properties to demand that they do something about them. Another problem is that it is not unusual that tearing down a property, or renovating it, is twice the price of what a property is actually worth.

Young people often move to towns and cities for work, study or lifestyle choices, and this is one of the main reasons properties are left standing empty.

However, Charlotta Mellander, professor in national economics at the International Business School in Jönköping, says inherited properties are quite often kept but not lived in by relatives, which can be one of the reasons properties are abandoned.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Housing crisis in Canada’s east-Arctic worsens as homes become too old to live in, CBC News

Finland: No buyers for homes in Finland’s remote areas, Yle News

Sweden: Swedish Centre Party promises tax break for rural northerners, Radio Sweden

United States: Agency supporting Alaska’s rural development has new leader, Alaska Public Media

Simon Linter, Radio Sweden

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