Sweden’s housing slump enters second year with no end in sight


Swedish home prices have yet to hit a bottom as one of the world’s most severe housing routs is about to enter its second year.
Soaring consumer prices and a string of interest-rate increases have dealt a heavy blow to the Swedish economy, which is particularly sensitive to rising borrowing costs. The country’s households have some of the highest debt burdens among rich nations with mortgage rates fixed at short terms.
That has put Sweden at the forefront of a global slump in property prices, as the market has deteriorated since March last year. In February, price trend that factors in more than one month of data showed a decline of 0.6%, adjusted for seasonal effects, according to state-owned mortgage lender SBAB.
While the drop is smaller than it has been in past months, and apartment prices increased slightly, the state-owned bank remains cautious.
“Even though we have seen the situation brighten somewhat in the past two months, especially for apartments, it is too soon to say that prices won’t drop further,” chief economist Robert Boije said in a statement.
In its efforts to rein in inflation, the Swedish central bank has taken its benchmark rate to 3% from zero in 10 months, and economists expect another hike next month. In addition to the housing-market turbulence, the moves have contributed to a drop in consumer spending

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