The shared goals of affordable residential construction in the Nordic countries
Corona has taken a hard toll on most of the world’s national budgets, including the Nordic countries. What was already a fact before the corona-pandemic, is even more a fact now: The need for affordable housing is a common challenge across the Nordic countries and more and more people with average incomes find it increasingly difficult to find decent housing that they can afford.
With the economic consequences of the corona-pandemic not yet fully discovered, now, more than ever, we need make clever investments that will benefit us in both short-term times of crisis and long-term development of our societies.
NBO – Housing Nordic represents 2,5 million affordable homes across Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark. We are here to remind policy and decisions makers that the affordable housing sector is an important ally for the Nordic governments in building resilient and sustainable societies that can continue to deliver the high level of welfare we are used to in the Nordic countries. Our message in short is: Now is the time to invest in renovation of the affordable housing stock that we already have as well as in construction of new affordable homes.
A decent home, where you can afford to live, is an important part of any person’s life – and it can even determine the path that life takes. Housing, planning, and construction policies are integral parts of welfare and wellbeing – for the individuals living inside of the homes as well as for society.
Looking forward, one of the main challenges for the Nordic countries will be to balance and prioritize investment in welfare and investment in other important areas like green transition. Investing in decent and affordable housing is a clever investment for the future Nordic societies. Renovation of existing housing stock decreases CO2-emmissions, creates jobs and healthier homes as well as a push for industries to innovate and deliver new solutions. New affordable homes decrease the increasing housing gap.
In its Action Plan for 2021-2024 the Nordic Council of ministers’ states that it will implement an increased commitment to a sustainable and competitive construction and housing sector, which contributes to a lower impact on health, the environment, and the climate.
NBO-Housing Nordic could not agree more and we are happy for the dialogue we have already had with the Nordic housing and construction ministers on this issue, and that the recommendations we have delivered to them have been well-accepted.
One of the main tasks is to lower the construction costs in the Nordic countries, which are some of the highest in Europe to ensure the affordability of the homes and create more social inclusion across the Nordic region. Therefore, the shared goals of Nordic affordable housing providers are:
- A more harmonized, digitalized, and sustainable Nordic housing and construction sector, especially concerning the harmonization of LCA-calculations (Life Cycle Analysis) and harmonization of rules for wood construction,
- A Nordic housing sector that promotes social inclusion especially for young and marginalized people across the Nordic region,
- A common approach among Nordic policy makers towards European energy policy and regulation.
We are diligent to focus on these goals as we continue our work and dialogue with policymakers and other allies across in the Nordic region – as well as continuously push ourselves to deliver everyday solutions for the millions of people across the Nordic countries calling our 2,5 million affordable housing units a home.
Head of Politics, Strategy and International Relations
BL - Danmarks Almene Boliger
Deputy to the board in NBO
Photo: Holger Svend Anderson